Halo Reach Multiplayer Thoughts

I have been playing a pretty good amount of Halo Reach lately. I have been doing pretty well, keeping well over  a 1.5 KDR for the most part. However even though I am doing well, I am not enjoying this anywhere near as much as Halo 3. Some quick reasons:

Armor abilities:

They ruin the flow of the game and are unbalanced in many situations. For example. I recently played a game of covy slayer against an entire team with armor lock. They just camped together in one room and would armor lock before one of them would die. It was nearly impossible to kill anyone and it was one of the most aggravating things I have ever experienced in a Halo game. You used to be able to clear people out of rooms they are camping with grenades and such, but not anymore.

Many armor abilities when combined with the right weapons are extremely overpowered. Sprint + Sword for instance. In Halo 3, if you were good, you could back away from the sword, unloading on them and taking them out before they reached you. This made the sword more of a defensive and ambush weapon.  In Halo Reach, the game seems to reward players who simply charge at their opponents with the sword. Since the default walking speed is slower than in Halo 3 and since you get an accuracy penalty for firing quickly, this tactic seems to be encouraged.

In general, battles often come down to whoever happened to pick the right armor ability that gives the advantage in some particular situation over their opponent. In these cases, it’s simply luck that they picked that ability, not skill.

Reticule Bloom:

Slows down combat to a crawl and adds a random element to the game that is unwelcome. This alone isn’t all that bad. If only this was the single change they made.


All lifted from campaign. Screams laziness. They don’t have the flow that Halo 3 or Halo 2 maps did and weapon placement is questionable for team slayer games with many maps having a side that gives a clear starting advantage to one team.

Many are too open without any choke points, and play like ass when everyone has DMRs. You basically are constantly being pinged from across the map in these modes because the sight lines are mostly unobstructed.

The remakes of classic Halo 2 maps were half assed in forge and look like they were built out of Lego blocks. Sanctuary was a beautiful map, with waterfalls coming down the base and stuff. Now it looks terrible. Not to mention that jetpacks pretty much invalidate most of what made that map work well in Halo 2.

Movement Speed:

You move way too slow. This combined with open maps and DMR starts make it way too hard to get to cover once you start getting shot. Even more so if it’s more than one person shooting you, as it usually is.

I could go on and on, and perhaps I will in a future blog.

I like to play competitive games where skill reigns supreme and randomness/luck is kept to a minimum. To me, this means extremely balanced and refined gameplay – often to the point of symmetry and simplicity. I loved Halo 2 to death, playing thousands of games. I loved Halo 3 slightly less, but I still found it an extremely satisfying competitive game. Halo Reach seems like a game geared towards the casual audience where they are more into “hey I can fly around this is cool” then “hey this is balanced for competitive play”. I will be interested to see what MLG does with the game. If armor abilities and the rest of it stay in or not.

Reach isn’t a terrible game, and I am sure there are lots of people out there that like it more than Halo 3. Personally, I think it’s a massive step in the wrong direction. Looking forward to see what someone else besides Bungie does with the franchise. Hopefully they will reverse course a bit.