Gamescom 2010: Halo: Reach Campaign Impressions - The Tip of the Spear

Dan Webb

In just five short months, we’ve seen Halo: Reach in action on no fewer than five separate occasions: the debut showing at X10 itself, the space combat at E3, the public beta, our recent hands-on in London and once again, a few weeks later in the very same city. Despite all of the Halo: Reach we’ve consumed in the last few months, we’ve not really seen much of Reach’s campaign in full flow other than a few snippets here and there. Gamescom 2010 gave us another quick look at part of one of the game’s previously unseen missions, “Tip of the Spear,” and if Bungie can maintain this standard across the campaign, we should be in for something very special indeed.

The fourth mission pits Noble Team and of course, Noble Six - that’s you – against the invading Covenant forces with the task of disabling a Covenant AA gun, to allow for heavier support on the surface of Reach. By now, it’s all kicked off on humanity’s last bastion of hope and although we know how it’s going to end, Bungie’s Community Director, Brian Jarrard, assures us there is still an epic story to tell.

“It’s kind of like the Titanic,” Jarrard told us, “Everyone knew that ship was going to sink, but the movie was still pretty enjoyable; there was a lot of sub-stories that we’ve never heard of before. Really it’s more of a character-driven story than we’ve told before. We’re going to let the players get their boots in the mud with the Noble Team and really start to experience these intense battles.”

So expect “twists and turns” with plenty of themes that revolve around “heroism and sacrifice” according to Bungie’s PR guru. Inevitably though, Jarrard stated that “it’s about buying time… to allow Master Chief to get off the planet,” but no, the super soldier himself will still not appear in the campaign, said Jarrard for about the 1,000th time. However, a cameo may not be such a long shot as it’s probably the last thing that Bungie will admit to if true. Call that hopeful speculation.

The Tip of the Spear’s opening cutscene - which as always is in-game - really shows Bungie’s commitment to providing a much more expansive and intensive campaign, as we’re greeted with the sight of a fleet of Warthogs and what may have been Falcons, zipping across the flat desert plains of Reach’s multi-climate environment. That alone should be enough to impress even the most cynical anti-Halo-ite. As Covenant Banshees swoop in and the two forces collide, the sheer number of units on screen gives you a hint at what we can expect as the game gets on. Remember, this is only the fourth mission.

With explosions going off left, right and centre, it’s clear that Bungie has looked to add a more cinematic scope to the cutscenes, adopting to use a wide range of various camera angles that include shots from inside the back of the Warthog amongst others. Camera angles that are more at home in Hollywood than in Halo.

It’s not long before the game’s protagonist, Noble Six, and his compadres are forced out of their Hog by a relentless push from the Covenant, destroying a bridge in the process. At this time the crew are on foot and the traditional Halo combat is well and truly underway.

The Noble Team look to push their way up the right side of this wide-open incline they find themselves on, with nothing but a few lousy rock formations standing between them and a troop of Covenant soldiers. Naturally having higher ground, the advantage lies with the opposition and so Noble Six and co. climb the right side to get on an equal footing.

It’s not long before Jarrard comes under too much fire, dying very early on into the demo. “That’s my first death today,” said Jarrard, “Good old live demos, huh?” we were quick to respond, and with that Jarrard sees an opportunity to highlight the game’s unpredictable nature.

“Every time I have played this mission for three days straight, something different has happened to me,” he said. “That’s kind of the great thing; it’s the sort of sandbox nature of our combat, it’s unscripted. It’s all just AI driven by simulation.”

Moments later, “Oh shit. Maybe I should have played easy…”

After reassessing his approach, equipped with the standard assault rifle and the new human grenade launcher, Jarrard steers the team further up the right side of the incline. The real trouble comes when the team stumble across an Elite, armed to the teeth with a Covenant Concussion Rifle, which according to Jarrard is very reminiscent of the trusty Brute Shot, but more “brutal.” A short moment of sustained fire from the team was enough to send him on his way though.

With the Elite dispatched, Noble Six switches to the remote triggered EMP, which is a secondary function of the Grenade Launcher, and as a result the team are able to disable the turrets and clean the area out. Incidentally, Jarrard notes that he believes that the grenade launcher is the only weapon with a secondary fire, so don’t expect the sniper rifle to fold up into a Spartan lunchbox anytime soon.

Before hopping into the new Rocket Hog – which is as it sounds, a Warthog with rocket pods – Jarrard points out the battles that are taking place in the distance, particularly noting the Ghosts battling it out with the UNSC on the left across a vast chasm, a huge smoking Scarab slightly ahead and any number of Banshees occupying the light blue hazy sky. This is war on a global level and you’re just a small part of something bigger.

Approaching the AA gun, Noble Six makes use of the Rocket Hog to destroy some Covenant Revenants, which Jarrard states “kind of replaces the Spectre.” They are a little more than that though according to Jarrard; “Basically it’s like the Elite’s version of a Warthog, but gameplay wise, it sort of acts as a mix between a Wraith and a Ghost.”

As Noble Six punches the shield protecting the AA gun core and drops a grenade behind, blowing the AA gun to smithereens, the UNSC frigates turn up to offer support fire and as such, the gameplay demo comes to an end.

While it might have only been a quick look at this newest section of the campaign, the more we see of the campaign itself, the more intrigued we’re getting. Taking the light away from Master Chief and focusing on the ODST in… ODST, was one of the most interesting things that Bungie has done with their storytelling in recent years and this time, actually giving them more of a personality sounds like a mouth-watering prospect. We won’t know whether Bungie has actually provided its strongest campaign yet until we go hands-on with the whole thing next month, but watching them try and come up with a story with an ending that is common knowledge, is a challenge that we can’t wait to see them overcome.

Halo: Reach is scheduled for a worldwide release on September 14th.
  • Just preordered this 30 minutes ago. Can't wait til the 14th!!!!!
  • This game is going to be awesome!!!!!!!!
  • So, noble6 turns out to be MasterChief?
  • Man this game is gonna be awesome, have had this game preordered since june. I hope my other games do not get jealous when this game comes out.
  • Halo: Beef Battle for the Beef
  • Maybe Noble 6 turns out to be the clone of John, that actually didn't mutate and die like all the other clones that Halsey made. Hmmmmmmmmmm
  • Roll on 14th sept!!! I even booked the week off work!!!
  • this game is gonna be like an apple
  • maybe noble six is a robot created by the covenant, but noble six gets his wires crossed and turns to the other side....but then in the end he gets his primary functions back and murders the noble team see I can make up crazy conspiracys too
  • @#3 - Ha ha, now that would be a twist.
  • Sounds just like world war 2 in halo universe. Bigger fight in background, taking out AA guns for air support to drop in. So cliche^^ September 14th an my limited reach 360 can't come soon enough!
  • Webb, is it possible you can delete any possible spoiler comments in this discussion? Namely Comment #9. Thanks.
  • Despite what Bungie claims about Master Chief not appearing in the demo, I still can't shake this gut feeling that Noble Six turns out to be Master Chief in the end, and the game will end with his escape on the Autumn and donning his classic green armor. The only other option for the ending is that your character will not survive since John's the only Spartan left after Reach.
  • @9 + 14 It was kind off obvious anyway considering Master Chief was the last Spartan anyway and the Battle of Reach is mentoned some times. Anyway much more looking forward to the campaign than the multiplayer, I hope there are more vehicles added with four seats in particular it was quite annoying doing 4-player with 1 person not being able to get into a car with them.
  • #9 you are an idiot dont tell people whats going to happen thats pissed me right off!
  • @#14 - Sorted =)
  • noble 6 can't be the master chief cause at the beginning of the campaign you can choose if you play as a male or female noble 6 ;) i read this somewhere today, but it got deleted, pretty sure by microsoft because of spoilers...
  • ow it's still up here :D
  • i feel like nobody has played or read any of the halo games or books, read "the fall of reach" and youll see that noble 6 is not master chief
  • @#19 - Master Chief could be a chick with a deep voice =P
  • @ 3&6 not very likely as john 117 is a spartan 2 not a spartan 3 2's were incredibly hard to make and just as hard to kill spartan 3s are expendable
  • you can see the ending on youtube
  • @#24 - So? Watching the ending is the most stupid thing ever. The ending is meaningless without the journey.
  • gonna b sweet cant wait
  • @#22 - haha and to hide her shame she called herself John instead of her real name, Joni? :P that would be awesome! @#24 - Glad you didn't spoil it by saying what it was, i'd like to experience every story sequence by myself without anything being spoiled, i have the books, recently bought but will only start reading them after finishing the game ^-^ the experience does more to me then just knowing the story
  • @22 lol wtf that would be crazy
  • The objective is to give the Chief time to escape Reach.....? I just..... I won't be playing the campaign until I read some reviews on it. If that's the case, Bungie violated canon (117 wasn't on Reach during the Fall, he was on board the Autumn orbiting Reach). I hate when companies violate canon.
  • @29, that makes NO sense. Surely if bungie created the canon (which they did) they can change it?
  • I should stop reading things like this so I don't spoil the story for myself even if it is just a small part.
  • Gonna be an EPIC game ! Can't F'n wait
  • @3 - Noble Six will be wearing whatever Armor you have equipped from the Armory. as stated in a precious article, Master Chief's Armor is purchasable as is his Voice. you can also purchase Cortana's voice so it kind of makes you wonder.
  • Just watched the leaked ending on YouTube. On its own, it's good. Putting in the context of having played through the entire game, I'm certain it'll be poetic and epic! Nice tying-in to the events of the first HALO as well.
  • can we please not start fighting about canon until the game has come out and people are playing it? I've seen plenty of things in plenty of series over the years that seem to break canon but they do it in a way that it actually makes sense when you see it in all it's glory. This is the only Halo game I was more excited about the campaign than anything else... bring. it. ON!
  • Well seeing how Chief is a Spartan 2 and Noble team are Spartan 3's I still think it's funny that everyone expects 6 to be Chief. In the Spartan Rising trailer, when they talk about 6 they say he has a rating that only one other Spartan has. Guess who that Spartan is people!!
  • @36 I agree, theres no way that 6 is master chief. People just jump to ignorant conclusions without having all the information.
  • @#37 - Orrrrrrrr, people were joking around... Which means that you just jumped to an ignorant conclusion without having all the information =P
  • I gotta disagree with you Webb. I am pretty sure that one of the many people posting that 6 is Chief really thinks that he could be. Just saying.
  • @15 Go read the book. Noble 6 is obviously not Master Chief.
  • @15 actually Chief isn't the last Spartan, he is just the last one that most people know about. Read the Halo books, there are more Spartans that survive the attack on Reach.
  • @37 not really tho cuz my first to times seeing the vid doc i really tought she ( dr chiky) was talking to us the viewers saying iy like "" their is only one guy who is that bad ass"" so depends on how you interpret it and as i sayd b4 the commercial are all about the reach will fall but a hero will rise???...still think its kool no matter what still dont matter what they do cuz this was prob their exact reaction they wanted us to have..sum say he is chief and anothers not and what does that do; make us wanna play a million times more now to prov joe shmoe out their you were right!!!! And i believe i have relived ten of my scrotum sacs in the last couple days on this halo hype!!! its FN awsome....True dat [email protected] samus was so kool and i didnt no she was a girl for the first bit of the game at the time...till i died that is!!!!!
  • @29 have you even read the fall? chief was only on the autumn before the covenant glassed reach. cortana found secret coordinants that the covenant were hiding and when everyone warped out of reaches space they were suppose to use random coordinants so that they wouldnt be led back to earth. cortana used the ones she found and thats what led chief and the autumn to the first halo. also it talks about johns missions where he led a group of spartans and since noble six a replacement it doesnt seem likely that they are the same. OT: this game looks better and better everytime i hear or read or watch anything about it. the 14th cant come quick enough. WE. WILL. REMEMBER. REACH.
  • I think it would be funny if noble 6 took off his helmet when i had master chief's armor on.
  • Looks just like all the other Halo games. Pass.
  • @30: Yes, they CAN change it, but SHOULD they? The diehards of the universe -- the ones who live and die on the details of the canon -- know this stuff inside and out. So can they change it? Yes, absolutely. SHOULD they change it? No, they shouldn't. In my opinion it forfeits the credibility of ANY established canon in the universe, and makes it slightly less worth-knowing (not even to mention alters the way the events of The Fall of Reach and Ghosts of Onyx play out pretty substantially, making the fact that I read those books null).
  • @43: Yes, I read the Fall, and I wasn't even implying Noble 6 = Chief (that's absurd). Before the Fall, the Spartans were preparing for a mission straight from ONI to hijack a Covenant ship, go into enemy territory, abduct a Prophet, and escape. Just before this mission, the Autumn was orbiting Reach. That's when the Covenant showed up and the space battle began. Then the Autumn jumped to Halo. Thing is, the Autumn never landed on Reach between the beginning of the battle and their escape. In fact, they fled as soon as the battle in space was lost. They weren't depending on Noble 6 for escape, and the Autumn was never ON Reach during the Fall. The fact that it is in-game completely nullifies the events as they took place in the books, thus making the fact that I even bothered to read it worthless. THAT'S what I'm on about.
  • Give me this fucking game right now.
  • BEER! With 7 of your Buddies. Awesome! Insane! Awesome. Halo Reach Or SC2 will be GOTY. No doubt.
  • Maybe the guy didn't mean "to get off the planet" in a literal sense. Maybe he meant that "to buy time so that he could escape the general area of the planet". Being that Master Chief's mission was so important, it makes sense to buy him some time to get the hell outta dodge.
  • @ #18 Thank you, Webb. You are terrific. =)
  • I've never NOT wanted to read a comments section so much. I just want to hear people say: "this game rocks", F**K grenade launchers, MW2, blah, blah", etc., not all this plot discussion. It's my own fault for even reading the article, but x360a is usually good about spoilers. I'm not saying any of this chit chat is legit, but I don't need to be thinking about this...ugh, f**k opinions, red star gaming go!.
  • @#21 i read fall of reach its an awesome book it also tells u tht master chief cant make a cameo in this game cos hes either in the orbitalplatform destroyin nav data or on his wat to the first halo
  • it seems likely that they delayed the covenant from attacking the autumn during there escape. Yes they were never on but also they needed the chief to escape since he was the last SPARTAN II, not the last SPARTAN exactly, so they could have been trying to delay the covenant from getting the coordinates of the autumn and attacking that out, thus buying the chief time to escape in that sense. I think that it would be the most interesting if that planet chief was headed to at the end of 3 was a planet that maybe some surviving members of noble team, mainly noble 6 and that where 343 picks up the next one.
  • Killzone 3 is gonna kick this games ass!!
  • @ everyone ever In the book it tells of John and his entire team of Spartan II's being on the autumn. They are about to make their jump to take on a mission involving Cortana. I won't go into the details. But basically their mission gets stopped short when the covenant suddenly show up. Plans change, and John, Linda, and James are tasked with retrieving some nav data from a station in orbit around reach. The rest of the Spartan II's get sent groundside to help. So basically after the covenant appear John never sets another foot on Reach. Any chance for a cameo would probably arise during the space combat. Anything other than that I can only assume would be a mentioning of him or an appearance during scenes before the covenant arrive or maybe some radio traffic where you hear his voice. I agree it would be super awesome, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high.
  • I dont have the money for relase to buy this but i might rent it and if i like it get it for my christmas maybe but i might just buy it for christmas but.
  • dont forget to bring a towel
  • This game has got me hyped for it now, looking forward to the 14th
  • Personally im looking forward to an all out experiance! Non stop pounding action!
  • @3, impoffible[sic]. He's a Spartan-II, and noble six is a spartan-II that'd be like.... micheal jackson, being a black person, and just turning.... white... okay, nevermind.
  • had this game pre-ordered since odst came out :) cant wait!!
  • OK noble six is not master chief. Yes tehy hint at it n the trailer. But trust me noble six is not master chief or a copy. Anyone ever think that master chief might be a copy of noble six but in different armor. :)
  • Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reach, Reeeeeaaachh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
  • Who names their son noble 6 anyway?
  • A spoiler warning for the film Titanic would have been appreciated, not going to bother watching that now - thanks a lot Webb.
  • How is everyone speaking with certainty that 117 is even in this game? Have you already played it? Everyone seems to be trying to prove their point about a subject that none of us know about yet. If they stick to the book, then MC only possible cameo would be in space. But we have no idea. None of us do, unless you somehow got a copy of the game and if you do. shhhhhhh!!!! OT: Thanks for the review! Sounds like a great game, especially since there will be more AI and NPC's this time around.
  • #3 I was thinking that as well!!
  • This game makes sliced bread look bad!
  • Master Chief wasn't the only Spartan left after Reach. I don't know why people keep saying that.
  • Anyone else think noble six is going turn out to be Kurt? (read Halo: Ghost of Onyx to find out who Kurt is.)
  • Welocome to the last day of the rest of your life. September 14th can't arrive quicker.
  • @3 Noble 6 can't be Master Chef...The spartan program was all ready in full effect when Reach fell...these guys are inexpensive Spartans...except for Jorge, he is a fully augmented Spartan.
  • Yummy....have release day booked off work to dig into this!! :-)
  • @71 OMFG good call it could be as Kurt must have been darfted in from Onyx to help defend Reach Ok to clear stuff up Noble 6 is defos not Master Cheif. Master Cheif never went to the surface of reach during the battle. He was to attack a UNSC captured space station to destroy Data that could lead the covenant to earth.However he sent most of his squad down so it could turn out that u meet meet some of Master Cheifs squad members from the fall of reach?????
  • Oh man I am so excited i preordered limited edition. I heard the book reveals useful information in the gameplay or their backrounds. 14th please hurry up. :)
  • I hope that wasn't it for the entire level!!
  • My speculation. Jorge and Noble 6 will be the last 2 alive (Jorge is a Spartan II and therefore by default will be able to take more punishment), unless he does an epic final stand whilst Noble Team escapes, leaving him mulching Covenant until he runs out of ammo.
  • Okay I just remixes the beginning of halo cheif comes out of a Cyro tube so noble 6 isn't chief also I read he or she is quite a chatterbox lol
  • I'm sorry but at the point in reach master cheif wasn't as important as any other Spartan in my opinion he led a squad so everyone in that squad they were buying him time they wanted time for the whole planet cuz at the time they didn't know he was the last Spartan which is questionable if he really is
  • Kurt can't be from onyx from what I remember which isn't the best but nope if anyone it that leader of the ounx squad but he was trapped in that thing also so was dr hasly I think
  • September 14th needs to come a lot faster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I am quite impressed that there will be other battles off cliffsides or something long distances away in some levels that have nothing to do with your mission. Go so show how big of a war this is and that the battle going on over there you're not playing is as significate as the one you are carring out.
  • @#56 master chief does go back to reach after he destroys the first halo and takes over a covenant ship to get back to humanity he is the one tht helps find dr halsey nd the suvivin spartans in an underground bunker
  • come on september 14th just ordered the limited edition console bundle cant wait
  • The rocket hog isnt a new vehicle variation. Playing Halo PC it was used a lot in multiplayer. I don't recall if it was in the campaign, but i'm certain that its not a new vehicle. Other than that I nerdgasmed several times before my head subsequently exploded at the epicness that is Halo.
  • @78 - I have a feeling that it going be alot like the new predators film. Kat, Carter and noble six will be last alive. Kat and carter escape in a two man fighter while noble six holds them off.
  • I ordered the LEGENDARY edition the next day pre-order came out ;D
  • @#5, Halo REACH, just by saying it you know its going to be awsom. Just like Halo 3 its going to be the game of the DECADE. =]
  • Does anyone think that Chief could appear in the legendary ending and he's boarding the Pillar of Autumn? Just throwing out some thoughts.
  • You know, so many people say Noble 6 isn't the Chief. Watch it be the Chief. Just watch. It'll be Bungie's final joke to the fans :p
  • @92 it cant be the chief hes either on his way to the events of halo 1 or on the orbital platform above reach destroyin the data
  • @1 30 minutes ago? I pre-ordered it months ago :D!
  • actually if you read ghosts of onyx there are a couple of spartan 2's there Kurt dies covering the escape of team saber(spartan 3's) and a few from team katana(i could be mistaken on the teams) and a spartan 2 known as Kelly escaped and did not die master cheif is the only active combat spartan 2 kelly was from blue team same as cheif but she is trapped on the sheild world with Dr.hasly also james and a few other spartan 2's were just wounded and removed from combat never killed so there are still plenty of spartan 2's they just arn't combat active :P
  • oh and being the slight perfectionist i am fred and linda are spartan 2's and are with kelly inside of the slipspace core of onyx
  • Wow! It is the best game I ever play. Can't wait for Halo 4!!!!
  • You need to register before being able to post comments

Game navigation