So how about that Halo Reach Beta trailer up on Xbox Live? It looks shiny, it looks fast and fluid in terms of animation, and the lighting is more on par with ODST, as one could surmise. But what I took away from the trailer is that Bungie is focusing heavily on making this game cool. There were a lot of wow moments. Not like, "Oh, wow, that was a good sticky onto that guy's bum" kind of good, but more related to some key mechanics.
At first, I was impressed. I mean, it looks cool, right? punching an opponent in the gut to incapacitate him looks a little more visceral than the standard melee attack which, to be honest, doesn't always even connect. Here's an attack that's a surefire way to PWN your enemy when you've got the drop on him.
Here's the problem (cue Toccata and Fugue in D Minor).
Why the Sangheili would I want to take 5 seconds to dispatch an enemy with an animation that renders me defenseless? Once you put use it in the heat of a frenzied struggle, I doubt it would retain it's wow factor. There might be a "FRGNSNXNFAGN" factor, maybe, as you throw your 45$ limited edition red 360 controller across the room, but not wow. Picture this- You run into a room that's filled with a mass of opposing team (shut up grammar police). They're facing the opposite door. If there's one within reach, you'll want to assassinate his face. So you hit B and proceed to thrash him from behind with a series of punches in his soft, tender, vital parts. This makes you very self-satisfied, until his teammate's team damage indicator goes off like a roman candle. So while you're happily pummeling him into submission, they leisurely stroll over and say "Oy, What's all this then?" To which you reply "FRGNSNXNFAGN" and then you die rather inglouriously and are most likely teabagged or stuck after you have already perished. So, moral of the story is, let's hope and pray that the assassination is optional (which would then make it superfluous and no one would end up using it, because melee assassinations would be faster and more efficient) or, better yet, include SOME sort of mechanic within that attack that allows you to keep your head while performing it. Maybe speed up the animation a bit? I don't know. I don't claim to know, I just know what's crap about the idea.
"Liek, ohmahgawd! They should, like, totally have a roll move where you can get of the way of bullets and stuff." Somewhere in Bungie, a developer fell prey to either the drunk chick at the company party or his wife. Why? It's not because the roll isn't an improvement to a lackluster movement set, because it is, and you'll probably see me rolling Link-style though all the maps to save my skin and annoy the crap out of all the other players. No, it's because no one has even included sprint in a Halo title yet. You're stacking your Legos wrong, Bungie. You're baking your biscuits wrong (I've got more metaphors, really, I do). First sprint, then roll. Unless they plan to ignore all physics, a roll will disable your ability to shoot briefly, as well as your equilibrium. Again, it looks cool! I know it does, and you're going to feel satisfied when you dodge a shot and kill your opponent who is flailing madly in front of his LCD trying to waste you. The bad news is, that'll likely happen 1 out of 10 times. The other nine, you'll be punching whoever is nearby and hoping they're Bungie's voodoo doll. If you include a sprint, that would almost eliminate the need for a roll, and it wouldn't be as disorienting.
I can't think of any reason to gripe about the jetpack idea- maybe I'm just not original enough. Really, that's cool- Adding a vertical aspect your standard running-around-shooting-guys-on-teh-grounds-or-in-teh-vehiculars will be entertaining, to say the least. It'll take some re-learning, but I'm sure I won't find once I'm up on high felling my enemies. I haven't seen a ton of the mechanics, though- hopefully the disadvantage to being in a jetpack is well balanced.
#3. TANK TURRET
W00t! I gotta say, props to Bungie for making the tank a tad more vulnerable. Now I can actually feel like I'm accomplishing something when I start emptying my BR on the tank because that's all I have. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the vid. The turret machine gun operator is now totally visible. That means you'll at least be able to take out one source of endless irritation for your team without extra trouble. Less invincibilty for the tank=less vehicle whorage. I'm all for that.
Well, that's about it. To be honest, the issues I could spot are easily fixable, and not game killing to begin with. What was good was very, VERY good. Now, I have some Constant Comment Orange Tea to vanquish, and then, after that, I'll proceed to vanquish my paycheck with my out-of-control spending. I love my life.