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Complete translation of the Swedish article
Posted By: DJ Lars <>Date: 1/25/10 2:48 p.m.

Hey guys,

I just finished translating all the parts of the article at that is concerning gameplay.
It starts with the description of the first mission where Noble is assigned to investigate what is belived to be separatist activities...

"… Everyone is gone. Dead. No life signs what so ever. Noble team slowly begins to realize that something horrible has happened. More than just a few angry separatists. This is where hell breaks lose, admits the buildings. You can’t really tell who is attacking, but they are jumping from wall to wall, across rooftops, running along the walls.

Anyone familiar to Halo quickly identifies Jackals and their shields, the grunting of grunts. They might find it harder to place the jumping enemies though. This is all new to Noble team, seeing how this takes place before HALO CE, and covenants is something you hear stories about far away from home. It is therefore with disgust and fear that Noble leader Carter kneels next to one of the fallen enemies, concluding that those aren’t human but covenant.

I can’t help but ask about weather the story of reach will fail to excite those fans who have read the book Fall of Reach? Letho promises however that no players will be disappointed by the story that will contain a lot of surprises. Also pointing out that this is not the playable version of the book but a whole new experience.

Back to the first mission. As Carters investigates the body of his fallen enemy I can’t help to think that Bungie has succeeded in presenting the Covenant anew, making them scary and unexpected, even though I know who they are. Joining familiar foes are the new Skirmishers, a previously unseen relative to the Jackals. Being faster and more agile, these they offer a welcome addition to the cannon fodder that is the grunt. The absence of these creatures in later games is according to Bungie do to them being annihilated on Reach.

The same goes for a wide range of weapons and other new additions that are flashing by. The explanation for this is similar to the one used by George Lucas for the cool stuff in the SW prequels – further in the war the military didn’t have the same resources, also different planets have different tech.

Reach looks great and is a fair step up from Halo 3 on a graphical level. Everything moves, is animated better, the level of detail is higher and the lighting is top notch. This goes for all effects and I get to se a lot of spectacular stuff. Including the amount of debris that is thrown about by the frags. Gone are those puny firecrackers, these feel like über-bombs that are ripping the ground apart underneath them. The warthog also got an overhaul, now sporting independent suspension that rocks about as you drive along. The grooved tires ripping into the ground with such ferocity that you feel like you are riding an oversized cultivator with a mounted LAAG.

Still I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the games visuals. I scribble down “Graphics?” in my notepad to remember to ask Bungie about this during lunch. The mission continues and Noble team fights on, even if a lot of what we se is placeholders I do get to se a lot of other new stuff.

Amongst these are non military vehicles like tractors, assassination moves, the raining of sparks from firing a heavy machinegun at a concrete wall, how the covenants plasma weapons feel as powerful as the feel mean and facing elites. The favorite enemy of Combat Evolved that later left the covenant, leaving us fighting the less interesting brutes.

This is an especially nice reunion. Even Bungie feels this way and goes on about how much they wanted to do with the elites in CE but never got around to. Now they are back with a vengeance though and Bungie describes them as the samurais of the HALO universe. Nobler, smarter, more calculating and even vicious. There will be several different variants in the full game but I only got to see two.

Finally I got to see a night mission. Apparently this was the third mission. The demonstration started with the first mission but since something drastic happens in the second it was kept a secret. In the third mission I got to see another new addition to the game, the ability to pimp your armor.

Spartan III are considered something of a cheap, disposable versions of the Spartan II (Master chief for example). This means that they don't have the same uniform gear since there gear is less high tech and cheaper. This means Carter, Catherine, Jorge, Jun and Emile pick up parts from the battlefield to add to their armor. This way a player can create the look and abilities they want to customize their experience. This also carries over to multiplayer. Bungie didn’t go into details but a concrete example is that the equipment from HALO 3 is now gone.

Instead of the Active Camo pickup from previous games you can now add this function to your armor and use it as soon as your meter fills up. The effect looks slightly different and it also disables the radar of other players nearby. Another function that was shown was the sprint, which gives the player the ability to sprint at an insane pace.

As good as Reach looks at first glance it doesn’t compare to games like Gears 2, Killzone 2 or Uncharted 2 in that it doesn't woe you. Letho understood what I meant but felt that the comparison was unfair. True, those are all action titles but they are much more limited in there design. In Reach you can at any time jump into a Banshee, fly over the entire map and see every little detail. The levels in Reach are also much more massive and allow coop for 4 people. Add to this the ability to save film and screenshots of your playthrough. Bungie states that the graphical leap from Halo 3 will be similar to the one between CE and Halo 2, which feels about right, and it looks really nice after all.

The new facial animations also make the story easier to connect to since you don't have the ghostlike and ill synced animations from cutscenes in previous games. Bungie also uses mocap this time around and even use different people for different characters to increase the believability of their movements.

The final part of the demonstration was with Sage Merill, Sandbox Design Lead. He tells us that up to 40 ai and 20 vehicles can be on screen simultaneously this time around. This might not sound like a huge number, but in reality it means that the screen is totally covered in action. We got to watch an unfinished, yet totally insane sequence where a whole horde of warthogs accompanied by Hornets faced of with an equally massive covenant force. The result was an insane battle where crashing banshees collided with charging Warthogs with a screeching metal massacre as a result. This is far from the leisurely pace we have come to expect from the Halo games.

The Warthog has regardless of game, been my favorite vehicle to control for a long time. According to Bungie they have tried for a long time, unsuccessfully, to create an equivalent in the air. Simply put, an air vehicle that is so much fun to control that you’d want to ride around in just for the heck of it. The solution to this is hopefully the Falcon. This is a new air vehicle in Reach that looks much like a small Helicopter that you can pilot while your buddies man the mounted machineguns. Even if I doubt it will become such a success as the Warthog it does look like it will be a lot more fun than the Hornet or the Banshee.

The weapons have gotten an overhaul as well, in part to resemble the one from CE but also adding a few new additions. Changes include a more powerful needler explosion that is capable of killing nearby enemies without even hitting them. Also the EMP-blast from the plasma pistol is a lot bigger. There was also a new needler rifle that looked really mean.

The big debate amongst the fans is sure to focus on the DMR that is replacing the Battle Rifle. This weapon is frankly more balanced than the BR, a weapon that most players consider as top gun. The goal here is to make every gun function more as it was intended. Players have become so skilled at sniping in Halo 3 that they use the sniper rifle regardless of distance. This means that though it was initially designed as a long range weapon, it is in fact superior to many of the short distance weapons that as a result become pointless.

Exactly how Bungie is going to achieve this with the sniper rifle was undecided at the time but they mentioned that they where experimenting with smaller magazines, slower fire rate and longer reload time. Personally I applaud the change but I suspect it will stir a lot of bad blood amongst elite players and lead to even more custom playlists for those players. Other changes in the armory is cutting the number of different types of grenades that in ODST where up to 4 without a real motivation from a gameplay perspective."

I skipped a few parts that where merely descriptions of Bungies offices etc.


Message Index


Complete translation of the Swedish articleDJ Lars 1/25/10 2:48 p.m.
     thanks! *NM*Schedonnardus 1/25/10 2:58 p.m.
     Cool! *NM*RC Master 1/25/10 4:37 p.m.
     Re: Thanking you *NM*Hedgemony 1/25/10 4:47 p.m.

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