A Look At Halo: Reach's Armor Abilities

by Dan Ryckert on Jul 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM

While Halo 3 introduced new equipment to the multiplayer fray, it was never immediately clear what their functions were. Many gamers simply picked them up and deployed them without realizing their effect. September's Halo Reach discards this system in favor of an always-present armor ability. Seven are available in total, and they can be switched out between deaths thanks to the new loadout selection option. Each suits a different playstyle, and players may find themselves switching between them based on what game mode they’re playing. Take a look at the options below and decide what’s right for you.


With this ability equipped, you’ll be able to sprint across the battlefield in a manner similar to titles like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Useful for modes like Capture the Flag or Headhunter that require the gamer to reach a goal quickly before being taken out.

Armor Lock

Gamers partial to this ability should be prepared to receive a generous helping of insults thrown their way by opponents. If you see an enemy rocket heading your way, just hold the LB button to activate temporary invulnerability. No matter how dead-on your enemy’s aim is, you won’t take even the slightest hint of damage while it’s active. Just in case someone attempts to melee you the second it becomes inactive, the ability sets off a close-proximity EMP that will severely damage your would-be attacker. Extremely useful as a sort of “instant cover,” allowing your shields time to recharge without danger of being killed.


Toss a grenade an Elite’s way in Reach’s campaign and you may see them perform a lunging evasive dive. This ability isn’t restricted to the A.I.; you’ll have full access to it as an armor ability. Featuring different animations for Spartans and Elites, the evade is great for quickly escaping the blast radius of a grenade or rocket blast. This particular ability should be invaluable during rounds of the multiplayer Rocketfight mode.

Gamers who participated in the Halo: Reach beta are certainly be familiar with this ability. Helpful in maps with several stories, the jetpack allows you to take to the skies long enough to deliver an objective or get the drop on an unsuspecting enemy. For a ridiculous multiplayer experience, try turning on unlimited jetpacks in a mode that features infinite sniper ammo or rockets.

Active Camo

With a press of the left bumper, you become practically transparent. Observant players will still be able to spot you, but not nearly as easily as they would without it. Give it a chance to cool down after using it, and you’ll sink right back into the shadows.

Drop Shield

Halo 3 introduced the bubble shield. In Reach, players will have access to a similar-looking ability that serves a different function. Like the bubble shield, the drop shield forms a barrier around you. Any friendly character that enters its perimeter will be healed quickly, including the player that dropped it in the first place. However, while the bubble shield was invincible, the drop shield is not. Enemies can destroy it if they concentrate enough firepower on it.


When you activate the hologram, it sends a copy of you running straight in the direction you’re currently looking. If your enemies watching closely, they’ll become suspicious of the clone’s beeline movement, but most gamers pull the trigger on sight. Fans of the series’ multiplayer know the frustration of getting stuck with plasma grenades or killed by a melee blow to the back of the head, but wasting several sniper rounds on a Spartan that doesn’t really exist may be the new king of aggravating moments.