Friday, August 6, 2010

Halo Reach Gametypes

Invasion Mode

If you asked me what I was most excited for before the beta dropped, it was Invasion. Spartans defending changing objectives against Elites, similar to Gold Rush in BFBC, except Halo style – what could go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot of things. I haven’t really read other reviews so I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I really, really, REALLY dislike the way Bungie did Invasion mode. Let me count the ways.

1 – It is an objective based game where you don’t switch sides. So if you spawn as Spartans, you play through the game as Spartans, once, and when the game is over it’s over. After that you’re spit back into the lobby, but unless all 12 players decide to stick around, you can’t run it back on opposite sides. I cannot for the life of me think of the rationale behind this.

2 – Your team of six is split up into three squads of 2, which makes teamwork pretty difficult. I guess ideally everyone works together in pairs, but since everyone is partied up there isn’t much cross communication going on, and teamwork is pretty important. What’s worse is I joined a game with a party of 4 and they put us on separate teams. Seriously?

3 – The game is more chaotic than fun. In my 6 or 7 games, I mainly found myself running long, long distances to get to the objective, only to get killed in a spray of gun or plasma fire. The map Invasion is being played on is so expansive that you spend a lot of time running, and that’s no fun. Oh, and by the way, the objectives are pretty unclear too. The first couple games you really have no idea what’s going on.

4 – Tons of frustration, very little fun. Maybe I’m stupid.

Anyway, there are a couple of cool things, like evolving armor ability choices as the game goes on, and Invasion Slayer is actually pretty fun (although the scoring system makes no sense to me), but overall, Invasion is a major disappointment. Man, I’m still upset at how badly it failed to meet my expectations. It’s like sports teams I root for, expectations always = disappointment.

Generator Defense Mode:

Well, if you can’t tell, I hate Invasion mode. But if you take all the hatred I feel for Invasion mode, flip it on its head, and call it love – that’s how I feel about Generator Defense mode! If that’s too unclear, know this: Generator Defense is awesoooomeeee. It’s another objective game, 3 Spartans vs. 3 Elites, except it makes sense. The 3 Spartans are tasked with guarding three generators, which the Elites need to destroy by shooting them, punching them, grenading them, whatever. The strategy comes into play when Spartans “lock down” the generators, making them invincible for a short amount of time. You can do this an unlimited number of times in the game after a brief cooldown. To win a round the Elites need to destroy all three generators. Generator Defense, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Generator Defense is awesome!

1 – It is an objective based game with tons of strategy involved. Three players defend three generators. Three attackers are trying to take out those generators. Which generator do you rush first? Do you split up or stick together? Do you send a two person diversionary team while a third player sneaks in and destroys a generator? Do you station one Spartan at each generator or just let them take two and hold out for the final one? These are the questions that you need to answer in the span of seconds, and it’s tons of fun trying to figure out the strategy that works best for your team.

2 – In Invasion you get to choose where you respawn, but it isn’t very useful. Plus the map is so big it barely matters. In Generator Defense, choosing your respawn point is very strategic. Generator Charlie is under attack? Spawn by the yard. You want to rush Alpha? Spawn by the waterfall. It is a subtle layer of strategy added on top of the game that rewards players who want to take the time to figure out the nuances.

3 – Generator Defense features random weapon drops which are completely random. In one game I found a sniper rifle, in another a rocket launcher. These random drops ensure that you can’t get totally locked in to one strategy. For example, let’s say the Elites love going stealth, and sneakily are trying to creep up on a generator in stealth mode. Well, if there is a random rocket launcher on the playing field, that is a triple kill waiting to be had. The random weapon drops keep things fresh.

4 – Tons of fun, little frustration! This game mode is like the exact opposite of Invasion for me. I dropped into the game, knew exactly what was going on (because it’s designed so well), and knew exactly how I wanted to play things. Objectives are clear, spawn points are clear, and strategy is fun to figure out. This is everything that a multiplayer mode should be, and Bungie absolutely knocked this one out of the park. For me, Generator Defense and Stockpile totally make the beta worthwhile.

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