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Halo: Reach Invasion Guide - Introduction
For their last Halo game, Bungie seem to have gone all out to pack as much online multiplayer depth into Halo: Reach as is possible, creating an Xbox Live experience that should provide plenty of pleasure for years to come. As if the new Firefight 2.0 Mode and the incredible Forge World multiplayer editing tools weren't enough, Bungie has also introduced a new objective-based game type in Halo: Reach called Invasion. In this guide to Halo: Reach's Invasion Mode, we'll take a look at its gameplay, how each match is constructed of phases and how those change a game's dynamics, as well as studying example player weapon loadouts, the Invasion maps and the Invasion-specific Halo: Reach Achievements.
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Halo: Reach Invasion Gameplay - The Basics
Invasion is a Halo: Reach multiplayer mode that features team of 6 Spartans against 6 Elites. One team has the role of attacking a series of objectives while the other team attempts to defend them. There are three Phases in an Invasion Halo: Reach match - the next Phase and corresponding area of the game map opens up when the attacking side completes its objective within a time limit. The defending team can win the match in any Phase if it prevents the attackers from completing that particular objective.
While such objective-based multiplayer modes are common in PC online shooters, they are less common on consoles. Perhaps the best comparison to Invasion would be the Rush Mode found in Battlefield: Bad Company 2's multiplayer.
The Three Phases of a Halo: Reach Invasion Match
Using the example of an Invasion Match on the Boneyard Halo: Reach map, this is how the three Phases would typically break down:
- Phase One: The attacking Elites must attempt to shut down one of the 2 Shield Generators within a time limit of 4 minutes on the opening portion of the map. Doing so opens up the next sector of the map, a new objective and extends the time limit. The defending team of Spartans can win the match in this Phase by holding out and protecting the Generators for the whole 4 minutes.
- Phase Two: Now the objective is control of one of two territories on the extended map, marked out on the player's HUDs. If the attacking Elites take possession and control a territory for at least 30 seconds, Phase Three opens up and the game continues, if not, it's a Spartan win.
- Phase Three: The main Elite objective is in sight: a vital Data Core. The game now becomes a CTF variant, where the Elites must capture the Core and return it to their waiting Phantom. Again, if the defending Spartans can prevent this happening, they will run out winners of the match.
In the first Phase, there are no vehicles available on the map, and the players' choices of weapons and Armor Ability loadouts are limited. As each new Phase opens up, more powerful vehicles and a greater range of loadouts become available, so that by the final Phase, the Elites may have Ghosts, Wraiths and Banshees with which to attack, while the Spartans can defend with a Scorpion Tank. This escalation in weaponry, vehicles and loadouts means that an Invasion Match in Halo: Reach can quickly grow from a relatively small scale melee into an epic battle.
Invasion Slayer is an alternate Invasion Playlist in Halo: Reach, where, although the game is still broken down into Phases, with the accompanying unlocking of new weapons and vehicles, the actual objective is to accumulate points through eliminating the opposition. Whichever team reaches 100 kills first is the winner, no matter what the Phase.
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Halo: Reach Invasion Maps
The Playlist for Invasion Mode in Halo: Reach Multiplayer currently feature 4 dedicated Invasion maps. The first 2, Boneyard and Spire, are covered in our Halo: Reach Multiplayer Maps Guide, while the other two, Hemorrhage and Paradiso, are Forge World maps, and will be looked at extensively in our forthcoming Halo: Reach Forge World Guide.
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Halo: Reach Invasion Loadouts
The following example loadouts for Elite and Spartan teams are listed by the the game phase in which they become available in Halo: Reach Invasion Matches. With Bungie's propensity to continually tinker and freshen up Halo multiplayer, don't be surprised to see new variants of loadouts appear over time as available options in Invasion Mode.
- Assassin - Weapons: Needler, 1 Plasma Grenade. Armor Ability: Active Camo.
- Warrior - Weapons: Plasma Repeater, Plasma Pistol, 2 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Evade.
- Scout - Weapons: Assault Rifle, Magnum, 2 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Sprint.
- Dark Assassin - Weapons: Needler, Plasma Pistol, 2 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Active Camo.
- Zealot - Weapons: Needle Rifle, Plasma Pistol, 2 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Evade.
- Guard - Weapons: Assault Rifle, Magnum, 2 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Armor Lock.
- Recon Marksman - Weapons: DMR, Magnum, 2 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Sprint.
- Champion Assassin - Weapons: Needler, Plasma Repeater, 3 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Active Camo.
- Gladiator - Weapons: Energy Sword, Plasma Repeater, 2 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Evade.
- Ranger - Weapons: Plasma Repeater, Plasma Pistol, 2 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Jetpack.
- Royal Zealot - Weapons: Needle Rifle, Plasma Repeater, 3 Plasma Grenades. Armor Ability: Evade.
- Airborne - Weapons: Assault Rifle, Magnum, 2 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Jetpack.
- Expert Marksman - Weapons: DMR, Assault Rifle, 3 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Sprint.
- Grenadier - Weapons: Grenade Launcher, Assault Rifle, 3 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Sprint.
- Operator - Weapons: Tactical Shotgun, Magnum, 3 Frag Grenades. Armor Ability: Armor Lock.
As you can see, each phase escalates the weaponry and tactical options available for you to choose from, and don't forget that UNSC and Covenant vehicles are introduced from Phase Two onwards. For more on the new weapons and Armor Abilities in Halo: Reach, check out our Halo: Reach Multiplayer Guide.
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Halo: Reach Invasion Achievements
- Be My Wingman Anytime (5G): Allow a teammate to spawn upon your position at least 5 times while playing Invasion Mode in Halo: Reach Multiplayer.
- Skunked (10G): Be a member of a team that manages to win an Invasion Mode Match in the very first Phase.
More information on Achievements in Halo: Reach can be found in our complete Halo: Reach Achievements Guide.
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Halo: Reach Invasion is a welcome addition to the wealth of Halo multiplayer game types, and an indication of the increasing popularity of objective-based gameplay in console shooters. Invasion Mode, along with the spruced-up Firefight Mode in Halo: Reach, is sure to extend the online lifetime of Bungie's final addition to the Halo franchise significantly, and is one of the many reasons that Halo: Reach can be viewed as not only the definitive Halo game but the best Xbox 360 multiplayer shooter to date.