The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

“Halo:Reach” Part II: A Whole New Multiplayer Experience

By Jimmy Piriano

“Halo: Reach,” the latest iteration of the video game franchise “Halo,” has finally made its debut on the Xbox 360. Developed by Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios, Halo: Reach brings the player more of the now-classic sci-fi shooter action, but with plenty of upgrades and tweaks to the game play to keep the action fresh and exciting.

The last issue of The Pride featured a review of the single player campaign of “Halo: Reach.” This article’s focus is solely on the multiplayer experience. While the single-player campaign made great strides in terms of story and graphics for the franchise, its effects on the video gaming community pale in comparison to the newly upgraded multiplayer experience Bungie developed.

In previous versions of “Halo,” the multiplayer was always broken up into two game playlists: Ranked and Social. While both sections allowed players to rise in level, i.e., “Captain” or “General,” only the ranked players would be able to reach the highest levels available in game. This created a divide between many gamers, as the atmosphere and difficulty of the Ranked and Social playlists differed greatly.

Bungie, in one of many recent great decisions, combined the two sections to help quell the dissent. The ranking system remains and has been given new rewards at set points to help encourage players to keep pushing to that higher level.

In each game, players earn credits for completing certain tasks. The tasks range from getting a certain amount of kills in a match, to surviving for a certain amount of time in a level without dying. Bungie also introduces daily and weekly challenges that, if completed, give the player a large amount of credits.

Once players earn enough credits, they can purchase upgrades to their Spartan avatar, which is visible to the other players in online matchmaking. The upgrades are merely cosmetic and do not give the player any advantage over another, but as in previous “Halo” games, the customization of the player’s armor is a time honored tradition, with many armor upgrades unlocked only after completing certain challenges and achievements, which are worn like a badge of honor among the players.

Along with the added customization to the player avatars, Bungie also adds several new game modes, bringing some much-needed diversity to the online game play. The cooperative Firefight mode, which involves four players fighting against wave after wave of enemies, allows for a completely new type of online play. Instead of competing against other humans, players can team up to fight the computer while still utilizing the online features.

My favorite online feature is one of the smaller tweaks to the online matchmaking system. In previous “Halo” games, there has been a rather primitive system that players used to vote for or against the current online level. If the consensus was negative, the players would then be thrown into another completely random level whether without the option to vote.

Bungie heard the complaints loud and clear. Before each game, the players can now vote for one of three presented levels and game types, with a fourth option to see new levels. And if the voting players pick to see new levels, they are presented with three new choices instead of one permanent alternative level.

“Halo: Reach” has delivered on all levels and provides the player with a large variety of game play and features to bring a whole new generation of gamers back into the “Halo” universe.

“Halo: Reach” is available now for the Xbox 360 for $59.99.

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