Bungie set the Invasion and Invasion Slayer game types loose on Friday, and I couldn’t put it down that night. Both game types put six Elites up against six Spartans with weapon/ability loadouts that progressively get better. The special weapons and vehicles also improve as the match goes on. The final minutes are usually quite intense.
Invasion Slayer is basically Team Slayer with territories that, when captured, drop heavy weapons and vehicles. Teams still compete for the highest kill count, but teams can gain a strategic advantage by capturing territories. Can is the key word here. When a territory is captured, the bonus (a weapon or vehicle) is dropped at the territory after ten seconds. Smart teams that arrive late to the territory will gang up and attack just before the bonus is dropped. In my experience, the team that captures the territory rarely reaps it’s benefits very well. Either the opposing team takes control of the area before the drop, or they destroy the vehicle faster than the other team can escape. At first I was really focused on controlling territories, but after a while, I found it was better to just sit back and pick off anyone that ran for it. Nice open targets are my favorite. Occasionally, I’d hit a territory if we had a tight group but usually I just felt like an easy target. Overall, it’s a refreshing game type, but it’s yawn worthy when compared to Invasion.
Invasion… This is almost the game type I’ve always wanted to see in Halo. Elites are attempting to steal a data core from a decommissioned UNSC ship, but first they have to take down the shields blocking access to the ship, and security measures protecting the core itself. Elites have four minutes for each objective, if they run out of time for any objective, Spartans win. Invasion plays out very well. Most games make it to the final stretch which makes it pretty exciting. The game is very well balanced even though Elites are obviously more powerful. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this mode and I had a hard time calling it quits early this morning.
You may be wondering why I say it’s almost the game type I’ve always wanted to see in Halo. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tribes and Tribes 2, so when Halo came out, I was hoping the team based multiplayer would be more like Tribes. Deployable turrets, different armor classes, a huge selection of guns, fantastic vehicle combat, and, my favorite, generators that can be destroyed to leave the enemy team crippled. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halo multiplayer, but the Tribes series is something special that has yet to be matched. Halo Reach’s Invasion and Generator Defense game types have introduced some of the elements I love from Tribes to Halo, so I’m pretty happy. I hope these modes are received well by the rest of the Halo fans, and I hope Bungie has time and plans to add more complex objectives to Reach. I keep thinking the next game will be even better, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is probably the last Halo game from Bungie.
Of course, one huge aspect I love about Invasion and Invasion Slayer, is that you get to play as a kick ass Elite! I always hated how Elites are the same as Spartans in Halo 2 and 3 (besides the player model obviously). Elites are way more bad-ass than Spartans. I don’t care that they’re enemies blah blah blah, they’re fucking awesome. End of story. Elites in Halo Reach are faster, have stronger shields, more health, and they’re HUGE. Just as they should be. They are a blast to play and I’m glad Bungie finally served them right.
Overall, Invasion and Invasion Slayer are amazing and I don’t see myself ever getting tired of them (especially not Invasion). I hope Bungie has more surprises up its sleeve and, in particular, more co-op modes!