Halo: Reach Beta is a Launch

The highly anticipated beta for Halo: Reach has arrived! The download through the Halo 3: ODST disc went live a couple of hours ago, and the 1.15 GB download is already being streamed to countless Xbox 360 consoles.

Giant Bomb has a pretty good overview of the new features at that link, and I highly encourage everyone to hop onto this beta. My highlights so far:

  • JETPACKS RULE! If you ever wanted to play as a BattleTech Elemental online, this is as close as you’ll get (at least until Smith and Tinker’s rebooted MechWarrior comes out in 2011 or 2012).
  • Grenades have a huge impact, the concussive effects are amplified with screen shakes that give them far more oomph compared to previous Halo titles.
  • The DMR is the Battle Rifle incarnate; a bit less damage, but its bark is still as bad as its bite.
  • The Needler Rifle feels a little weak, and becomes almost useless outside of 1-on-1 confrontations.
  • Matchmaking is pretty smart, the teams feel very fairly assigned regardless of game mode.

To get your Avatar reward for completing a beta game, load up Halo Waypoint and check your Career Record; the achievement scanning process will detect the beta’s presence, and you’ll unlock a Reach beta hoodie.

It’s a huge amount of fun! Pop in your disc, download the beta, check out the FAQ on Bungie.net to get your sit rep and then take it for a spin.

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