Halo: Reach Launch Center SuperCheats Launch Center
Written by Chris Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
Introduction and Synopsis
Halo: Reach is the much anticipated prequel to the Halo Series, and represents a unique departure from the usual process of series game development, having been developed in parallel to Halo 3's sequel, Halo 3: ODST. At the conclusion of development for Halo 3, the teams that worked on the game were broken up to form two independent development groups: one that worked on ODST, and the second, which was charged with development of a Halo Universe game that was completely separate from the established series line. That game became Halo: Reach.
During the initial planning stages, the Reach Team, headed by creative director Marcus Lehto, began to plot out what was intended all along to be a prequel to the first Halo game. Already committed to building a game that best utilized the hardware available in the Xbox 360, initially the Reach Team reviewed the idea of building off of the Halo 3 engine, but quickly abandoned that path once they determined that they had the capability to create a modified engine that could exceed the limits of the Halo 3 production while including expanded graphics depth with a higher polygon count, in order to create a Halo product that was better and that stands out more than its predecessor.
From the beginning Reach was designed as an open-word sandbox-style game, with a heavy emphasis on AI rather than scripted interactions, and to that end a significant amount of manhours and effort went into the early development and tweaking of the AI engine, while working to retain the familiar enemy personalities from the previous games to reinforce its lineage in the series.
Reach enjoys a somewhat non-typical development process, in that it was originally announced at E3 2009, and then thrust quickly into development so that a Beta featuring much of the key mechanics could be made widely available via the Xbox Live Service for large-number play what developers call crash-and-burn sessions, in order to suss-out weaknesses early in the development process. Access to the Beta was linked to sales of the sister game, Halo 3: ODST, which contained access codes that were required to register for the limited period test.
Between May 3 and May 20, 2010, an estimated 2.7 million players participated in the Beta Test, with over a million players participating in the first 24-hours. Initial results of the Beta clearly demonstrated weaknesses in the server system and revealed a large number of bugs that needed to be fixed, but the overall reaction by players was positive, and is credited by developers as a key factor in allowing the game to make its release date.
Halo: Reach is scheduled for release on 14 September, 2010, and will include three unique offerings: a Standard Retail Edition featuring the game disc and manual; a specially-packaged Limited Retail Edition that will include the game disc, manual, extra story background, an artifact bag, and a set of unique in-game armor; and a Legendary Retail Edition that will include the contents of the Limited Edition, a limited edition statue, and an on-game special armor effect, in a unique package. Players who pre-order the game will receive a special in-game customized Recon Helmet in addition to the special items in the version that they purchase.
- Synopsis -
The game takes place in the year 2552 (shortly before the events in Halo: Combat Evolved) on the planet Reach, an earth-class human-settled planet that serves as the Primary hub for the United Nations Space Command (UNSC). Humanity has been at war with the Covenant (a union of dispirit alien races) for some time, and most of the outlying human colonies have been overrun and have fallen, leaving Reach on the literal frontier of the alien incursion. Home to the bulk of the UN military forces in that part of the galaxy, Reach is also home to more than 700 million civilians, including a large number of refugees from systems that have already fallen.
The central focus of the game revolves around Noble Team a UNSC Special Ops Unit that consists largely of Spartans, a special brand of supersoldier that is trained and equipped to deal with the threat presented by the Covenant troops. The protagonist (player) in the game is a Spartan Soldier named Noble-6, a member of the team which is lead by Carter-A259, an officer and seasoned veteran.
Longtime fans of the series may recall the sci-fi book by Eric Nylund entitled Halo: The Fall of Reach that hit bookstore shelves in October of 2001 those of you who have read it get an extra gold star. Yes, there is indeed a connection to the book here, but not to the plot of the book, which centers around a completely different story line taking place much earlier. We come into the world of Reach at the tail end of the events that unfolded in the book, and my own experiences at E3 and during the Beta tend to suggest that the game has very little to do with either the rebellion or the deep story line that surrounds the founding of the Spartan Program. Still, if you happen to have the book or your local library does there are worse ways to spend the weeks left until the game's release, right?
As the game opens you learn that the Covenant have been advancing far faster through human space than anyone at the UN believed was possible, and the planet Reach is now Ground Zero in the fight to slow their progress! Your team Noble Team is the cork for that particular bottle, and as you make your heroic stand know this: Humanity Thanks You!
You are Noble-6, a member of Noble Team, a UNSC Spartan, and your mission is to kill aliens and hold off the Covenant any way that you can. To accomplish that aim, you are equipped with a wide variety of special weapons, and the innate abilities that are part of your development as a Spartan a Supersoldier!
If you have played the previous games in the series you probably figure that you have a pretty good idea of how it all works; single-use special offensive and defensive weapons are old hat to you, right? Wrong! The special weapons and kit in Reach is radically different from all that comes after it: for one thing the items are no longer single-use short-time duration, but rather their effect remains active on you until you replace them with something else!
The ability to wield two hand-held weapons made ODST a joy to play, right? Well that is gone in Reach! While many of the weapons will be familiar to you, there are more than a few that will not, as Reach includes a selection of weapons that are tailored to task or combat style. It may seem like some of the best features of the earlier games have been sacrificed, and perhaps they have, but in their place are special abilities and kit of the sort you only wished you could have! Jetpack anyone?
Game play in Reach does not restrict the player to mode-based advancement either, as most unlocks, kit, and abilities are carried forward from mode to mode! After you work your way through the single-player campaign mode, you will find a very robust multi-player mode waiting for you that includes a beefed up level editor, some familiar modes and some new ones, and a return of Firefight!
Unlike in previous games that permitted players to jump right into the PvP and Multi-Player modes without penalty, players just might discover that running through the story mode in Reach prior to going head-to-head from the Lobbies is more than just a good idea!
Posted: 12th Sep 2010
Tags: Halo: Reach,
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