Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chronological Halo, 2/52: ONI, Sword Base

Previously on Chronological Halo: Responding to the sudden blackout at the Visegrad Relay, Noble Team discovered that the Covenant were on Reach. Not good!

Mission Title: Oni: Sword Base (Halo: Reach)
P.O.V. Character: Noble Six
Stage Number: 2/52
Two days after the events of the previous mission, Noble Team is called to Sword Base, an important research station for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). It's being attacked by a Covenant corvette, and since the research being done at Sword Base is so crucial, orbital rounds have been taken off the Can Use list; we'll have to deal with the ground troops now and worry about the corvette later.

Sword Base, an important ONI facility on Reach
Noble Team is dropped off in the courtyard near the front of Sword Base and fights down to the front gate. Just inside the gate we find a Target Locator, which allows us to mark a location for an artillery strike. Two Wraith tanks outside Sword Base make for perfect targets to test it out.

Once the Wraiths are gone, a Pelican drops off a Warthog for our use. Kat jumps in and tells us there are two devices that need to be reactivated outside Sword Base: the comms array at Farragut Station and an anti-air gun at Airview Station. We can go after these two objectives in any order, but the Covenant are swarming all over both of them.

After both the Comms Array and the AA Gun are reactivated we're called back to Sword Base, where things have not been going well. The Covenant have broken through the main gate and have made it into the base itself. A pair of Hunters are causing trouble on the parking level, and after dealing with them we take an elevator up to the security level where we rendezvous with Jorge and Jun, who are managing a marine fireteam.

Noble fights to the top of Sword Base to meet up with Emile, where a massive hole has been blasted in the roof, and with our help clears the skies in the vicinity of the base. That allows a team of Longsword fighters to fly out to the Corvette, mark it for a precision orbital strike, and blast it out of the sky.
After Sword Base is secure, Noble Team is called to debrief with Dr. Catherine Halsey, creator of the Spartan-II program. She doesn't care about our current mission at all; instead, she wants to know what happened at Visegrad, where one of her researchers had made what he called a 'latchkey discovery.' Carter reports that the researcher was killed by a team of Elites, and Halsey says that she has found that Elites are often dispatched to recover artifacts of great religious importance to the Covenant. She hopes that the data module Kat 'stole' has clues as to what the artifact they were looking for might have been, and threatens to have her thrown in the brig; Halsey was remotely notified of the intrusion when Kat tried to access the module.

Dr. Halsey, creator of the Spartan-II program

Carter objects, saying that under Winter Contingency his team of Spartans has the authority to do whatever it feels necessary to complete the mission and safeguard the planet. Halsey isn't happy about that, but as Noble Team leaves she is already deep in thought, studying the data module we turned over.

We spend most of the level in the company of Kat, Noble Two, but the lack of subtitles combined with her unfamiliar accent (I can't pin it down, and the Internets have been unhelpful) makes it hard to hear what she's saying a lot of the time. Once again, Jorge is the character development star of this mission, even though he only shows up at the end and has just one brief scene with Halsey. As has been characteristic of Halo: Reach so far, it's assumed that we know more about these characters than shows up in the game itself. Halsey and Jorge's greeting and apparent fondness for each other could be a little puzzling without extra info. So here it is!

The damage to Sword Base is severe, but the facility remains standing
Halsey is the creator of the Spartan-II program, which used genetics and high technology to create super-soldiers. Children who displayed certain traits were taken from their homes and raised under extremely difficult conditions. Jorge is one, which explains why when he's called before Halsey he goes without question, saying 'I've been hers half my life' and deferentially calls her 'Ma'am.' It's a ways off in Chronological Halo, but we're eventually going to meet another of her Spartan-IIs, a guy called John-117. But more (a lot more) about him later.

The rest of Noble Team, aside from Jorge, are composed of Spartan-IIIs, which were the next wave of super soldiers to be created. These guys (and girls) were intended to be made cheaper and more readily, without all of the genetic selection and technology that made Spartan-IIs so expensive and therefore so few.

This mission packs in a lot of fun toys: a Target Locator for calling in artillery strikes, the ability to choose the order in which you tackle two of the objectives, more Warthog-driving, a battle with Hunters, and a chance to shoot down Banshees with a rocket launcher. It has a little something for everyone, and sets up some important story threads for later. A great level.
Five Spartan helmets out of Five

No comments:

Post a Comment