Friday, August 6, 2010

Five Things Bungie Should Fix In Halo Reach Beta

5 Things Bungie Should Fix in Halo: Reach

Bungie says that the Halo: Reach multiplayer work-in-progress released Monday is a real beta — that is, the game makers are looking for feedback from the millions of potential testers. Here’s mine.
As of Tuesday, the series’ most rabid fans have already racked up two million games and counting in the Xbox 360 beta, which is available this month to anyone who owns Halo 3: ODST. Bungie is using this massive test to make sure that the multiplayer for its upcoming Halo prequel has all the kinks ironed out. Every time players boot the game, a screen pops up asking them to share their thoughts with Bungie.
While I’ve found the beta to be a lot of fun, it’s still rough around the edges. Here are five things that I’d fix in time for Reach’s fall release.

1) Health bar too high on the screen
In Halo 3, it was very easy to keep track of your health bar even in the thick of battle because it was never outside your peripheral vision. In the Halo: Reach beta, the health and shields indicator is now placed at the very top of the screen.
I found that the bar was now impossible to see out of the corner of my eye, making it harder to keep track of while I was busy gunning down opponents. In a fast-paced game like Halo, being able to easily keep track of
 everything is absolutely vital, especially in high-tension situations.

2) Hard to see targeting reticule
While some fans deride the fact that the targeting reticule now enlarges while you shoot (just like almost every other first-person shooter), I had more trouble with the fact that I often couldn’t see it because the lines were drawn too thin.
If the lines drawing the reticule were sharper and more defined, it wouldn’t blend in so much with the environment.

3) Grenades are too powerful
I’ve heard many other players report this as a problem. Grenades in the Halo: Reach beta are miniature weapons of mass destruction. Compared to the grenades in Halo 3, they do a lot of damage. That’s not a big problem on its own, but the blast radius also seems to have been increased.
This creates a weapon that you can easily spam for quick, sloppy kills. This rewards opportunism rather than skill: Just let a grenade fly into a group shoot-out and enjoy the carnage.

4) Weird ghosting artifacts
For the most part, Reach’s graphics are perfectly fine. But one thing that continuously bugs me is the fact that when objects in the game are moving quickly, there will be some ghosting blur.
According to Digital Foundry, the problem stems from the games unique style of ant aliasing Unfortunately, due to the nature of this issue, it might be difficult for Bungie to fix.

5) “Sword Base” map is ugly
The Reach beta has two maps. “Powerhouse,” a wide outdoor arena that is both visually pleasing and easy to navigate, is excellent. The indoor “Sword Base” is not. Its big problem isn’t that it’s hard to get around — that goes away as you get more familiar with the layout.
The real problem is that the visual design is just plain boring. There are few distinguishing features between the different rooms, and the dominant color scheme is a flat gray. There’s nothing wrong with it from a game play perspective; it’s just dull.

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