by: M.S. Smith
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Halo Reach includes many of the weapons found in earlier games, but several have been changed significantly to improve balance in multi-player. There are also a number of new weapons. This guide will help you get acquainted with the Halo Reach arsenal.
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This is it. The last Halo – or at least the last one that Bungie will be responsible for making. It is hard to tell where the franchise will go from here, but Halo Reach feels like a love letter from Bungie to its fans.
Example numero uno – the guns. Halo Reach has a wide variety of weapons, and most of them are familiar from earlier games. Yet they’re also in some ways better and more robust than they used to be.
Learning how to use the weapons is important if you want to learn to play Halo Reach well. This guide will help you learn to use the many weapons in Reach.
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This classic Halo weapon appears yet again in Halo Reach. It feels more powerful than before, and it is an effective mid-range weapon in the campaign. Spray-and-pray is not the most efficient method for killing Covenant opponents but it does force them to take cover.
The AR’s lack of overall accuracy, particularly in long bursts, makes it difficult to use well in multi-player. At short ranges you can use it to pepper opponents as if the AR was a rapid-fire shotgun. At mid-range, however, good weapon control is paramount. If you don’t fire in controlled bursts you won’t hit a thing.
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Designated Marksman Rifle
Also known as the Battle Rifle, the DMR is a mid-long range weapon built with accuracy in mind. The DMR absolutely begins its user to aim for the head, and it has the accuracy required to make headshots across length of many multiplayer maps.
Because the DMR requires so heavily on accuracy, its usefulness will depend on your weapon control. If you have the accuracy to score headshots frequently you’ll be able to take down opponents in seconds (in campaign and multiplayer).
You generally don’t want to get caught with the DMR at short ranges, so be careful. If you have a better short-range weapon, like the AR, switch to it when you enter a building.
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The grenade launcher is a heavy-duty explosive weapon that can do a lot of damage but is tricky to use. When you fire you need to keep the trigger down. Release the trigger when the grenade is next to your target and Boom! They’re dead.
The grenade launcher is great for taking out opponents in cover because you can aim past the enemy’s position and then release the trigger so that the grenade explodes as it zooms by the wall the opponent is hiding behind. It is tricky to use in close quarters without hurting yourself, however.
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The Rocket Launcher in Halo Reach is basically the same as the one in Halo 2 and 3. It is extremely potent and has the ability to lock on to targets. It is best used – in both single and multi-player – for taking out armored targets. But you can make infantry go boom as well. You can only fire two shots before you have to reload, and the reload animation takes forever, so make those shots count.
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The pistol in Reach pays tribute to the pistol in the original Halo. It isn’t quite as effective (and it shouldn’t be – the pistol in Halo was poorly balanced) but it feels similar in use.
The pistol is very accurate even at mid-long range, but its recoil will quickly ruin your shots. This means you’ll have to fire slowly and carefully if you want to engage enemies at long range.
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The classic sniper rifle is a high-powered rifle with a small clip (four rounds) and moderate rate of fire. It isn’t much different in Reach than it is in other Halo games. The golden rule with any sniper rifle is to aim for the head, as you can obtain one-shot kills this way. However, if you can only achieve a body shot, go for it – two shots kill a Spartan in multiplayer.
Be mindful of the fact that the sniper rifle leaves a visible trail leading back to the sniper using it. This doesn’t matter much in single player, but it is a big deal in deathmatches.
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A powerful short-range weapon, the Shotgun does what you’d expect. To use it effectively you place the barrel on your opponent’s face or abdomen and fire.
No, seriously – the range is that short. Anyone who has ever used a real shotgun will be confused, but anyone who has played a lot of shooters will be at home. When you’re in a building or other close-range situation you want to be the guy with the shotgun. If you’re in the open, however, the shotgun is no more effective than a bowl of confetti.
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The Spartan Laser is kind of like a sniper rifle on steroids. It is very accurate at any range and leaves a trail back to the user. The Spartan Laser, however, is much more powerful. Even heavy vehicles are vulnerable to the Spartan Laser’s deadly fire.
The big problem with the Spartan Laser is the fact that it requires three seconds to fire. This makes it really difficult to use in a deathmatch and practically suicide to use in close quarters. The Spartan Laser shines in team games on maps where vehicles are frequently used.
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A new weapon in Reach, you’ll quickly come to dread this weapon because it is used very frequently by Elites in the single player campaign. It is a powerful gun that fires plasma bolts that fire on an arc and do AOE damage. The shots also deliver a “kick" that messes with you vision, making it difficult to recover from a direct hit.
Because for the AOE damage and shot arc the Concussion Rifle is actually more like a grenade launcher. It can be used to force targets out of a defensive position. It does a ton of damage as well, making it very effective in both single player and multi-player. The weapon’s disadvantage is the slow speed of its plasma fire. This weapon is great at short-mid range, but at long ranges your opponents will have plenty of time to dodge your shots.
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A favorite melee weapon, the Energy Sword is good for one-shot kills. As in earlier Halo games, you will be able to charge enemies with the Energy Sword if they’re close and under your reticule when you press the trigger. This is very deadly at close ranges.
There has been a big change in Reach, however – opponents can now parry your attacks by using a melee attack when you charge. If they time this correctly they’ll be able to stop your attack and counter. This means that it is generally best to sneak attack opponents.
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A spin on the sniper rifle, the Focus Rifle fires a concentrated beam of energy. When it makes contact with an opponent it quickly takes out their shields and then health.
Unlike the Sniper Rifle, which fires individual shots, the Focus Beam can send out a solid beam of energy. Using the Focus Rifle takes serious concentration, as you need to track a moving target with the beam in order to kill it. Once you get the hang of it, however, the Focus Rifle is every bit as effective as the standard Sniper Rifle. Like the Sniper Rifle, the Focus Rifle’s energy beam will be visible to others in multi-player, making it possible for opponents to track you down.
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Fuel Rod Cannon
The Fuel Rod Cannon is basically the Covenant rocket launcher. It fires big green globs of energy that have a big explosive radius and deal tons of damage. You can use the Fuel Rod Cannon much as you would a rocket launcher to take out armored targets and groups of infantry in both single and multi-player.
However, the Fuel Rod Cannon’s shots do have a bit of an arch to them. This makes it easier to lob shots behind a wall or other object an opponent is hiding behind. The Fuel Rod cannon can’t lock on to and track targets, however.
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Another melee weapon, the Gravity Hammer is powerful but can be difficult to use. You don’t receive the quick charge that you do when you attack with the Energy Sword, so you really have to time your attack well in order to make contact with the enemy.
The upside to the Gravity Hammer is that it does AOE damage, so you can kill/damage multiple opponents. This is very useful in single player, but sometimes nice in multi-player. Also, the Gravity Hammer is useful again light vehicles while the energy sword is not.
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The classic Needler has remained largely the same throughout the Halo series. It fires crystals that track opponents down and explode once you have a number of crystals imbedded in your opponent’s flesh. The Needler is a deadly mid-range weapon and particularly good if you’re not yet accurate enough to consistently headshot your opponents.
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Similar to the DMR, the Needler is a accurate mid-long range weapon. Unlike the typical needler, which fires homing needles, the Needler operates like a normal rifle.
The individual shots of the Needler Rifle are less powerful than those of the DMR (as of the release build, the DMR takes down shields in 4 shots and the Needler Rifles takes them down in 6).
However, the shots from the Needler rifle do imbed themselves in unshielded targets just like the Needler, and once an enemy has three in them a Needler explosion is triggered, killing the unfortunate opponent instantly.
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The Spiker is a rapid fire SMG-like weapon that shoots big, nasty spikes. It is dropped only by Brutes in the campaign, so you won’t have must chance to use it (Brutes are not a major part of Covenant forces during the Halo Reach timeline).
Overall, the Spiker is much like the AR and can be used in the same way. The gun is best in close quarters and decent in mid-range engagements. It is terrible at long ranges, as the weapon’s spread sends nails everywhere.
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This nasty new weapon is a grenade launcher for the Covenant. And because the Covenant use sticky grenades instead of frag grenades the Plasma Launcher fires sticky grenades as well.
It can fire one grenade at once or be charged up to fire four grenades at once. The single-fire mode is fine for tacking out individuals, while the multi-fire mode will make very quick work of vehicles including tanks. You can even lock on to targets so the grenades track down your foes.
There is no doubt that the Plasma Launcher is one of the most deadly weapons in Reach. The main disadvantage of the weapon is the long charge time required for multiple shots. You can take out opponents easily with this weapon, but you’ll have to plan your shots.
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A basic weapon, the Plasma Pistol’s normal single-shot firing mode is really lame. You’ll have a hard time killing anyone by taking pot-shots at them with this gun.
However, you can also hold down the trigger to charge the Plasma Pistol for one big, nasty shot. This does a ton of damage and can also disable vehicles. However, using the charged shot will cause the weapon to overheat, so you won’t be able to fire again for a moment. You also have to be careful because you can overcharge the weapon by holding the trigger too long. This will stun you – a death sentence in multi-player.
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A variant of the Plasma Rifle, The Plasma Repeater fires globs of blue energy at a high rate of fire. If you continue firing it rapidly for more than a short burst, however, the weapon will overheat and the rate of fire will slow. It is very deadly while firing at is optimal rate of fire, but very weak when the rate of fire slows. This is a weapon that rewards you for finishing of an opponent quickly.
I generally enjoy the Plasma Repeater, but in practice it is similar to the Assault Rifle. It isn’t accurate enough for long-rang engagements, so you’ll want to stick to short-mid range encounters if you have this gun