Halo: Reach Firefight Gameplay: The Basics
Firefight is at its core a survival game mode, in which the squad of up to 4 players must fight wave after wave of enemies, working together to hold out for as long as possible before they are overwhelmed. This form of Co-operative online game mode is not in itself anything new, having on the Xbox 360 been seen before most notably in the Horde Mode of Gears of War 2 and the Nazi Zombies Mode in Call of Duty: World at War. With Firefight 2.0 in Halo: Reach, though, Bungie have significantly upped the survival stakes, creating a game mode featuring its own dedicated maps, game-altering effects being triggered after certain rounds and a depth of customization probably unrivalled in any console multiplayer game today.
Waves, Rounds and Sets
A Halo: Reach Firefight game is constructed of Waves, Rounds and Sets. Enemies come in individual Waves, of which 5 make up a Round. 3 of these Rounds then make up a completed Set. An infinite number of Sets can theoretically be played - the enemy Waves will keep getting harder and harder till the squad of players cannot survive the assault any longer. There is a visual representation of the squad's progress through each Wave, Round etc in the top left hand side of the player's HUD.
Lives and Ammo
To make things both more tactical and more difficult, the squad of players are restricted to a shared pool of just 7 lives during a Firefight Match. At the end of each Round, there is a pause in the action while players attempt to re-stock their ammo, form up together again and plan their tactics for the next batch of attacks.
Survival is further complicated by the activation of certain Skulls (first seen in Halo 3) after each Round and Set, accumulating until all Skulls are active. These Skulls each possess properties that affect the balance and stats in the game, changing the nature of the action as each Round begins.
At the end of every Set, a Bonus Round begins, in which players fight off Grunts to rack up Points to earn extra lives for the next Set. During these Bonus Rounds, the player pool of lives cannot be used, but any player killed is inactive until the commencement of the next Set.
Commendations and Achievements
As Firefight in Halo: Reach now fully incorporates Bungie's excellent Matchmaking system, the new Commendations can be earned during Firefight to boost your Credit score to spend in the Armory. These will change and rotate on a weekly basis. Furthermore, Firefight has its own subset of Halo: Reach Achievements to earn.