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Halo: Reach Firefight Mode Hands-On

We take on wave after wave of Covenant soldiers armed with nothing but an endless supply of heavy explosives in our first look at this upcoming multiplayer mode for Reach.

Halo 3: ODST was an extremely well-received jaunt into the Halo universe, and one of the best aspects of it was the highly enjoyable Firefight mode where groups of players took on increasingly difficult waves of Covenant enemies. Fans of the mode will naturally be pleased to know that Firefight is indeed making it into the next adventure in the series--Halo: Reach--complete with some significant changes that could potentially make it the multiplayer mode of choice for serious Halo fanatics.

At a Microsoft E3 2010 event tonight that unveiled Firefight, Bungie developers said that fan feedback on ODST played a crucial part in redesigning the mode and were happy to report that one of the major requests from players--full matchmaking support--would be available for Firefight in Reach. It will also make use of the new matchmaking features planned for the upcoming Halo prequel, including active rosters and queue joining, and would be available either as four players via Xbox Live or locally via two-player split-screen.

The other major change to the way Firefight works in Reach has to do with customization--namely, that Bungie has added a ton of options that players can tweak and change to their heart's content. The list of options that could be optimized is substantial and includes determining wave properties (what types of enemies attack, which skulls are active, and the tough foes they'll face in "boss" rounds), match duration (all the way up to infinite), weapon drops, core player stats (such as health, speed, jump, and so on), and even the ability to create custom skulls. Up to three skulls can be made for a match, with the skulls able to affect player or enemy traits.

The new Firefight will also feature some new game types--two that we played at the Microsoft event were generator defense and rocketfight. Generator defense may be familiar to those who took part in the recent Reach multiplayer beta (where it was revealed as Network Test1) and sees teams having to protect a series of generators from the Covenant. Rocketfight is exactly what it sounds--unlimited rockets against your enemies, and it was a great mode to play (if more than a little chaotic).

Finally, our gameplay session tonight revealed a few new weapons and one new armor ability. The target locator allows you to select an enemy or location to "paint," which then sends a barrage of fire down upon it from orbiting ships, while the concussion rifle is a Covenant weapon that fires explosive bursts of plasma (that can easily chew through shields). The fuel rod gun was also quite beefy, shooting out projectiles with explosive results. As for armor, we saw the new drop shield, a prototype bubble shield found in the medic loadout. Once deployed, the drop shield creates a barrier around the Spartan soldier that can take a limited amount of damage, as well as heal any fellow Spartans within its radius.

While the Bungie reps at tonight's event were happy to talk about Firefight, they were less forthcoming about other multiplayer modes expected for Halo: Reach. But with several months still to go before its release, you can expect more news on this front soon. Keep it locked to GameSpot for more news on Halo: Reach.

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    Posted Jun 18, 2010 10:10 am PT

    Best multiplayer experience yet, awesome campaign and improved firefight... this is the reason i bought my xbox

  • Malscyllis

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 2:44 pm PT

    Can't believe it's been almost 11 years since Halo 1 came out

  • hammer1313

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 12:29 pm PT

    played the beta... was awesome.. best halo yet...can't wait for it to come out so i can be constantly killed by the hardcore players, but love each and every moment of it lol.

  • hammer1313

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 12:27 pm PT


    who freakin cares... customization of fps is a dumb concept. you hardly ever get to see what you character looks like and if you are honestly taking the time to look at your enemy you are either dying a lot or really, i have no life, good. do i want to wear helmet 1 or helmet 2? what difference does it make. It is not like it makes your character stronger, faster or shoot better. I would much rather they spend the time and effort used to on character customization building an extra multi-player map, or new type of weapon.

  • ThAdEa82

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 10:15 am PT

    Halo 3 had almost no customization. What is he talking about? 7 things to choose from in each category and looking is that insane?

  • Tomemogus

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 9:38 am PT

    I haven't stuck a Halo game into my 360 for over a couple years... I think that might change in a few months.

  • IceJester45

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 8:19 am PT

    "Halo: Reach" is possibly the E3 game I am most excited about. The amount of content with which this game is shipping is ridiculous. Each mode is large enough to justify full-game retail price by itself. I can see spending months--if not years--mastering everything this game has to offer. Amazing.

    Can not wait.

  • slicedbread117

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 8:15 am PT

    how much awesomeness can u put in one game!!! this is a no doubt fot GOTY...ps3 fanboys can suk it!!!

  • slicedbread117

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 8:11 am PT


  • Soko77788

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 7:45 am PT

    This game is sick! How much more content is Bungie going to give us Glad to see some naysayers are finally coming around to getting this game. I mean insane multiplayer, campaign i've only seen for 2 minutes but looks epic, and now a super beefed up firefight mode. Best part is Bungie still has "Surprises" in store for us. Which i'm guessing is space combat multiplayer Starfox style. WOOT

  • GunGriffin

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 7:26 am PT

    Honestly i Love halo, and Gears of War, but I also love Twisted Metal, Uncharted 2, God of War 3, Yet I loved Mass Effect enough to buy the PC version of ME2 when it hit due to the fact I no longer have my Xbox360 "rest in peace my friend! it was my 4th and final one, died due to HDD, and Disc failing at the same time! So sad" I don't hate on Xbox360 I think it has great games and graphics, but I think some developers cut major corners on PS3 games instead of doing the work correctly to make them work on the platform. The PC sadly has the same problem, it's clear right now that most developers are not supporting multi GPU systems on PCs anymore. Instead they all fully support single GPUs. Thats OK with me my next Nvidia card will be in the GTX-400 line anyway for DX11/10.1 support. I'll be able to max out most games, and get killer performance in the end over the current dual GTX-260s that I own. Not that my system is no slouch right now ethier.

  • Nintendogene

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 7:14 am PT

    If you watch the demo in the background from 3:00 to the end, I think you can see the spartan carrying a new weapon on his back.

  • slayersdeath200

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 6:20 am PT

    Cant wait for this game the beta was awesome but felt ages ago since ive played it and Halo 3 dosnt seem the same now, I already prefer Reachs multiplayer AHHHHHHHHHHHH hurry up septemeber

  • Quinzark

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 5:00 am PT

    lookin good. the beta was lots of fun.

  • dudu22 posted Jun 17, 2010 4:37 am PT (does not meet display criteria. sign in to show)


    Posted Jun 17, 2010 4:37 am PT (hide)

    Honestly, I didn´t see too much difference between the games of the series.
    ODST was overrated, Halo 2 and 3 were almost the same, except for the graphics

  • Dagamemonkey posted Jun 17, 2010 4:00 am PT (does not meet display criteria. sign in to show)


    Posted Jun 17, 2010 4:00 am PT (hide)

    Another Halo...

  • Elian2530

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 3:56 am PT

    Several months to go? More like a few months.. 3 months to be exact.

  • smurfa1

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 3:51 am PT

    @kmne11528: I disagree, it is the amount of info on the HUD that makes Spartans feel more like hi-tech and advanced soldiers rather than some regular Marine.

  • Antherian_being

    Posted Jun 17, 2010 3:15 am PT

    This game just increased in win.