Halo: Reach multiplayer breakdown

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Bungie has dropped the promised Halo: Reach multiplayer bomb in the form of a trailer, and we’ve broken it down to explain what new and returning features to expect from this 360 exclusive later this year.  Some of the biggest new features? The jetpack, Invasion mode, and a whole mess of explosions.

New Multiplayer Modes

Invasion: Appears to be one of the more promising game types, causing players to either defend the level as a Spartan or invade and destroy as an Elite.  It looks like the Elite may get some help from Phantoms and be able to man the standard Banshees, Ghosts, and Wraiths, while the Spartans may be forced to use only landlocked vehicles, like the Warthogor Scorpion.

Headhunter: Has some strange Sonic the Hedgehog ring-collecting reminiscence, pitting players against each other in a deathmatch battle where the objective is not only to kill the other players, but to collect heads from their deaths. It looks like more heads will be awarded for headshots (makes sense), and perhaps even more heads are awarded for Killjoys.

Active Roster: Only shown breifly, but looks to be a Spartan vs. Spartan battle, possibly allowing deathmatch and king of the hill game types.

Spartans vs. Elites: Looks to be the standard "Civil War" (as Bioshock 2 calls it) game type, launching players into an epic struggle of the species.  Tanks will certainly be involved.

The Arena: Not sure if this is just a reference to the multiplayer maps or another game type.  If it is another game type, expect more of the same.  Killing, vehicles, Spartans, Elites, etc.

New Weapons

While it seems that a lot of weapons are making some sort of modified return (the powerful pistol, the various types of rifles, shotgun, rocket launcher, energy hammer, sniper, etc.), the trailer also shows some breif footage of what may be a few entirely new weapons.  However, seeing as they are still part of the Halo universe, they will undoubtedly be indicative of what players have already seen in the series.

halo reach needler rifle

Needler Rifle:  It may just be that this is a variation on the needler, but with the extended stock and strange-looking addition to the top of the gun, it’s entirely possible that the Elite are bringing a whole new weapon with them to Reach.

Halo Reach homing rocket

Elite Homing Rocket: This weapon is definitely still a mystery, but appears to be some version of the Fuel Rod Gun that can lock onto targets, and once the projectile is fired, home in on that target as well.  It has the potential to be a real game-changing weapon.

Halo Reach grenade launcher

Short-Range Grenade Launcher: This looks like an explosive version of the shotgun, firing out a small explosive for quick and devastating close-up kills.  However, other footage does show it taking down a Banshee, so maybe it has the potential for distance kills as well.

Halo Reach single shot rifle

Single-Shot Rifle:  This one looks to be a mix between the Battle Rifle and the Sniper Rifle.  It has the single-shot and scope of the sniper, but the size, stock, and barrel of the Battle.  It will almost certainly be the favorite of mid-range sharpshooters.

New Gameplay Elements

Jetpacks: Definitely the biggest change delivered in this trailer.  Traditionally, jetpack gameplay has only complicated multiplayer modes to the point of confusion and eventually boredom.  Just look at games like Section 8 or Dark Void.  However, that’s not to say that jetpacks can’t be awesome.  Let’s just hope Bungie knows what they’re getting into with this one.

Assassinations:  Another big introduction to the Halo series, although this mechanic has certainly been around and used effectively in other titles. The assassinations here mostly add a visceral quality to the kills. Whereas before players couldn’t really get too up close and personal with their enemies, now they are climbing on top of them and viciously stabbing them.  This, however, begs the question: Are knives going to be a big part of Halo: Reach?

Combat Roll: This is only breifly showcased a couple of times in the trailer but could have a really big impact on the way this game is played.  With current Halo titles, players are forced to fight it out whenever they engage with an enemy (for the most part).  But a rolling mechanism could allow players an easy escape, or even a quick assault towards their foes for some up-close shotgun action.

More Explosive Environments: Again, this is only seen for a second or two in the trailer, but the one scene does show what looks like a large fuel tank that, when shot with a rocket, billows into a massive explosion, sending a good 4-5 surrounding enemies hurtling through the air.  Maybe Bungie is hoping to add a more strategic element to how players can use the levels to their advantage.  Only time will tell.


Stay tuned for more updates on Halo: Reach. And remember, a copy of Halo 3: ODST will grant you access to the Reach Multiplayer Beta on May 3rd, 2010.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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