September 16, 2010

Weapons Guide for Halo Reach

Shake Appeal has done a handy guide to using some of the weapons in Reach: I've borrowed it to help you get your kill /death ratio up higher.....

1. Melee
It's your fist. You punch them. You can always do this, unless you are dead.

How to use:
Punch them. Make sure to do it up close, though there's a slight lunge to it. A punch always knocks down a shield, if they have one, but unlike Halo 3, that's all it does if they have any shield left -- whether it's 100% or 10% -- so have something ready to finish them (the stylist in me hopes it's a precision headshot). A punch to an unshielded enemy is always an instant kill, however, so you can just punch them twice, where possible. Also, a melee to an enemy's rear (now called a 'beatdown') causes instant death no matter how much shield they have, and you can add flair to this by holding down the melee button to perform an assassination animation. Melees are best used in conjunction with other weapons, but they are an essential part of your armament nonetheless.

Watch out for:
The close-range power weapons like the shotgun and sword are your worst nightmare; don't go for melees against opponents carrying these unless you are very sure of what you are doing. And everything that works outside melee range (read: everything in the game) likely has you beat, though a combination of Sprint and two quick punches will still take some enemies by surprise. Importantly, because of the changes to how the shield works (i.e. you have to 'break' it as detailed above, with no damage carrying through), you'll want to think your melee attempts through a little more than you did in Halo 3. The old-fashioned 'AR-charge-with-closing-melee' will leave you dead, more often than not.

2. DMR
One of the most flexible weapons in the game, and the go-to midrange gun; you'll probably want to grab one whenever available, though it is the default weapon for many slayer types and in the Arena.

How to use:
Four shots anywhere on an enemy will drop a full shield. A fifth shot will kill, provided it is to the head. Reticle bloom is very manageable; at reasonable ranges, you can spam or close-to-spam the first four shots, then pause for a moment before bagging the essential headshot. You also have a scope for long range, and the gun works surprisingly well even at extreme distances.

Watch out for:
It simply doesn't fire fast enough at very close ranges, especially against enemies who are better equipped (packing shotguns, ARs, pistols, etc.). It also won't kill fast enough at any range to match up consistently against properly-used power weapons.

3. Pistol
Perhaps the most flexible weapon in the game, and you will almost always have one when spawning as a Spartan.

How to use:
It does the same damage and behaves similarly to the DMR; they fire the same round, in fact. However, the pistol suffers more from bloom, meaning you will have to pace your shots at range. On the upside, it can fire much faster, so at close ranges you can spam it at the body to drop shields, and then either melee or pause for the killing headshot. Has a scope, too.

Watch out for:
At mid-to-longer ranges, a decent DMR user will shred you because of their relative lack of bloom. Also, the clip is pretty shallow (only eight rounds, and it takes five to kill a healthy enemy), so facing down multiple enemies at once with it is inadvisable.

4. Assault Rifle
While you will often spawn with one of these, it's use at range is questionable, and against decent players this should usually be the weapon you dump when you find something better.

How to use:
Fire it in bursts at close or medium ranges. As with all human, bullet-based weaponry, it is more powerful against enemies witohut shields. The classic 'AR charge' still works, but remember that you have to take down an enemy's shields in Halo Reach before you can do any damage to their health.

Watch out for:
Skilled pistol users will dong on you if you charge straight at them holding down the trigger. Half-decent DMR users will dong on you at range. And the close-quarters power weapons (sword, shotgun) will dong on you too.

5. Needle Rifle
The Covenant's answer to the DMR, this fires faster and suffers less from bloom, but takes more shots to strip a shield.

How to use:
The Needle Rifle is actually automatic, unlike the DMR and pistol, meaning you can hold down the trigger to fire constantly, though again it's best to pause and wait for the reticle to settle before going for a headshot, which kills just the same as if fired from a DMR. Reload time seems comparatively lengthy to me, but I don't have a list of times, so it may just be my perception. The NR also has a hidden bonus in that three rounds to an unshielded body will 'supercombine' and explode, killing the enemy. The rounds don't have to come from the same gun, either, so this gun is even better in the hands of coordinated teams. Also has a scope.

Watch out for:
The same things that will beat out a DMR beat out a Needle Rifle. The DMR is also arguably the more efficient weapon in the hands of a skilled users. I say "arguably" because as far as I know, nobody has run the numbers on time to kill at various ranges yet, and so whether the DMR is preferable to the Needle Rifle is sort of open to debate.

6. Grenades
You usually spawn with a couple of these, and they are useful in any number of situations. Despite a post-beta nerf, they are still very powerful in Reach, and it's worth learning where they spawn on the map.

How to use:
With frag grenades, try to throw them to feet, or anywhere enemies might be. They worth great to deny service to areas, to buy time when retreating with shields down, to ambush a guarded position, to clear out unshielded enemies, etc. Bounce them off walls to hit people around corners! Bounce them off the ground in front of you so they explode in charging enemies' faces! Bounce them beside you just before death, hoping to kill onrushing foes: it's just like Martyrdom! With plasma grenades, you'll want to 'stick' your enemies where possible (i.e. peg them directly), as the resulting explosion brings (almost) unavoidable death. They work well when thrown on the ground, too, and sometimes their lack of bounce makes them more useful in a given situation. Because you don't have to switch weapons to use them, both grenade types work best in conjunction with melees and your actual weapon.

Watch out for:
Armor Lock is your nemesis, as a skilled user will simply shrug off your grenades. And because betrayal bootings are so rampant right now, watch out for your teammates, too.

7. Sniper Rifle
What you would expect. This is a grade-A power weapon, and if you can use it at all you will want to take it wherever you find it, if only to deny it to the enemy.

How to use:
A headshot will always kill, no matter the target's shield. If you hit an enemy anywhere else, you'll drop their shield instantly, if they have one. If they don't, a single shot anywhere on the body will kill. Even if you hit them in the toe. It has reticle bloom, though, so pace your shots. You can also 'no-scope' enemies by using it like a pistol, but this should be considered an 'advanced' technique.

Watch out for:
Getting hit with anything will knock you out of your scope, so weapons that are serviceable at long range (DMR, Needle Rifle, even the pistol) will make your life difficult. And if you get caught out with the sniper at close range, just about anything will likely beat you unless you can pull out a no-scope. Remember, also, that you are very vulnerable to ambush while scoped.

8. Rocket Launcher
Self-explanatory. It's really powerful. Don't leave it lying around for the enemy.

How to use:
Don't necessarily aim at the target; it's easier to aim at the surfaces around them and rely on splash damage to kill. Rockets are a grade-A vehicle killer, by the way, and you should be aware that you can 'target lock' flying vehicles like the Banshee or Hornet by holding your reticle over them for a few moments before firing.

Watch our for:
Rockets fly slowly, so targets at range will often dodge and destroy you, especially with precision weapons. Also, the reload time is lengthy, so it's usually better to switch to your other gun if you miss with both rockets. Timely Armour Locks and even timelier Drop Shields will deny you kills, too.

9. Shotgun
A close-range power weapon, seemingly beefier than it was in Halo 3.

How to use:
Fire at extremely close distances. If you are at point-blank range, you should always follow up with a melee to make sure the job is done. Like all weapons save the 'precision' ones (DMR, Needle Rifle, pistol, sniper) the shotgun makes no distinction between head and body, so aim centre-mass for best results.

Watch out for:
Just about everything outside your fairly short effective range.

10. Sword
The other close-range power weapon, slightly neutered in Reach.

How to use:
When your reticle is red, the sword will dramatically lunge you toward an enemy with right trigger (as if you were 'shooting' it), killing instantly no matter their shield or health. The exception is if they time a countering melee to block you; get around this by attacking from the side or back where possible. If you press the regular melee button instead of pulling the trigger, the sword will give a quick slash (without the lunge), which is particularly useful in sword duels.

Watch out for:
Your nemesis is the shotgun; you will typically die when lunging at a shotgun user head-on. The melee block mentioned above is also a danger. Otherwise, at close range you trump just about everything. Outside that range, everything trumps you.

11. Plasma Pistol
A very useful supplementary gun. It's default firing mode, while seemingly improved in Reach, should be rarely used. The real meat is the plasma overcharge.

How to use:
Hold down the trigger to charge up a glowing green bolt of energy, and then release the trigger to fire. If your reticle is red (over a target, inside the right range) this bolt will home slightly. If it hits an enemy, it drops their shield instantly. If it hits a vehicle, that vehicle is immobilised for a precious few seconds. You can actually use a plasma pistol as a makeshift shotgun at very close ranges, releasing the shield-dropping bolt and then following up with a killing melee.

Watch out for:
The gun by itself is not very effective; it is only in combination with other weapons, notably the precision headshot guns, that it becomes a danger. Consequently, just about everything beats a plasma pistol by itself.

12. Plasma Repeater
New to Reach, this is the Covenant answer to the Assault Rifle, and works just like the Plasma Rifle of the earlier games, only on steroids.

How to use:
Same as you would the Assault Rifle, but with concessions for the travel time of the projectiles. As you fire, the gun overheats and the projectiles start to slow. Pressing the 'reload' button vents this heat and restores the rate of fire. As with the plasma pistol and the needler, you will see a 'ghost' reticle while firing this at an enemy that shows you where best to aim to hit them. As with all plasma-based weaponry, it is better against shields than against flesh, so often you should use this to strip shields before switching to something else to finish the kill.

Watch out for:
Same as the Assault Rifle, above.

13. Needler
Everyone's favourite wacky pink death machine returns in Reach.

How to use:
Try to use it within its optimal range, and only when your reticle is red; like the plasma pistol, it homes slightly when used in the right way. The actual needles themselves do little damage; what you are aiming for is to get enough of them into an enemy that a 'supercombine' occurs and kills them instantly. Unlike the Needle Rifle, the needles stick into shielded targets too, so this thing is near-instant death to unsuspecting targets.

Watch out for:
Aware targets will simply strafe out of the way of the needles, and the further out you get, the more likely you are to be donged on by someone with a 'proper' weapon like the DMR. Use this knowledge when facing needlers yourself: don't ever stop moving, and get to cover where possible. Most people will empty their needler vainly and then you can punish them, but your first priority is to dodge, not to counter. Curiously, the needler is also pretty useless at close range, too, unless someone charges you head-on, in which case you will melt their face. But at the right distance, it's a beast.

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