Friday, April 30

Give us the money, then get out of our way

This video has Bungie staffers talking about how hard they work to make their games original. Good sux. Great is the aim. What also comes through is they are fiercely proud of being independent.

Boner Alert

Remember I opined it was Bonedry? Obviously, it's Boneyard. I just recalled I did that post (the one linked to).

Carry on my wayward son.

Thursday, April 29

Halo in the Hood(ie)

There's heaps of codes flying round the interwebs to get into Reach beta, heaps of videos, I'd link to them but there's just soooo many. HBO has a list though...

Available to anyone who logs in and plays at least one full game of any type in the beta will receive a Halo: Reach Avatar hoodie via the Halo Waypoint portal on Xbox LIVE. Players must access Halo Waypoint and browse their "Halo" Career statistics after completing a match.

Kinda like the Tshirt I guess

Wednesday, April 28

Birth of a Spartan Video is Released

Woah, it's like I'm starring at a mirror but I'm not. Heavy. 

The Halo piece of propaganda that I think truly marks the start of the campaign to sell Halo Reach to the mass has been released (I'm discounting all the Beta stuff...) Behold, dear reader, Birth of a Spartan.

The video shows future leader of Noble Team, Carter, being transformed into a Spartan Warrior through some futuristic precision surgery. I think I read somewhere that a longer version of the one below is, or will be soon, available for your viewing pleasure on your 42 inch plasma via Xbox Live:

Whaddya reckon? He looks like a bit of a pussy?

Extra for Experts: Check out the headhunter video - a full game, unedited.

Tuesday, April 27

Rockets are LOCKED

Remember how in Halo 2 you coulld use a rocket and it would identify a target, lock on to it and bang, you sent them rocket to where the sun don't shine? And then Bungie took away this wonderfull trick in Halo 3? It's back.  It warmed my heart when I saw it in this IGN Video that I linked to a day or two ago.

I grabbed the screenshots from Grunts R Us. They be good blokes, those lads.

Sunday, April 25

'Girls Play Halo Too'

Have you ever heard of the website, Post Secret?

PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website, or used for PostSecret's books or museum exhibits.

In short, people send in their secrets and millions around the world read them all... here's a wiki

In this week's edition, I spyed this troubling one - 'Girls Play Halo Too'.

How many Halo players sit around imagining 'killing off the anoying ones' in real life?

Saturday, April 24

Halo Haiku

Here's my Haiku to try and win an early code to the Reach Beta:

Planet scorched
Men found to be wanting
Spartans FTW

WTF Jimmy? A haiku? Well it's seems a legit competition is being run as Halo Waypoint Retweeted it..

RT: @CraveNGN Want an early access code to the Halo: Reach Beta? RT this message, follow @CraveNGN and @ them with a Halo Themed Haiku.

So get onto your own Haiku and maybe I'll see you in the Beta!

Here's some of the entries so far:

SzrZx @CraveNGN
 one more For the win, flawless game is my middle name, hell yeah, KILLTASTIC

Dee_Cazo @CraveNGN This Submission sucks, but I like playing Halo,Here is my entry

Chenmeister @CraveNGN Halo Reach Beta / They say it's super awesome / I need to try it

Sycomikey91 @CraveNGN we are surrounded// brutes, elites, jackals, and grunts// we will destroy them!

SzrZx @CraveNGN driving through the map, just stalking for a splatter, double kill it is

Gamer0309 @craveNGN Hiakus are so lame. But Halo is terrific. Hiakus just got cool

Sycomikey91 @CraveNGN I will stand and fight// my Spartan brothers with me// we all stand and fight

Gamer0309 @CraveNGN Party time in May. But Thursday is in April. Halo in April?
AJD2 @cravengn Oh Battle Rifle How I love a good 4 shot You majestic beast

FlashKwonDo @CraveNGN halo reach beta//jet packs stickys and needlers//rag doll explosions!!!!

bonzai1888 @CraveNGN Darkness falls on reach UNSC prepares for contact Fall of reach begins

This exercise reminded my of a Halo poem I wrote a while back.

Mister Chief: Petroglyph Style

HawtyMcBloggy's BS Angel is like the magpie of the online Halo universe, always being her readers the weird and wonderful. A Grunt cake? No problem. Awesome Halo tattoos? Heck, she had those up six months ago.

Today's find is an absolute classic however. It's a stone age Mister Chief:

Here's the original shot which is apparently in Petroglyph Beach in Wrangell, Alaska.

Who the heck is Mister Chief you might ask? He's Mr 343, Frank O'Connor's version of the Master Chief. Frank was well known for his stint at Bungie, where he often drew Mister Chief for various reasons. Frankie's latest was an effort for the Haitian Earthquake relief fund which was auctioned off. It featured Mister Chief and Oonsk:

Friday, April 23

Meet the flaming Spartan

Bungie notes in the weekly update this cool lil trick you can play with if you buy the
Legendary Edition of Halo Reach ...

"In addition to those goodies, players who opt to go big will also score a sweet armor effect that will light their head on fire in multiplayer. It’s not tied directly to any one helmet, so no matter which Spartan gear you strap on, you’ll find the flames work perfectly in tandem."

Do you smell something burning? Is it Bacon?
 Whaddy reckon? Worth shelling out US $149.99 for?

Why Andrew Nicol should direct the Halo Movie

Why Andrew Nicol should direct the Halo Movie (if it ever gets green lit again!)

First up. Who is Andew Nicol you might ask? He’s a Hollywood film director that KNOWS his SCI FI. He’s notabably notable for writing and directing GATTACCA and writing and producing The Truman Show (and was Oscar nominated) but he also wrote S1MONE which starred Al Pacino and wrote the The Terminal for Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. He also knows about guns, lots of guns as he wrote and directed the Nic Cage vehicle, Lord of War. Don't get shot with your own gun eh?

Nicol knows the Hollywood system inside and out having been a player for many years. He's friends with the Biggest Player of them All, Mr Speilberg. He will be able to manage the crap and provide a platform which Frank, 343 Industries and Bill Gates are happy with.

Combine his love of sci fi, ability to write oscar nominated scripts, and his clear, determined approach to no nonsense movie making and you have a guy that can sheppard in a Halo movie with the love and care that expected from the built in fan base.

Actually, it’s not that Andrew Nicol should direct the Halo movie, its Andrew Nichol deserves the Halo movie.

Plus he’s a New Zealander! We Kiwis are fucking great at making movies (and Halo Games – see Chris Butcher). We have Peter Jackson and Sam Neil. He kicked Juarassic Park’s Prehistoric Ass back to beyond the Stone Age. Hell, Sam Neil would make a great Captain of the Pillar of Autumn eh? 

What ever you do Andrew, DO NOT CAST DENZEL WASHINGTON as Sarge Johnson. Washington's smugness ruins just about every movie he's been in. Except Training Day when his smug character needed his smug attitude....

Oh crickey, I just remembered about James Cameron. Ignore the above!

Wednesday, April 21

The Big Flood of Halo Reach news and views


I've been busy so blogging bin light. Here's a round up of all the news and views that have popped about about Halo Reach over this week. Mostly thanks to HBO! (but sources linked direct)

Halo Pricing Let Loose?

"An alleged Best Buy ad, to be circulated next week, reveals that the retail packages will range in price from $60 for the standard game to $150 for the Legendary Edition, with the "limited" iteration of Reach falling in at $80. As you might imagine, the standard version supposedly comes with just the game itself, while the limited version is said to also include a "special limited edition case, collectibles and in-game armor," according to the ad. The $150 option allegedly contains all of the contents of the limited edition, in addition to even more "unique packaging" and in-game armor, plus a "Legendary Noble 6 Sculpture." When asked for comment, Microsoft issued its standard response: "We don't comment on rumor or speculation."" Source

Remember if you buy Halo Reach from Amazon you get a $20 Amazon store credit.

Forward Unto Dawn lets the words fly on Halo 2 Muliplayer

Three articles on their thoughts about how Halo 2 muliplayer worked for them. ONE. TWO. THREE.

Reach is fast nearing completion

According to Marcus Tung, "We’re days away from content complete, which means we’ll be hammering on this game for the next couple of months to make sure it’s the best damn thing any of you have ever put in your xbox."

The rest will be spit and polish. Bungie, I'm sending my spit across the Pacific Ocean for you...

Sunday, April 18

Will of the Prophets: Hard to decipher

It's just a cool picture, Ok?

Forward Unto Dawn has conducted some sweet analysis of the latest Halo info from Gametrailers.

Dani spells out the Invasion game type quite succintly:

"Invasion is a six on six objective game mode. Six Spartans attempt to defend their base against the invading six Elites across three “phases”. Each team takes a turn at both invading and defending."

Check out the full article.

I noted in the comments section for Space Invaders Anonymous suggested the "Will of the Prophets' as a title for the comments section was too hard to figure out on a casual read - duly noted and so I have gone back to 'Comments' for a trial. Thanks for your input Anon!

How many days till the beta? 15? CANT.HARDLY.WAIT.

Saturday, April 17

Lies, damned lies and Halo 2 statistics

Halo 2’s Xbox Live run is over, gone the way of the Moa and the Dodo. 
Bungie’s statistics generator,  Mr Michael Williams has released some last Halo 2 statistics for us players to revel in. Farewell Halo 2, you were a true champion. 
Final Halo 2 player stats:
  • Unique Players (not including guests): 6,603,900
  • Kills: 36,784,837,266 (Or something like 5.5 times the current population of the earth)
  • Assists: 10,422,552,715
  • Current total games: 803,136,816
  • Current player games: 5,417,490,994
  • Seconds in Matchmatchmade games: 1,798,459,752,186
  • Minutes in Matchmatchmade games: 29,974,329,203
  • Hours in Matchmatchmade games: 499,572,153
  • Days in Matchmatchmade games: 20,815,506
  • Years in Matchmatchmade games: 56,991 (So since around 54,981 BC, about the time Europe was thought to have started being inhabited by Neanderthals)
  • Seconds playing campaign on live: 850,462,468,852
  • Minutes playing campaign on live: 14,174,374,480
  • Hours playing campaign on live: 236,239,574
  • Days playing campaign on live: 9,843,315
  • Years playing campaign on live: 26,950 (Or about 1.7 billion dollars at a minimum wage of 7.25)
  • Total Clans: 8,653,124
  • Clans with 8+ members: 68,868
  • Clans with 16+ members: 16,752
  • Times the Halo 2 Banhammer has swung: 548,479 (Slightly more than the population of Wyoming) (includes multiple bans on the same players)

Hat Tip: Grunts R Us

Friday, April 16

Jet Packs for the Assassination win!

Want to see some Air to Air Action? Noble Actual gave us Halo Fans a quick bite to eat...

There’s almost nothing better than jetpacking up in the air and landing a sweet assassination on another high flyer.  It’s so sweet we made a cool little turnaround for you all!  Enjoy!
PS - thanks to Brian, Urk and Stosh for throwing this together.

- Joe

Invasion etc explained...

The Bungie Weekly Update has some words on the game types that can be found in the Reach beta. Some will find it's old news, others a handy explanation. Perhaps the most interesting thing on this week was the designers' reflections on making Halo 2. 

Grab Bag
This is your familiar Halo experience. The go to game types. Some of this stuff you should already be used to. If you like Assault Rifle and Magnum starts (and you will much more than you did the same in Halo 3, trust me), you should go with Slayer. Should be self-explanatory. Like the longer range game? Vote for Pro.

You’ll also see a healthy mix of objective stuff like 1 Flag, Crazy King, Oddball, and, back by popular demand, Halo 2 style Three Plots, where teams must capture and hold a series of three fixed territories that can be subsequently recaptured by the opposition. The more territories you hold down at any one given time, the more points you are awarded, per second.

You’ll also run into a little somethin’ somethin’ we like to call Covie Slayer. Elite on Elite evasion action. Do yourself a favor and cast your vote in favor of this at least once. Trust me.

Free For All
Yeah, you know what’s up. No teams. Kill stuff.

Unless you’re the Juggernaut. Then you’ll have a Gravity Hammer and you’ll be on fire. Like on fire on fire. You’ll also be unkillable, really friggin’ fast, and unbound by the laws of gravity (Suck it, Newton!).

But you’re not powered up forever. Once the HUD indicator above your head changes from a skull to a bullseye, it’s your turn to become the hunted. And just like the original version of Juggs, if someone takes you down, they’ll get their own moment to rage out.

You get 10 points per kill as the Juggernaut and 5 points for killing a Juggernaut. Wash, rinse, repeat until someone scores a total of 150 points. No Armor Abilities. No Load Outs.







Eye straining jokes aside, Headhunter is one of those games that’s just built for good times. It’s really easy to understand and always heaps of fun. Seeing some poor sap in a mad dash for the last minute cash in, only to stop him dead in his tracks and witness his entire supply of flaming skulls spill out from his dead body? 
So good.
Stockpile is a little more complex. Two teams scrap over four neutral flags. Flags are scored by bringing them into your team’s designated territory and protecting them until the timer reaches zero. Flags are collected every sixty seconds.

If the flag is outside the zone, even if you have it in your hands, it won’t count. If you allow a player on the other team to infiltrate your territory and toss all your flags outside the clearly marked boundaries, those won’t count either.

There’s two ways to win.

  1. Score a total of 10 Flags.
  2. Score the most flags in the ten minutes allotted.

Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s actually really nuanced. There’s a lot of push/pull going on and a coordinated team can employ multiple strategies to keep things mixed up.

Flag Taken, Flag Dropped
Speaking of nuance, flag juggling didn’t make the cut. Now, while you’re snagging a flag, you’re base player traits will actually stick, for lack of a better term, for a brief moment just after you let loose. So, drop it like it’s hot, but don’t expect to get a speed boost for your efforts.

And if you were worried about players flying with the flag via Jet Pack, I can assuage those fears. Won’t happen. If you have hold of the flag, using an Armor Ability will cause you to drop it instantly. Pick it back up, and the effects from your Armor Ability will vanish. Same goes for any multiplayer specific object you can hold in your hot little hands.

Generator Defense
And then there’s Generator Defense. Three Spartans defend three generators from an all out assault launched by three Elites.

Why only three per team? We’re testing out some pretty specific stuff on the networking side of things. In fact, the entire concept of Generator Defense was created simply to support what’s actually called Network Test 1. It’s just that Network Test 1 doesn’t sound like something anybody would really get pumped up to play, dig?

But Generator Defense? That sounds awesome! And actually, it really is. As the Elites begin to damage each generator, you’ll be notified with audio and visual cues in your HUD. If you want to prevent them from exploding, you need to get up close and activate the temporary blast shield. Each time you engage the lock down, you’ll earn thirty seconds of breathing room.

At the start of each round, you not only get to pick from a broad selection of Load Outs, you also get to choose your general spawning location. Choose wisely. As an Elite, you’ll need to destroy all three generators to win the round.

If you like what you play, let us hear about it. Maybe Generator Defense is something we’ll ship in the retail game this fall. Who knows?

Invasion is definitely in, but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to check it out. We thought mere words weren’t enough to do it justice. Tune into GTTV later tonight for the first ever detailed footage.


Wednesday, April 14

Farewell Halo 2, I knew you well

Today is the last day for playing Halo 2 multi player, go play Lockout one more time, you deserve it dear Halo fan.

Monday, April 12

Carter and Kat's Noble Hunt

A guest post by Seenoht that features his own original Halo artwork and thoughts on one of the Halo universe's most sturdy aliens, the Hunter. I am extremely proud to be able to post this to Halo Reach Game News!

A Noble Hunt

“There is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” - Ernest Hemingway 

The Hunter introduction is a carefully constructed moment in every Bungie Halo game.

I, for one, remember bumbling around Silent Cartographer in Halo: Combat Evolved before realizing I had to head into the interior of the island.  Joyous at finally finding the proper path, I set out along an uphill journey and quickly found a stash of weapons and ammo that had been carelessly discarded.  I picked my way through this serendipitous offering until I died without warning in a blast of green.  Like some bastard alien just set Avada Kedavra on me.

Turns out I was pretty close to the truth.  Respawning and returning to the scene of my previous fail, I was cautious to engage this foe again.  Excuse me…foes.  A bonded pair according to my intel.  After darting over to stock up on ammo I took cover where I could find it and started pelting one of the beasts with all I had. 

I might as well have thrown my sidearm at it.

Maybe a melee attack will…nope.  That’s not it.

Oh, I shoot them in their bewilderingly unprotected lumbar region (designed by Achilles apparently).  I got this.  And just for good measure on my way past them, I crack one of the lifeless husks of armor with the butt of my pistol.  This gives a satisfying clang, much like spanking a rusty Chevrolet with Excalibur.

Their sudden gate-crashing entrance into Halo 2 was overshadowed for me when you actually teamed up with the Mgalekgolo later as the Arbiter.  This was the furthest thing from running around with a pack of the Keystone marines that I’d been saddled with for 1-1/2 games.  I had complete confidence rolling through Delta Halo on the yellow-brick road to Tartarus with my bonded pair out in front blasting and crushing every brute who stood in their path.

Hell, I could’ve bonded with them at that point.  So dreamy…

By Halo 3, I knew to be on the lookout for creamy blasts of emerald hurt, so I was ready when I saw a fuel rod cannon demolish a stack of precariously placed fusion coils.  This was accompanied by a great snippet of interactive music.  Kudos, Marty.  Of course, by this point handling Hunters is as easy as a continuous circle strafe to position yourself to abuse their special area.  Ooh, take it.

Perhaps I was most impressed by the armored giants in ODST because I wasn’t expecting anything different from them.  I had a pair of surprises instantly intrigue me in my first encounter with them in Tayari Plaza.  The first being the super quick melee attack they had for when I was behind them.  It made the dance to hit said area a bit more treacherous when you were already moving slower as an ODST.  The second surprise was battling the vanilla Hunters alongside the Spec Ops Hunters.  Having to keep an eye on which flavor was where so you knew which type of fuel rod blast would be incoming was way more fun than previous encounters.  It added a variety to fighting Hunters that has been noticeably absent.

Those last changes are what give me great expectations for the Hunters in Reach.  With the new animation overhaul and improved A.I., these monsters should be most frightening.  Graphical enhancements could possibly involve the churning colonies of eels within the armor writhing over each other and being visibly damaged by weapons fire.  I’m also hopeful for new Hunter audio that will rumble my living room when the 10,500 pound behemoths roar at me or thump through my bones with every step of their approach.  In a few months we’ll all know how they behave.  Bungie has saved their best for last, so expect one final fitting entrance for these giants of the Halo universe.


 Nearly there...
A Noble Hunt

Artist's composition notes:

My software of choice is Corel Painter, of which I’m using Version 10 right now.  The initial idea for this painting was “Noble team works together to bring down a Hunter”.  After a few different layouts it turned into “Noble team O.G.’s work together to bring down a Hunter”. 

I may do a companion piece based on “Noble noobs work together to bring down a Hunter” so I can paint the other 3 NPC Spartans.

My trophy shot on is a Hunter so I’m familiar with their current appearance.  This was an artistic license to create a prequel style based on what already exists.  I would love feedback and don’t mind honest criticism, but please don’t harass me over minutiae.  The barrel of the fuel rod cannon was actually inspired by a pair of older Kicker ZR series amps that I had about a decade ago.  They were covered in cast metal fins that still had that rough texture and then each fin had a machine-cut face smoothly running along its length.  The amps were very solid and intimidating and that lent itself well to the look of the Hunter.  The steam and smoke was to show how dangerous the Legkolo weapon really is (btw, this one discharged because of the sudden trauma its owner just experienced).

The Spartans themselves were a new challenge since I am not that adept at figures.  It was super fun painting the human weapons though.  Can you tell what I’m looking forward to using in the Beta?
The rest of the painting was about the romantic scale of the battle.  Good prevailing over evil even as the last rays of light are extinguished for what must be a seemingly endless night on Reach.  Hope you enjoy it.  Drop me a message at and let me hear your thoughts.


Should one anyone wish to use these fantastic Hunter images, please link back to this page as the source, and also acknowledge Seenoht as the artist. Thanks, JJ

Sunday, April 11

Maps Maps Maps Maps

A straight lift from the Bungie Weekly Update as there's too much shit going on in the real world.

The map formerly known as Settlement is set amidst one of Reach’s more desolate regions. Look up and you’ll catch a glorious glimpse of some majestically mountainous outcroppings. Across the way – jagged, primordial spires emblematic of this region’s rugged terrain. Peer down and you’ll see the rerouted river spilling into the canyon below.

This installation might have once merely bent that meandering river in an effort to serve Reach’s rural settlers with much needed hydroelectric power, but now it’s been rerouted to provide fodder for a full scale war effort. Most rounds begin with a knockdown, drag out fight between players thirsting for the Rocket Launcher. If you’re looking to join the fray, you’ll find it resting in the spillway below. When you go in after it, be prepared to claw, scratch, and bite your way through some stiff opposition.

Good thing Powerhouse features a multitude of routes to facilitate plenty of unpredictable approaches. Stay low and wade through the water, cut through the buildings and drop down from the path above, or sprint your way in from the Rock Garden side of Powerhouse to pounce on unsuspecting fools salivating over the prospect of explosive kills.

And of course, you’ll probably be contending with adrenaline junkies dropping in from above via Jet Packs, overshielded opponents baiting you to waste one of your freshly acquired rockets by firing it straight into their locked armor, and predatory players cloaked up at the end of the gulley, patiently waiting for you to take the bait and step into their deadly web.

Which brings up a tangentially related point of contention.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Armor Abilities in the community over these past few days. It seems we might have gone a little too far in dispelling the myth that the Jet Pack would trump everything else to become the one and only Armor Ability worth breaking out. That notion is far from the truth, but it doesn’t mean that the Jet Pack isn’t a worthwhile Armor Ability. It is.

And if I were to guess, I’d posit that when the Beta moves into full swing we’ll simultaneously field complaints in one ear about how each and every Armor Ability is far too powerful while the other is regaled with tales of their total impotence and abject ineffectiveness.  The truth, as always, will lie somewhere in the middle. But we'll definitely be watching the Beta to make sure everything's on the level.

Ultimately, the impact of all the different Armor Abilities will be measured by how well you employ them. Their effectiveness will hinge upon a number of dynamic variables – using the right Ability for the right job, coordinating with your team to counter your opposition’s current selections, and mastering the nuances of each across the full spectrum of game modes.

Personally, on Powerhouse, I tend to start things off with Sprint. Not only is it an effective way to collect power weapons and attain advantageous positions quickly, it’ll also save your hide if you come under fire and need to get anywhere else fast (run away!). Powerhouse is packed with a wealth of terrain to facilitate a myriad of combat situations in both interior and exterior spaces, so it’s always a good plan to stay on your toes.

During the internal Beta I’ve been using my inertia to get in close and melee unsuspecting players to great effect. The force of the blow, coupled with the burst of speed provided by Sprint actually lifts the target off the ground, sending them reeling backwards after the impact. The first few times I saw it I was too amazed to do much of anything about it, but after the initial shock wore off I found it fun (and effective) to switch to my sidearm and put a round into their face after sending a unsuspecting sucker a-flying.

Other folks have their own preferences, of course. There are a lot of stories being told around the office now that the internal Beta is in full swing, and plenty of them have a lot to do with Armor Abilities. We’ll likely dig into the nuance of each one sometime later on so you can get a better idea of how you might make the most of ‘em. Like maybe next week or later “later.”

For now, let’s stick to the plan and take a look at the current default palette of weapons you’ll find placed about Powerhouse.

I Need a Weapon
  • DMR x 5
  • Focus Rifle x 1
  • Gravity Hammer x 1
  • Grenade Launcher x 1
  • Magnum x 3
  • Needle Rifle x 2
  • Needler x 2
  • Plasma Pistol x 3
  • Plasma Repeater x 1
  • Rocket Launcher x 1
  • Shotgun x 1
  • Frag Grenade x 6
  • Plasma Grenade x 6

Sword Base
It’s a base…for Longswords, right? Nah, not exactly, but you’ll definitely wanna do some flying once you get inside. The atrium you’ll be fighting over is five, maybe six layers deep. Depends on whether or not you count the upper air vent (if you happen to have the Sniper Rifle in your hot little hands, you probably will).

So yep, it’s well suited for Jet Packs. But that doesn’t mean it’s not set up to take advantage of all the other delectable tools of destruction Halo: Reach has on offer – turns out, Sword Base is a complex and layered arena ripe for all modes of play.

Bottom floor is 1a or 1b, depending on which side you happen to be hanging out on. A-side features red ambient lighting, B-side rocks the blue. You’ll have to figure out the rest as you go. Like Boarding Action or Prisoner, the overhead probably just leaves you scratching your head in wonder and confusion. Best way to get acclimated is to dive right in, mandibles first.

One of Sword Base’s defining visual features sits in a small pool of water, right smack in the middle of the marble ensconced lower level. This curiously goniochromatic Covenant mechanism not only looks a bit out of place here, it actually displaces anything that happens to wander into its electric blue upward energy thrust. Savvy players will learn to utilize this oddity to quickly maneuver to a number of vertical perches. Others will lift off only to flounder about in midair, eventually falling back down to the ground floor, exposing themselves to a hail of enemy fire.

If they’re really unfortunate, they’ll find themselves a victim of an air-to-air assassination, which is just about the most awesomest thing I have ever laid eyes on. Maybe even more awesomer than the air-to-ground assassination, but I haven’t made up my mind just yet.

Anyway, how’d this sweet, alien technology end up in the care of the Office of Naval Intelligence, you may wonder? Read the placard. Not everything in this sector has been classified.

Those looking for more shortcuts should be aware that there’s also a chilly updraft in one of the lower ventilations shafts on 1a and one crazy, radiological ride that’ll whisk you quickly from 1b to 5b (where the player with the Shotgun or the Sword will probably be waiting to guide you face first into the afterlife).

Sword Base also features blow-uppable computer monitors, smashable wall-mounted screens, and knee-high destructible glass on some of the small balcony perches. (Sometimes I like to just run around and break stuff. Like after Sketch jumps into one of the online forums and scoops the update. Turns out I find the sound of glass shards tinkling to the floor somewhat soothing.)

And since there are plenty of perches, you certainly should expect to see a significant measure of traversal by way of Jet Pack. But even though there’s plenty of vertical play going on, Jet Pack isn’t the only Armor Ability you’ll want to load out with. Again, I find Sprint really useful, but plenty of players use both Armor Lock and Active Camo to great effect on Sword Base. Though the central atrium is nice and open, the interior spaces are somewhat labyrinthine and you’ll find that remaining unseen or invincible for a brief spell is a particularly nasty tactic if you want to keep it close quarters or snag some of the exposed power weapons without exposing your face to too much enemy fire.

The Sniper Rifle is beneath the bamboo on the ground floor and the Plasma Launcher is on the upper catwalk. You’ll want to keep tabs on ‘em. Here’s the rest of the stuff you should know about on Sword Base:

What the Ladies Like
  • DMR x 6
  • Energy Sword x 1
  • Magnum x 3
  • Needle Rifle x 3
  • Needler x 2
  • Plasma Launcher x 1
  • Plasma Pistol x 3
  • Plasma Repeater x 3
  • Shotgun x 1
  • Sniper Rifle x 1
  • Frag Grenade x 4
  • Plasma Grenade x 4

We’re gonna stay pretty tight-lipped on the Overlook front and let the pair of images below do the talking this week. There are some really interesting wrinkles in the way you’ll acquire weapons in this space, but all those intricate details bleed over into the game type you’ll be playing on Overlook in the Beta. We’ll get to all the ooey-gooey Generator Defense stuff soon enough. All in due time.

But Overlook’s aesthetics give us a good reason to talk about a couple of other topics that have been up for discussion in recent weeks.