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Checkpoint: Halo: Reach MP Edition

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Free online multiplayer on  Xbox Live! this weekend allowed me to invest some serious time with Halo: Reach’s multiplayer. It’s the first time I’ve ever played a Halo game online, so there was a bit of a learning curve.

I spent approximately 2 hours playing competitive and a bit of Firefight. First things first: the interface. Halo: Reach’s multiplayer menu is the best in class. Easy to navigate and plenty of options to choose from. They even allow you to choose how matchmaking functions with speed vs accuracy options.

Once players were found, we were given gametype variants to vote on, but I spent most of my time the Armory pondering over which armor piece to deck my Spartan armor with. But, once things were sorted out, we’re on our way into a match.

It’s worth mentioning that load times are tremendous when compared to the likes of Modern Warfare 2 or even Bad Company 2. But that’s simply the way things are with Halo games. They’re a lot more involved and it takes a bit more time/effort to do things.

I think the matchmaking was doing its job for the most part, most of my matches were relatively close ones. I believe my team lost each and every one of them, but I blame those losses to the fact that people weren’t so forgiving of team kills. People often chose to boot people for team killing and not press that B button to forgive. And since this is Halo and not Modern Warfare 2, slots weren’t being filled up.

Philosophically, Halo games are about commitment. If you’re going to engage an enemy, I better be sure that I can track him/her down and finish the job. And I appreciate the skill and knowledge required for this type of game. It’s not just about quick reflexes, there’s planning and patience involved. This is why I feel every kill I earned was a bit more satisfying than most shooters out there.

As for the trash talking? I didn’t hear any. Either those “Psyche profiles’ I adjusted for “Quiet” players is working or I turned off voice chat some time ago and don’t remember. Frankly, I didn’t miss the lack of voice chat. Even the more teamwork oriented gametypes like Capture the Flag seemed to be organized chaos.

So far, I’m enjoying my time with Halo: Reach’s multiplayer and I commend Bungie for sticking by what makes their shooter unique and, quite honestly, ahead of the curve with regards to multiplayer features. I’m going to spend more time with it today and maybe activate a few free multiplayer codes to extend playtime. But even if I don’t, I see why so many people enjoy it.

I guess that $200 million opening day was no fluke.

P.S – Campaign review coming

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