Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halo: Reach, Legendary Campaign Gameplay Remarks

Figure 1: Enemies that will bring gameplay to a grinding halt

Here I am again, talking about the actual gameplay. Halo: Reach on legendary is hard a hell. As a die hard campaign fan through out the series, one gets into the style of enemies. In particular, Halo's 1 & 2 with Elites as the main enemy, there is a trend that is quite common. Grunt squad, followed by jackals on the flanks, with a few elites, maybe minors or veterans (red or blue). Gold and silver elites are become rarities that the game definitely will prepare you for with a well hidden shotgun or sniper ammo.
Legendary Reach throws that concept out the window, and the results are both terrifying and liberating. 3 ultras (silver armored) elites become child's play in Reach. 6 get thrown at you at least once every other level. And the setting is unfair, often they are attacking you, especially in Long Night of Solace. There is a real sense of being attacked from every side, backed up against the wall.
The other enemies each have unique flavor. If it's drones: stay protected, brutes: fill'um full of lead, turret or fuel rod grunts: priority #1, skirmishers: lead them with your cross-hair. And its the combo of flavors added to a dry yet nutritional serving of tough-as-nails elites that brings challenge to each encounter.
And to match the demanding enemies, the weapons are sparse. The game gets divided into two sections, times with the DMR and times WITHOUT DMR. And the difference changes the game completely. I noticed how much a soldier needs a straight shooting rifle. Heck, I'm sure the Spartan III's are trained on Full Metal Jacket's mantra

"This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend.
It is my life. I must master it,
as I must master my life."

And master the DMR you will. Especially in combination with the plasma pistol for instant elite death and if your daring, one of the power weapons: sniper or rocket. I must sadly announce that the shotgun has been nerfed to uselessness. Gone are the days of Halo CE where the shotty could take out flood 75 feet away. I only used the shotgun on hunters, because that's the only enemy I could get close enough to.

Then there are times when you regret wasting DMR rounds on trying to headshot that grunt from the ghost.
"Without me my rifle is useless.
Without my rifle, I am useless."

With no DMR, legendary is brutal.
But Halo has a wonderful way of giving you hope with the pathetic weapons you muster from the enemy corpses. Three of the enemy's plasma arsenal are particularly useful (aside for the plasma pistol which is only valuable with a headshot weapon to complement). Needler, fuel rod, and needle rifle, While the concussion, beam and plasma rifle seem too underpowered. (Especially concussion, it just does'nt lower shields as efficiently as it kills you). I felt the plasma launcher became too difficult to aim with the dodging AI.

The land vehicle combat is actually the worst in all the Halo Games. I specify terrestrial because the falcon rocks! It's the closest thing to piloting a vietnam heli. Vehicles parts are just supposed to be ridiculous in halo games ie Tank Army in Halo 3's the ark or warthog shenanigans from Halo CE. There nothing fun about the vehicles. The only tank portion of the campaign was the easiest portion on legendary while the 'hog parts made you too weak. I spent so much time hiding behind rocks to recharge shields in the hog instead of weaving around covy infantry. And that's not fun.

My final post on Reach will include my highlight section and favorite encounters.

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