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X10 Spotlight: Halo: Reach

Yesterday marked the return of Microsoft’s Xbox Press Event “X” with this year’s “X10.” The show has been on hiatus since 2006, so with this being their first year back, a flood of information pertaining to the Xbox 360 was expected, and provided. New information, screenshots, box art, and videos were provided on a bunch of the star series for Xbox in the upcoming year. It seems like a great opportunity for us to sift through the piles, and piles of information to find the best of the new news and provide that to you in a series of spotlights on each of the featured games.

Up first is the biggest jewel in Microsoft’s history: “Halo: Reach.”

So where to begin? There was so much information thrown at us yesterday that it’s hard to make sense of it all, and get all the information out there in an accurate and highlighted view. What I’ve elected to do is gather everything all at once and provide it in one larger story so you can gather all the information you need in one place.

If you haven’t heard it all before Halo: Reach is the story of the fall of Reach. A human colonized planet that is destroyed during an epic battle with the covenant that wipes out almost all of the Spartans. What does that mean for gamers? It means one of the biggest changes to the franchise to-date. There will be multiple Spartans for you to play within the game, and the story revolves around a squad comprised solely of Spartans designated “Noble Team.”

But the story isn’t the only overhaul being made to the game; to the contrary it seems as Bungie’s intent is to overhaul almost everything. The covenant are getting a redesign, both on the aesthetic and mechanical levels. Some of the most interesting changes are the graphical and AI tweaks that are being made to the rival faction for the upcoming Halo prequel.

During the show it was confirmed that there will be a redesign of the models for the covenant, making them more “more alien and savage.” Which in turn will affect the AI that is being built from the ground up for the new game, all part of a strategy to make Reach the “definitive Halo game.” Other major changes affect the core of the gameplay.

Covenant

While we won’t be suddenly switching to a strategy game, the game does focus on group combat. Instead of being a one-man army taking out waves of the covenant as they appear from nowhere expect more massive-battle situations. One of the scenes that was set during X10 was a situation where “Noble Squad” encounters a firefight with a large squadron of the covenant which quickly becomes an 8-on-30 match during the story mode.  The desired effect is a “sandbox” feel to the game. Reach will feature larger more open areas for you to explore, and in greater detail. It seems as though Reach might be the large-scale warfare feel that FPS gamers have been looking for, and with the talk of the graphical changes being made it could be the best looking as well.

Numerous sites noted impressive detail with the demos that were run at the show, detail like being able to zoom with a sniper rifle to see minuet aesthetic items like the screws in the armor, or the tiny (yet still readable) text on weapons and armor parts.

With any Halo game though, the heart is always at the multiplayer. So what did Microsoft/Bungie have to say about it? Well firstly that anyone that got their hands on ODST will be able to jump into the multiplayer beta starting on May 3rd and secondly that they are taking “big risks.” What that means is new game modes, new play styles and of course new weaponry and tools.

One of the biggest changes is a type of “perks” system. You’ll be able to collect upgrades for your Spartan through the single-player and multiplayer game that will help you with things like, defence, offence, and mobility. One example that continues to be cited across the board is the “sprint” ability. Once you pick this one up you’ll be able to run at full tilt for a short period of time, as a sprint meter displays itself on the side of the screen.

Keep in mind that all of this, everything that was shown at X10, was Halo: Reach in the Alpha stage of development. Bungie is looking forward to making everything even bigger and better by the time of the Beta, which means we can look forward to even more expanses before the release of the title later on this year. For now though, there were plenty of new images supplied which include: artwork, screenshots, and box-art.

Thumb through the gallery below to get a hint at what will be coming down the pipe-line from Bungie for the next instalment in the Halo franchise, and get hyped!

[Update] As promised here's the Halo: Reach vid-doc that's been uploading itself for the last 9 or more hours. Sorry about the delay, but here's the video from X10 regarding Halo: Reach. Definitely worth a look-see!