Ask Halo fans what the series’ finest beach level is, and many will certainly provide the exact same answer: The Silent Cartographer. As the a lot of iconic level in Halo: Combat Evolved all at once, you’d be tough pressed to uncover someone who would certainly disagree. Its nondirect technique, which encourages exploration and lets you complete goals in any order, tense firefights, and curiosity-inducing plot threads give it a balanced feel that few other Halo levels have the right to enhance.

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Yet here I am, head over the parapet, supplying a countersuggest to that opinion. For me, there’s one more beach mission in the franchise that is seriously underrated and also, dare I say, much better — Halo: Reach’s Long Night of Solace.

It could seem sacrilegious to say so, yet Solace deserves even more credit than it gets. The mission’s emotional impact, perfectly polished gameplay, pounding soundtrack, and level style stand also up against Cartographer. Solace’s ability to squeeze all of this into its reasonably brief beach section provides it a exceptional level.

More Beach Week:

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Storming the Beach

With 4 Halo titles under their belt prior to Halo: Reach’s advancement, Bungie was able to tweak and also perfect the franchise’s combat system for their series’ swan song. Battling the Covenant has always been fun and also frenetic, however the enhancements and additions to Reach’s combat made it an utter joy to play.

For starters, you weren’t a one-male army anymore. It was constantly a thrill to kick butt as Master Chief, yet tbelow was somepoint about fighting alongside your Noble Team squad mates that made battles feel even more alive. Your teammates’s callouts around adversary positions, commands to coerce you into flanking the Agreement, and also banter made it feel prefer you weren’t alone. Even if you were playing the project solo, it wasn’t one genetically amplified area marine against the world. You felt an affinity via your comrades, and also looked out for them even if they couldn’t actually be downed or killed. As Master Chief, you feel bound to protect UNSC marines you fight alongside during Cartographer, but the camaraderie of being component of a certain team simply wasn’t tbelow. The troops you fight alongside as Master Chief are mostly unidentifiable and also, without your Spartan abilities and upgrades, have the right to be quickly killed. They’re your charges, quite than your comrades.

Solace’s beach battles are bigger in range as well. With the Covenant’s invasion of Reach in full swing, Noble Team comes up with a plan — Operation: UPPER CUT — to ruin the titular Long Night of Solace supercarrier. To damage it utilizing a makeshift Sliproom bomb, Noble Team demands to reacquire control of the Sabre Program facility, launch into room to intercept a Covenant Corvette to plant the bomb, and detonate it as the Corvette refuels the ship.

Attempting to take back the Sabre Program facility leads to a swift Commitment response. Drop pods continually supply Elites to the battlefield, Jackal snipers line the shore’s cliff edges, and also plasma grenade-equipped kamikaze Grunts all attempt to halt your development. The battle becomes a genuine obstacle on Heroic and also Legendary obstacles as you take cover, strafe, and also usage your armor capacity to continue to be alive.

Nowbelow is the scale of Solace’s coast dispute more evident, however, than with regards to its infinitely spawning adversaries. After effectively fighting your method to the Sabre launch facility’s entrance, Agreement Spirit dropships will continually deploy troops onto the beach. It isn’t compulsory to engage them, but doing so offers an optional hard difficulty especially on Heroic or Legendary. This isn’t the just project mission wright here you face unlimited adversaries — the game’s Lone Wolf level does this also — yet it’s the only one wbelow you can receive the Unfrigginbelievable medal for killing 40 enemies without dying. You can’t boast around this success to your friends on Cartographer, however you can on Solace.

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Seashore Sights and Sounds

There’s so much more background task in Solace’s beach section than Cartographer’s too. Seraphs and Phantoms bombard the Sabre facility. Airborne vehicles crash into the building and onto the seafront. Sabre base turrets light up the skies through endmuch less rounds of ammunition to host off the enemy assault. And, once inside the facility, you head into orbit to partake in the only playable ship-to-ship area combat fight in the series. The game’s lighting and graphics make eexceptionally peripheral event look and also feel more punchy, and adds a tumultuous background layer to your individual skirmishes.

Cartographer’s opening area comes through Halo’s legendary orchestral score attached, so it seems silly to attempt and compare Solace’s music to the former’s iconic setup. Master Chief isn’t the hero of this story though. Halo’s renowned score is linked through Master Chief’s story, so Solace forced somepoint distinct. As it happens, iconic Halo composers Martin O’Donnell and also Michael Salvatori went back to score Halo: Reach and also provide us the edgy music that Solace’s beach attack required. Pulsating guitar riffs and also deafening drums include to the intensity of the firefight, and store you focused on your goals despite the hectic scenes playing out about you. The romaking use of soundtrack pumps you up and juxtaposes the emotional story blows that are to come later in the level.

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It’s the Hope That Kills You

Halo: Reach is a distinct entry in the series. Halo: The Fall of Reach, the Halo: Combat Evolved prequel novel, told us in advance that tright here would be no happy finishing to the game — it ends via the world falling to the Agreement. Solace proves to be the turning suggest in the game’s plot, as Jorge-052, one of the Noble Team Spartans, sacrifices himself at the mission’s finish and also sets up Noble Team’s inevitably uneffective attempt to stop the Covenant from glassing Reach.

However, the level’s opening beach area still uses hope that Reach deserve to be conserved. Noble Team’s arrangement seems solid — destroying the Agreement supercarrier, might rotate the tide of the war. It would provide the UNSC and Reach’s citizens hope and also inspire confidence to press on and defeat the invading pressures. We know that Reach won’t endure, though, and it makes Noble Team’s increasing desperation to speak the Agreement emotionally gripping in a method that Cartographer isn’t.

Cartographer is only the fourth mission in the entire series, which implies that we don’t yet have actually an emotional connection to Master Chief, Cortana, and also the remainder of the actors. Conversely, we’re already invested in Noble Team by the moment that Solace rolls approximately due to its place as the 6th campaign mission in Reach. It makes storming the beach a much more individual, emotionally invested fight than Cartographer’s opening location. We strive to store Noble Team, and the remainder of Reach’s inhabitants, alive even though we recognize it’s a futile endeavour.

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Remember Reach

Long Night of Solace’s beach percentage isn’t actually that lengthy. It’s a little component of a much longer project level and also, in the scheme of Halo: Reach’s plot, it’s a drop in the sea. But compared to The Silent Cartographer’s lengthy seaside mission, there’s more depth to Solace than you can think. 

The perfected combat device, compelling score, graphical fidelity, and emotional resonance integrate to make its beach section as dynamic, powerful, and also stirring as possible. It marks an important shift in the game’s arc from hope to despair, and also leads into the emotionally charged ending that additionally ended Bungie’s involvement in the franchise.

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It might not be an hour-long journey, administer a shocking twist, or be on many kind of gamers’ lists as a brilliant beach level. Long Night of Solace, though, acts as a platdevelop for the original Halo trilogy’s plot. Without the beach assault, we wouldn’t have actually the supercarrier’s damage and subsequent arrival of a larger Agreement fleet to damage Reach, Noble Team escorting Cortana to the Obelisk of Autumn to team up through Master Chief, and — ironically — The Silent Cartographer mission itself.