E3 2010: Halo: Reach Firefight Hands-On PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 16, 2010
What We Already Know: Halo: Reach is Bungie’s final current-gen chapter in their blockbuster shooter franchise. The game will let players experience the final dark days of the planet Reach as it falls to Covenant forces. With a decidedly darker tone than previous installments in the franchise, updated and improved gameplay and graphics, and a stunning amount of customization options, Reach promises to bring the series to an epic and unforgettable conclusion (for now).
What We’re Seeing Now:
Last night, Bungie unveiled that their wave-based Horde mode, Firefight, which debuted in Halo 3: ODST will be making its new and improved return in Halo: Reach. And boy is there a lot that’s new and improved.
For starters, every element of the Firefight match can be tweaked and toggled to your exact specification. Want to have a match where headshots are disabled, you only face grunts, enemies have a 250 percent damage multiplier and you can only jump half as high as normal? Toggle the right settings, and you’re done. The sheer number of options available to players is staggering, and because the options list is so robust, it basically gives the game infinite replayability. Best of all, you can then take those customized Firefights and share them with friends, which obviously has phenomenon written all over it.
Firefight includes a bunch of game types, but I only had a chance to check out three of them: the new default mode, which was just a typical match but with a time limit, Generator Defense, in which your team must defend a predetermined amount of generators against Covenant attack, and finally, Rocketfight, which is pure madness as everyone loads out with a rocket launcher, a pistol and infinite ammo.
The few rounds I was able to play were an absolute blast. Rocketfight is an explosive delight, and while it’s not an original variant for team play, it’s still one that never fails to bring giant grins to players’ faces (mine definitely included). Plus, because the Covenant troops, from grunts to brutes to elites, are furious and relentless, they look oh-so great spiraling through the air after a perfectly placed rocket shot. Generator defense is another classic game type, and it keeps your heart pounding for the duration of the match as you scramble to defend your generators, and eventually fall back to defend the lone surviving generator in an epic, final showdown.
Along with the new Firefight, Bungie also revealed a few new weapons and a new armor ability to get fans’ drool sensors churning away. The newly revealed weapons are the target locator, the concussion rifle and the fuel rod gun. The concussion rifle and fuel rod gun are quite simply devastating and deliver massive amounts of destruction and wipe out anyone and anything in their path. But the target locator tops them both as it lets you select a portion of the map or a target a specific Covenant soldier and then annihilate them with a barrage of aerial armaments. Targeted rocket strikes never fail to please or impress, and the target locator does both to the max.
The new armor ability is the drop shield. It’s basically a prototype bubble shield, except it heals whoever is inside of it, and can be destroyed if it takes too much damage. What’s great about the drop shield is that it lets players be mini mobile healthpack centers. If you see a bunch of your teammates under attack and on the verge of being wiped out, drop the shield around them, give them a few seconds to heal up, and let them jump back in the fight without having to track down a healthpack and disengage the battle. Medics are always a valued class, and the drop shield means that class will be alive and well in Reach.
The depth that Bungie has brought to Firefight is ridiculous, and having the ability to share your customized Firefights with friends means Halo: Reach will most likely still be in disc trays when the next, next Halo is released.