It would be an understatement to say that Halo 3
is the game that most Xbox 360 owners are looking forward to. The conclusion of Master Chief?s journey is a big deal, and developer Bungie is making sure that each and every facet of this game is as close to perfect as possible. Which explains several things. Like the game delays, the huge amount of feedback that Bungie has taken on board, the many new features to make the death-match game more enjoyable, and in this instance the Halo 3
Multiplayer Beta to trial these new features.
The Halo 3
Multiplayer Beta goes public this coming Wednesday and has been a holy grail for many 360 owners. For those with a copy of Crackdown you?re guaranteed a blast. We can say so ourselves. Why? Because last night SPOnG was given the chance to play test the Beta at a world exclusive event in London. We spent the entire evening playing the delights of the Multiplayer Beta while mingling with Microsoft reps and encountering the strangest hors d??uvre this side of posh, innit.
The event itself was held at the snazzy Great Eastern Hotel, set in a small sized room with Halo 3
set pieces on display and six Xbox 360 consoles hooked up for fun times. The number of both specialist and lifestyle media attendees was impressive, with even a bunch of Barleys from Radio 1 turning up for the event. It made for a packed room, but an intimate atmosphere; dim red and blue lights set the tone and music from the Halo
series played as guests happily blasted their way through randomised matches, and then politely passed their controllers to whoever was eager to play next.
The evening was rounded up a special video Q&A with Bungie?s Frankie O?Connor which ended rather abruptly when the linked 360 Vision Camera and Microphone began echoing the sound to an almost comedic level. Whoops. Everyone was happy that the effort was made though, and we all came away with codes to access the Beta early, making us pleased as punch.
So, what?s changed? Well, for starters, the classic Assault Rifle from the original Halo
is in, and the Sword (from what we can tell) is out. All in all, weapons have been tweaked to make things a little fairer. As well as returning favourites like the Needler, Brute Shot and a weaker version of the Pistol, there are a smattering of new weapons in the Beta, including the Spartan Laser, which shoots a massive energy blast after a charge lag; spiked grenades that not only stick but shoot spikes in all sorts of directions after detonation; and even tank turrets that you can easily pick up ? apparently Spartans eat their beef.
Alongside weapons and vehicles (the only new vehicle in the Beta being a nippy off-road buggy called the ?Mongoose?), a new feature of ?equipment? is introduced in Halo 3
. Very rare special items are placed in specific locations that can be used with the X Button to turn the tide of battle. Trip Mines set a proximity explosive, Energy Drains deplete everyone?s health and Grav Lifts allow players to set a tactical launch pad wherever they like.
What we like best though is the Bubble Shield. When laid down, a force field surrounds you, deflecting outside bullets and other attacks. However, what can?t come in also can't get out, and physical bodies and grenades aren?t deflected ? mavericks charging in may still get their kill if they don?t get distracted. You have to use perfect timing with the shield which adds strategy and fair play into the mix.