Halo: Reach Reviews

  • A Defiant SithA Defiant Sith252,213
    02 Oct 2010
    92 25 18
    "Halo: Reach: Bungie's last hurahh with Halo is the best yet."
    First off, there may be some spoilers. Now you all should know by now that Halo: Reach is Bungies last Halo game before handing it over to 343 Industries.


    Graphics - 10/10
    One thing that cannot be faulted. Halo 3 was good looking, but not a stunner. But Halo: Reach blows it away. There is so much more detail in this game, and has avoided the trap of making things look shiny. A problem with many current-gen games it the visuals look either coated in vaseline or different shades of brown, but Reach has avoided that, and looks genuinely brilliant.
    Another point is the sheer scale of the game. For example, during the tenth mission, your on a detailed map, with detailed enemies, dropships flying about everywhere, and you can see several scarabs fighting in the background. You never forget that the entire planet is in this fight.

    Gameplay - 9/10
    Single Player - 9/10
    You are Noble 6, the unnamed, newest addition to Noble Team, a squad of SPARTAN IIIs. When I say 'You are Noble 6', the emphasis really is on 'You'. You don't play as a pre-defined character like Master Chief, or ODST's Rookie. Your multiplayer look is your single player look. If you decide you want a pink Spartan with a flower as your emblem, its your fault if you think it looks silly in the campaign. The Campaign is eleven missions long (although the first is a cutscene, and the last more of an add on after the credits), and the length is just right. The Campaign doesn't leave you wanting, and it doesn't feel too long, even though some missions may do. There is some good old Halo action here, dedicated vehicle sections, large scale firefights, and of course, a sniper level. The story is well told through brilliant cutscenes, and the story is grade A stuff, if a little predictable here and there.
    New to the Halo series are the Armour Abilities. Similar to the Equipment from Halo 3, they are chosen before you spawn, and are a brilliant way to add variety. Each ability is well balanced with each other, such as the Active Camo, which renders you nearly invisible for between 15-40 seconds, but you become more visible the faster you move, and your and nearby opponent's radars are scrambled while its being used. You also have abilities like Drop Shield, which is pretty much Halo 3's Bubble shield, with a regenerating effect inside. But the two I feel I should mention above all others are Sprint and Jet Pack. The Jet Pack is one of the coolest additions in there. It helps get across the battlefield, reach areas you wouldn't be able to otherwise, and come on, its a Jet Pack! Sprint, on the other hand is less glamourous, but more functional, giving you a much needed burst of speed.

    Multiplayer - 10/10
    Now this is the meat of the game. Halo defined online multiplayer, and Bungie has refined the formula further with Reach. All the previous game types are in, along with some new additions. Headhunter and Stockpile are fun new game types which add some variety. But the main new game type is Invasion. Spartans vs Elites, it is a three stage game, similar to Battlefield Bad Company 2's Conquest. Also gone are Halo 3's TrueSkill ranks, replaced with a credit system which doesn't go down with a loss. The credits you earn can be used to customise your Spartan, new helmets, chest pieces, shoulder pads, even down to the colour of your visor. For those who loved Halo 3's MLG playlists, fear not! Bungie has included the Arena. Play several games in a day, and you get ranked. Get ranked on enough days and you are placed in a division. The Arena is a very competetive place to be, with SWAT and DMR (spiritual successor to Halo 3's Battle Rifle) Slayer being common game types played.
    Remember ODST? For something other than Reach's beta? How about Firefight? Yes this mode is back, and better than before. With the customisation options available, you can really have some fun with Firefight. But the big change is the inclusion of matchmaking for it. The biggest problem with ODST's Firefight was that unless your friends were playing, you had to play it alone, no matchmaking. But Bungie has seen fit to sort that out.

    Sound - 9/10
    One thing Halo has been known for it its music. Play Halo even briefly, and you will know the theme. Reach continues this with some truly awesome music, epic orchestral pieces perfectly complementing the action on screen. Not quite the memorable music from previous Halo's, but impressive nontheless. The sound effects are also something to note, each gun sounds louder, heavier and more dangerous. Even the magnum sounds like it does some damage, but unmistakably Halo. The voice work for the campaign is very well done, no real weak spots in the casting. You can customise your Spartan's voice for Firefight games.

    Longevity - 10/10
    With the campaign's appeal, and the wealth of options in Firefight, even single player has some longevity. But because of the multiplayer, and Bungie promising updates (including new, community made maps), you could be playing Reach until the cows come home. Consider this, Halo 3 still had a fairly healthy online community up till Reach's release. Reach will be no different.
    And then there is Forge! The ultimate way to add longevity, let people create new maps! Much improved on Halo 3's functional, if occasionaly nightmarish Forge, Reach's features much simplified controls, and more options to let you create what you want. To help you even more, Bungie have included Forge World. A map which in lamest terms is a blank slate to create your maps. To show off what can be done, there are five Forge World maps included already, two of which are recreations from past Halo maps (Halo: Combat Evolved's Blood Gultch, and Halo 2's Ascention).

    Overall - 10/10
    Quite frankly, this is the ultimate Halo. Everything that made Halo great is here, and more. My only criticism is the lack of playlists and maps. But Bungie has promised an update, which should include new playlists, and community made maps. So already my criticism is moot. Otherwise, I would struggle to find any more problems. And there is no higher praise than that. If you are a hardcore Halo fan, a Call of Duty convert, or someone who doesn't do first person shooters normally, Halo: Reach is the game for you.
    5.0
  • Skycaptin5Skycaptin5679,974
    21 Dec 2010 29 Oct 2011
    34 7 0
    A Fantastic Final Halo Game from Bungie

    The Campaign
    -Follow the story of Noble team in a quicker more dramatic Halo environment. You immediately step into the shoes of a “new guy”. Right at the start you see just how large the new campaign levels are. They have created massive worlds compared to any of the Halo 3 levels. Campaign has a great new team based feel which makes the game have a more tactical gameplay. Enemies react better, but elites are just annoying. The cinematics are a lot more quicker and have an intensity that most games don't have. The mood is set well and the weather is just simply beautiful. It was great to try some different civilian vehicles that in past games have stood by their lonesome. This is an awesome campaign which everyone should enjoy especially if you can do it in a group of four.

    Gameplay
    -Bungie has chosen to use a different engine on this one and it shows for the better. The large groups of enemies are nice and the character graphics look beautiful and everyone in the environment runs perfect. The selected add ons work well, nothing better than Jet packing to a higher height. Although the found some maps didn't really support much height and was always getting Return to the Battlefield. All the explosions feel better than before the for the most part character reactions are great and the graphics feel much improved although everything just seems slightly more bulky.

    Firefight
    -Like all everything else Firefight has seen a major rebuild with everything being customizable. You can pick how many rounds you want and there are tons of different Firefight options, from classic to Gruntapocalypse and Rocket Firefight. The enemies come in waves as traditional but now there is a new versus mode where people can control Elites and annoy the spartans while they are trying to survive.

    The Multiplayer
    -Everything for online has pretty much been totally revamped. A new skill system called arena where you are ranked after playing so many games and get a rank in the season. Other games are social or still non ranked. You are finally ranked on individual effort and at the beginning of each game is a voting system to determine map and playlist. All the fun of past online Halo in a more focused system from new game modes to old tweaks

    Forge
    -Everyone in Halo 3 loved to Forge, we all did it. The community pushed the limits, made and manipulated everything we could for floating items, explosions and more. In Reach it makes everything way easier to do. You can fit objects through the ground, set exact respawn times and even build on grids. The building system is better as the limit of money you have has now changed so you can have as many items as you want to the money’s limit. So like a ton of Warthogs! I found though the only real suitable Forge map was Forge World. I was expecting them to also have just more of a flat landed world to just build.

    The Conclusion
    -Halo Reach is fantastic and a great last game from Bungie. This is defiantly a great end to the Halo legacy and should be enjoyed by all. Live the always epic story or battle online for endless hours. Even more to the experience pretty much everything you can do in coop, Forge is an ultimate tool for customizing now and Firefight can have tons of different modes and features to fight in.

    Written by me on Gamerheadquarters.com
    5.0
  • ChentyChenty108,544
    17 Oct 2010 17 Oct 2010
    29 6 0
    "From the beginning, you know the end"

    Story: 9/10
    Bungie have really put the effort into this one. They have completely ignored the established story found in the novel, "The Fall of Reach", but as much as I enjoyed reading that book I'm so glad they did. Halo: Reach has all the twists and turns that haven't been seen since the first instalment. They immerse you well, from the first mission, and keep you there throughout. Even though this is a prequel and you know how it all turns out, you are kept on the edge of your seat, not knowing how you will eventually arrive at the beginning of the story of Halo: CE. Now as far as the characters go, Bungie has done well with what they have to work with. Military characters will often seem clichéd, and Reach is no exception. However real life soldiers do have similar character traits as each other; it's a side-effect from their training. I do like all the characters though, none of them are annoying; which cannot be said for Halo 3: ODST and many other FPS games out there. The introduction of the Covenant side of the story in Halo 2 worked; for that game. Bungie were right to limit this title to the human point of view. The aliens felt very alien in Halo: CE, they do again now in its prequel; right down to not being able to understand their war-crys.

    Gameplay: 10/10
    Flawless. Reach has a completely new engine, but it still feels quintessentially Halo. Something Bioware didn't quite pull off with Mass Effect 2. Despite the small changes since Halo 3, the controls seem intuitive and the mechanics as immersive as a Call of Duty title. The arsenal from previous Halo titles has been revamped, with the mainstay Battle Rifle seeing its retirement in place for its predecessor, the DMR. On the alien side, there are many new weapons to play with and at no time do I feel I miss the Carbine or Beam Rifle from the previous titles. All the weapons feel much meatier now. For example the Assault Rifle from H3 felt like a sub machine gun; now it feels like it packs of a punch, despite the damage dealt actually being slightly less.The new Armor Abilities are probably my favourite addition to the gameplay. Things like Jetpack and Hologram add a whole new dimension to the game, but they don't feel like something really radical when you switch from H3 to reach. Having said that, I think I would really miss them if I went back. Forge and Firefight are back again with many enhanced features and much more to play with. Theater mode has also made a return and looks exactly the same, but if it ain't broke; don't fix it.

    The enemy: Elites are back! The fearsome warrior race are now your arch enemies again and damn are they challenge compared to brutes. The AI in Halo games has always been something Bungie should be proud. Yes if you play the game enough you know when an enemy is going to come round a corner, but in most cases you can still believe that you fighting an intelligent opponent. Each race of enemy in Reach has its own role and none of them seem redundant. The Jackals will try to snipe you, flank you and generally try to distract you from their bigger allies, whilst the grunts will pour in grenades if you don't carry out pest control. Hunters are as challenging as always and drones as annoying. The new Skirmisher is probably the most challenging enemy en masse. The only guys who don't really seem necessary anymore are the Brutes. Yeah they have Hammers and throw grenades a bit more than Elites, but the latter have Energy swords, dodge a lot more and have regenerating shields. I can see why there were no Brutes in Halo: CE. This, amongst other factors, means Reach on Legendary is a much bigger challenge than H3. I think they've got the difficulty right at last; not so easy that you can just walk through it, but not so hard that it becomes a chore *cough* CoD4 *cough*. Also difficulty increases proportionally when you are playing Co-op; a first for a Halo title and a feature that is definitely a necessity when up to 4 people can fight alongside one another.

    Visuals: 9.5/10
    Reach is a good-looking game. Not a big step up from H3, but the console technology is now becoming the limiting factor with graphics these days. The scenery is much grittier than previous titles, which emphasises the fact that Reach is a dying planet; not an alien paradise. The game suffers no frame-rate problems or any visual glitches, which I understand have been a large issue with the recent Medal of Honor release. My only issue was the brightness at the on one of the missions (too dark, even with nightvision). I'm not going to tell you which one, but I'm sure you'll notice it when you play.

    Audio: 9.5/10
    Over the past 10 years, Marty O'Donnell has risen to stand as one of the greatest videogame music composers. Reach has a brand new score that does say Halo and fits the gameplay of the story perfectly. However when compared to his previous efforts, I was a tiny bit disappointed. There are some great tracks in the OST ,and I urge you to go get yourself a copy, but this is the last Halo game to be made by Bungie and it lacks a little of the epicness of previous scores. In my opinion Halo music peaked with ODST, but I digress. The sound effects in Reach are perfect. The guns now sound like guns; the vehicles sound more powerful and the voice acting is top-notch (which couldn't be said in ODST with Buck's "GET SET" line). All of this contributes to the high level of player immersion you get with a Halo game and Reach does this the best.

    Multiplayer: 10/10
    Pretty much everything from H3 has been brought forward and much more has been added. There are new gametypes, new maps (maybe not enough), a new ranking system, and a new player customisation tool, which is much more detailed than H3's. Campaign and Firefight can now be done co-operatively online and the active roster is a much more streamilned way of connected you with friends. There is also a new challenge and commendation system that keeps you playing the gametypes, that maybe you wouldn't usually partake in. All in all its much more addictive than H3 and with new DLC on its way, Bungie are keeping their promise of supporting their Halo community for the years to come. There are a couple of flaws (like the betrayal system) that do need fixing, but I'm sure Bunigie will get on it as soon as they can.

    Achievements: 8/10
    A little bit easy to 1000G this game. There are some harder ones, but I've played the game pretty casually and managed to get all but the Lt. Colonel achievement in less than a month. This doesn't take too much away from the game as a regular player, but as this is an achievement website, I thought it relevant.

    Overall: 9.5/10
    As close to perfect an end to one of the greatest franchises as one can hope for. Thank you Bungie.
    5.0
  • Sonic SleuthSonic Sleuth269,109
    18 Apr 2011
    22 1 0
    The Halo series has received many accolades in the past decade... phenomenon, game-changer, and most importantly for the mothership - system seller. With Halo 3, Microsoft and Bungie created a high water mark for storytelling, fast action, and online play. Then came Halo Wars and Halo: ODST, and the magic was... well, not gone, but dwindling. Few gamers truly liked those two games, much less loved them, so hotshot developer Bungie took notice. To get the fans back, they had to go back to the beginning.... to Reach.

    I've never been a big fan of this series, having never beaten the first three installments, and I only grudgingly fought through ODST with a friend, so when I witnessed the obsession with Halo: Reach at E3 this year, it didn't resonate. Yeah, Noble Team has fancy colored uniforms and menacing poses, but that in itself doesn't a great game make. I walked away thinking of Kinect, Fable III, Homefront... but not Reach. Boy, was I wrong. Halo: Reach is the perfect Halo installment, combining pitch-perfect minute to minute action sequences, high drama, and the best multiplayer experience anywhere, bar none. There is no reason I can imagine not to play Reach, except it's obligatory M-rating... which isn't earned by its content. Violent, yes, but not on the level of Black Ops' torture or ultraviolence and sexuality in Grand Theft Auto. It bums me out that some younger gamers will be denied a game of this quality due to the stupid ratings board.

    Reach tells the story of Noble team at the outset of the Covenant invasion on the faraway planet known as Reach. The game begins a little uneven, with concerned farmers mumbling about something creepy, and Noble team searching for another lost squad. This mystery-oriented plot might remind some of the time-shifting main storyline in ODST (groan), but Reach quickly gets on track with the sci-fi action fans of the series expect. Those who love Call of Duty and other station to station first-person action games will enjoy Reach's tense shootouts and checkpoint-hunting, and role-playing fans will grin every time one of the game's many challenges pops up, happy to level up their character.

    Reach takes the most proactive approach to leveling up, allowing gamers to gain XP online, in single player, and in onslaught-style horde mode killfests. However you want to concentrate your gaming, Halo will reward you for it. What's more, every game is recorded and can be saved, replayed, and shared with friends via Reach's robust file share. It is an amazing all-around gaming experience, encompassing every game mode, a grand design experiment that will impress even the most jaded gamer.

    The control scheme in Reach may be flawed if you're accustomed to past games, retasking the melee button and using the classically flawed Halo driving controls, but once mastered, you'll be blasting Elites and slicing open Noble Teamers like an interstellar samurai. With the addition of various power-up abilities, gamers can utilize speed boosts, jet packs, holograms, and other tricks. While these can be selected in most of the multiplayer modes, the single player campaign limits their availability to specific levels and chosen environments. They're a curious addition to the Halo cannon, since technology has apparently declined in the games following the Reach campaign... but who cares? As Suicide says, it's never a dull game where you have a jet pack!

    So, what's the downside of Halo: Reach? Beautifully drawn landscapes, cool characters, engrossing vehicle battles (including lengthy checkpoints where you pilot Saber spacecraft and drive a Scorpion tank), intelligent enemies, fantastic sound effects and a film-worthy score... something must be amiss. To put it simply, the flaw of Reach is the length and difficulty of its single player campaign. Like many current first person 360 titles, the campaign can be finished in around six hours, especially on the very easy "Normal" difficulty level. Crank it up to legendary difficulty, and it's a different story altogether... the game becomes very, very hard. Some will argue this is a design decision to facilitate co-op play - except that Bungie offers A Monument to All Your Sins, a 150 Gamerscore achievement given for beating the game on Legendary... alone. Ouch. Bad form from a company that has pioneered and championed great co-op play. Many will give up on some of the tougher Legendary missions, and after trying that difficulty setting, the lower difficulties feel like a little like a children's game. This was the single element of Reach that failed in my eyes... well, that and the flukey If They Came to Hear Me Beg achievement, that may or may not pop till you've completed the required assassination an absurd number of times.

    There's too much content in multiplayer to share here, without leaving out some amazing game mode or cool feature. Reach features lots of variety in game modes, a voting system to choose the next game type, and consistently full lobbies with intelligently matched opponents. While you may be frustrated with the chosen game type, you're in the minority - that's Xbox Live democracy at work! Bungie's brilliant addition of daily and weekly challenges make leveling up a fun (if time consuming) diversion, and adds to the replayability of the single player campaign. I played through till I was a Captain... you probably will too. Finishing the challenges one after another can become an addiction, but a fun one.

    As if all that wasn't enough, Bungie's downloadable Halo Waypoint features support for all the titles, the Bungie website has a wealth of in-depth player information, and players are awarded with insignias for completing previous editions of Halo. On top of that, points earned in all game modes can be used to purchase new armor and customize your character, so each player can have a unique appearance. This is the perfect marriage of all features in a great first-person shooter. I enjoyed Halo: Reach so much, I went back and beat Halo 3 in Legendary mode after maxing out my 1000 GS in Reach. By the time I was finished, I had played a hundred hours in the various game modes, never questioning my devotion. If you own an Xbox 360, and haven't yet, you should buy this game today.

    Check out our other reviews at www.gamedebateclub.com!
    5.0
  • ZymoticZymotic570,846
    23 May 2011 13 Mar 2014
    22 3 0
    The perfect way for Bungie to say farewell to Halo.

    First of all, I'm a huge fan of the series. Halo in my opinion has been one of the best gaming franchises of all time. Just like most long established series, it has had it's ups and downs.

    However with that being said let me say what I did like about this game. I really liked the story behind Reach. If you are a fan of the series and even half way know the story, you know that this battle was not humanities most shining moment in the battle with the Covenant. So to those people who didn't like the ending, I don't quite understand what you were expecting. The graphics were improved over previous entries in the series and better than some of the games that have been released lately. The multi-player was definitely up to par with the usual Halo standards, and most of the improvements worked fairly well. I can't say much about the improvements to the forge editor because I didn't mess with it in Halo 3. A nice little addition Bungie put in was the fact that you can see all the armory upgrades to your character in the campaign, something not even the vaunted COD series does.

    One thing I did not like was how underpowered the weapons were for the player. I beat the game on Legendary my first play through and I had to use a full 30 round mag from the assault rifle to kill a grunt. The elites took on average five to six head-shots with the sniper rifle and mounted/vehicle weapons were equally ridiculous. It took 3 plasma rounds from the wraith to kill one elite.

    Another problem I have is with the maps - there just doesn't seem to be the usual Halo variety, but they are probably planning on new map packs for you to spend your money on.
    The last thing that just seems tired and worn out is firefight, a mode I only played once just to get the achievements and I spammed the heck out of it. It seems to me the developers should have focused more on multi-player maps, and got rid of firefight.

    1-10 (1 being worst and 10 the best)

    Fun Factor- 10

    Graphics - 8 (Halo 3 looked more like Halo 2 and Halo: 0dst was nothing more than an expansion. It's about time Bungie made a game that looked "next-gen")

    Longevity/Replay Value - 10 (Campaign takes about 10-16 hours depending on what difficulty you play on. Multi-player is the legs on this game.)

    Audio - 9 (Truly one of the best sound tracks on the 360. The voice acting is excellent, though there are other games that do it better.)

    Online Play - 9 (There are only 13 maps total, 2 of which are redone from previous games and 5 that are made from forge world. The amount of gametypes and variations on each gametype is what makes this the outstanding multi-player game what it is. Also expect a map pack every 3-6 months.)
    5.0
  • SpazCoolSpazCool70,161
    01 Aug 2011
    17 0 1
    It is my humble opinion that this is, in fact, the best “Halo” game to date; let the flaming begin, I know. Everything that I have come to love from the “Halo” franchise made an appearance and a few of those things that I didn’t like so much have either left or been modified (e.g. super-jumps, using a whole clip to kill someone, etc.).

    Sex Appeal

    The graphics got a nice boost compared to “Halo 3” as well as a different styling that makes “Reach” stand out, not that 3’s graphics were bad by any means. Everything, from the medals to the commendations to the characters themselves has that brushed metal look, like my favorite cast iron skillet. All of their gear, their suits, their vehicles, it all looks like it’s been taken care of but, walked through Hell and back at the same time. While I’m sure this was done in part for style I felt that the look gave the impression of desperation as well. Yes, Noble Team is a badass group of super-soldiers but, if you look at their gear you’ll notice that they’ve been busy and there is only so much one team can do at any one time, especially against an entire Covenant armada. However, “Reach” continues to perpetuate “Halo’s” cartoonish graphics which does detract one’s attention, a bit, from the rather dark plot line one finds oneself in.

    Touchy Feely

    If you’ve played “CE” then you should feel at home in “Reach.” Yes, there are differences but, that’s to be expected nearly 10 years after the original, sorry fanboys still looking for “Halo: CE 1.5.” Gameplay is superb, every button has a function and, since “Reach” is only on the 360 none of those functions seem like they’ve been awkwardly shoe-horned into the 360’s controller (i.e. I’m looking at you “Crysis 2”).

    Compared to its predecessor, “Halo 3,” the reduced the number of rounds required to take down an opponent allows the weapons to feel like they’re doing what they’ve been designed to do, kill. Adding to this much needed mortality boost are the “armor abilities.” Rather than entirely relying on weapon spawns one now has the ability to choose the initial weapon and armor ability within some limitations. Armor lock, bubble shield, jetpack, sprint and invisibility all make their appearance.
    Now, I must admit, that the [over]use of these abilities can get annoying during multiplayer, especially so during objective styled matches but, they do appear to be mostly balanced out in time use and strength. I do wish that their appearance in the campaign was a little more thought out, perhaps having levels that are ability specific, as Bungie did for the jetpack in one of the New Alexandria levels.

    The weapons are beautiful, the sniper being the crowned jewel, in my opinion. The details on them, the sound of their report and their combat effectiveness make me wish I had never played “Halo 3.” The scoped pistol returns somewhere between the look and effectiveness of “CE” and ‘2, perhaps a whisker closer to the original. I will say that I find myself searching for the SMG, though. While the assault rifle fills that roll quite nicely I still do miss the ol’ bullet hose once and a while.

    The What, the Where & the When


    Let me tell you right now that the story is missing that surprise-turn feel that “Halo: CE ‘2 and “ODST” have provided in the past. Understandably, this is the prelude to all of those stories and as such surprises don’t come easy. With that said, the cut scenes and the story itself are compelling. You won’t find ten minute long cutscenes, in the vein of the “MGS” series nor will you find the near useless cutscenes from the “Bad Company” series filled with zero emotion but, a lot of swearing. No, “Reach’s” team has created videos that are both succinct and compelling allowing for repeated viewing while one is going after that next weekly LASO challence. Bungie also did a very good job blending the first-person perspective with the third in the cut scenes (e.g. the Zealot Elites on Winter Contingency, as well as assassinations made in multiplayer). The videos made me want to see what was coming next.

    The styling of the gameplay itself had me making swooshing noises and tilting in my chair when flying around New Alexandria in one of the Falcons. Its not just smooth controls that make the game feel so good, it’s the combination of many subtleties that, it seems, is lost upon many game companies today but, not Bungie. The dark and brooding atmosphere of an entire planet under attack, smooth third-person camera controls and the beautiful styling of the weapons and HUD make this game so very immersive. Plus, when one can take a break from killing all of the baddies and take a moment to just stare in awe at the spectacle of New Alexandria under siege one knows that Bungie knows their shit.

    The characters themselves are a plus, adding another layer to the story that Master Chief could never do. Having the characters take their helmets off—aside from Six and Emile (i.e. the “anyone” and the black man…a bit of token racism, perhaps)—gives a face to them allowing the audience to see their humanity, however cold and calculating that humanity may be. Noble Team does remind me a bit of Pokémon with all of the characters each bringing to the table their own unique talents that will help the whole group do what they need to do. Such a tactic is often used in team-based games, as well as movies so as to make the recognition of the characters easier and it fits in nicely here. Unfortunately, the characters are fairly one-dimensional but, I suppose genetically pruned super-soldiers would be fairly detached in their dealings with warfare; we can’t have any Spartans crying, now can we? I won’t blame the voice-actors just the act.

    Extra-curricular

    Forge makes its return and, I’ve actually made a few maps so, I can bitch with impunity now. I love the ability to make maps and tweak them to combat effectiveness. The fact that Bungie takes some community made maps and incorporates them into matchmaking is another plus. I do, however, kinda wish there was a separate matchmaking list that hadn’t passed Bungie’s pruning and was just a collection of maps, totally random, filled with crap and gold, perhaps with a voting system at the end of the match that would determine the continued life of the map on matchmaking (i.e. too many votes down and the map gets removed). I wish for this because despite laboring weeks on a few of my maps they just sit on my hard drive, a testament to my boredom. Sure I’ve played them a couple of times with a few of my friends but, they don’t earn one the credits that regular matchmaking does nor do these maps, as big as they are, play very well when its only 1 versus 1.

    Additionally, if you’ll grant me a momentary pedestal, having tried to get my maps noticed through various forums and groups I’ve noticed that the maps are never looked at from an aesthetic point of view. That is, the only consideration in these map making groups are spawn points and symmetry which makes for a lot of very similar maps that play identically.

    Also, that Lego block look returns along with the clinical slate-grey look of all the pieces. Because of this I find my maps, any map in fact, looking dull. Why is it that Forgers aren’t allowed different choices in style for the pieces? Even a simple 5 color scheme for the blocks would be welcome.

    The Kill-Box


    Multiplayer is great, that’s all you need to know to get this game. The voting system has received a revamp giving up to 4 different choices for the players’ votes to go as well as finally incorporating matchmaking for Firefight. Though, just like “Halo 3” there are occasional loops where one finds oneself stuck playing the same two or three maps over and over because a majority vote keeps passing. Democracy blows sometimes.
    The multiplayer gameplay is fast and frantic with no time to stand and be idle. Bored you will not be in “Reach’s” MP. Like the character and background graphics themselves the multiplayer has a lampoon-ish feel to it where the battle seems more fun than desperate; though, I do suppose, one could just pop in “CoD” or “Battlefield” if one wants realism.

    As the players have come to expect there is great variety in game type choices. I won’t bore the readers with a list but I can tell you that Team Doubles is my personal favorite given that its fairly easy to find one friend online who’s willing to communicate their way to victory.

    Following “Halo 3’s” lead, “Reach” also allows the player to change the physical features of their character for both online as well as campaign play. This allows the player to “own” their character both online and offline in much the same way as one does in “Rainbow Six Vegas 2.” To change the features, however, one must play and by play I mean devote one’s life to “Reach.” If you’re just looking for a good time with the game you’ll get it and you’ll be able to modify your character in some interesting ways but, if you really “need” your character to look exactly like Jun from the campaign you’ll be playing well over 2,000 online games to get the requisite credits or, you could waste a few more days of your life and credit farm like a bastard.

    The Sum of its Parts

    “Reach” is the superior mash up of what works in both campaign and multiplayer gaming. Graphics, plot, characters, multiplayer incentives…“Reach” has ‘em all. Like “Halo 3’s” advert campaign this game, not just its advertising, is psychologically perfected to make you, the gamer, feel right at home. The campaign has its fair share of replay value, especially with the weekly/daily challenges that dish out huge credit jackpots as well as Bungie’s great A.I. Not to mention Noble Teams story that I was compelled to complete to the bitter end the first time through. Add in the multiplayer, which is crazy, varied and fun enough to make one keep coming back for more and you have a winning combination.
    5.0
  • undertaker360undertaker36065,046
    16 Jan 2012
    15 1 1
    Nearly a decade ago, Bungie released Halo: Combat Evolved to much fanfare. The first Halo brought to Microsoft and its Xbox brand something they needed. As a new player in the game, Halo made Microsoft competitive in the market. Much of the Xbox's initial and continued success is due to the Halo series. The series has brought about a phenomenon. It has spun multiple games in the series, venture into different genres, and even books covering its deep universe. Halo Reach, Bungie's latest Halo game, is a culmination of all the hard work that has lasted nearly a decade.
    Halo Reach is a prequel to the original Halo. It follows a team of Spartans called Noble Team. Reach deviates a bit from the main Halo series, as Master Chief isn't the main protagonist. You play as Noble 6, a quiet and deadly killer. When the game kicks off, Noble team is quickly called into action. As Noble mobilizes, they quickly learn that it isn't the local rebels stirring up the trouble. It's something much worse. Halo veterans will quickly recognize the familiar foes. The Covenant – a powerful group of aliens - have landed on Reach and an epic battle begins immediately.
    Last Man Standing
    Halo Reach's game play is the culmination of Bungie's fine tuning over the last 10 years. Previous Halo games played well. Reach provided all the good things about previous incarnations and took it to another level. The pacing felt fantastic. The enemy variety was great. The amount of weapons at your disposal made the game fun throughout. As you play through the game, elements definitely feel Halo like, but it also feels much improved.
    The level design was fantastic. Fire fights were mixed up with team based action and solo action. In between, Bungie did a great job of mixing in vehicles. Now the controls for the vehicles, while much improved over the course of the series, still have some rather sluggish controls. On top of that, the computer A.I. doesn't fair better either. This minor flaw isn't too detrimental to Halo Reach however, as the controls for the rest of the game were fluid and smooth.
    One particular level stood out. The “Star Fox” like level, allowed players to control a fighter and mow down Covenant ships. This level was one of the many highlights in the game. Other nice little touches added to the overall feel of the Halo series, without infringing on all the elements that people have come to love. Players can sneak up on an Elite, and with a beautifully animated attack, the Spartan puts a dagger through the Elite. Other things including “ordinance” such as jet packs, sprints, and armour bring depth to the combat.
    The action throughout the game was nicely paced. Groups of enemies always provided intense combat. The enemy also does a fantastic job at dodging your fire, especially the Elites. The Elites do a superb job of moving out of the way, forcing you to adjust to their defensive prowess. Reach also does a great job of building up its epic battles. The involving story along with battles building up to battles that left you on the edge of your seat made this experience a memorable one.
    More importantly, Halo Reach just has it. It's hard to describe. Halo 2 was fun, but it did not have it. It's like watching sports players who can perform under pressure situation because they have that killer instinct. Halo Reach has that. From the moment I booted up the game to the bitter sweet ending of Halo Reach's masterful campaign, it had an atmosphere, an intensity, and a sense of cohesion that bonded everything together into one unforgettable adventure. Bungie in essence took all the great things about the Halo series, stripped out the bad things, and put some kick butt new things and bam Halo Reach was created.
    Plays the Halo chorus…
    Like previous Halo games, Reach's musical soundtrack doesn't fall short. Memorable tracks that provide a build up as you venture towards battle to the more melodic sounds as battle halts momentarily. The cast of voice actors within the game did a superb job emphasizing the situations. Noble 6, while mostly quiet, was supplanted by his supporting cast when it came to voice acting. This wasn't always a bad thing, as other members of Noble presented were voiced well. To top things off, the background sounds such as the Covenant screaming battle instructions to each other made things all the better.
    While Halo's graphics aren't mind blowing like some other games out these days, Halo still looks quite good. The character models were highly detailed. The explosions looked great. The in game physics sucked you into the Halo world. In game animation was also done well, as it made the experience more surreal. Cut scenes for the most part looked quite good too.
    The bread and butter of all Halo games have always been its multiplier, whether it's with friends or through Xbox Live. While I no longer have Xbox Live, playing Reach with friends is quite an enjoyable experience. Hanging back and shooting each other while we talk smack to each other will always bring good times. The multiplexer aspect of Reach, like all Halo games, is what keeps Reach's value up. It gives it value that most games just don't have. This is on top of Halo Reach's fairly long and involving campaign.
    Halo be thy name
    The original Halo made an impact on the industry. It provided us with the first amazing first person shooter of that generation much akin to Golden-eye previously. It can also be attributed that Halo had a lot to do with the first person shooter craze that we still see today. Halo Reach won't make the same impact on the industry. It doesn't do anything innovative. Halo Reach may not have the best game play mechanics when it comes to shooters, but I will argue that Halo Reach is able to blend all the shooter elements that we hold dear cohesively and provide an experience that's unrivaled this generation. Make no mistake about it; Halo Reach is all that Halo fans could have hoped for. The game flows so well that even naysayers from the past may find tremendous value in Reach's intense adventure.

    The mishmash of intensity and complexity, easily made Reach the most gratifying Halo experience yet. And that is what Halo Reach was…an experience. It wasn't merely a game where you ran around and blow things up. It was more than that. This was before the enemy had a face. This was when the Covenant was still a mysterious and cold hearted foe who didn't hesitate to kill you. This was with us knowing that the fate of Reach was that of a hopeless one, but watching the Spartans and human society struggle and fight for every inch of land made the experience that much more satisfying. Halo Reach's experience is an accumulation of Bungie's hard work on the series. That is something I cannot reemphasize enough. If you have an Xbox 360, then you owe it to yourself to pick this game up – even if you're not a Halo fan.
    5.0
  • LessrOf2WeevilsLessrOf2Weevils81,091
    17 Oct 2010
    3 7 7
    Bungie's farewell to the Halo universe (though certainly not Microsoft's), Reach feels like a bit more of a return to form for the franchise. After the rather bland Halo 3 and the completely underwhelming ODST, it's nice for Bungie to go out on a high note - not as high as Halo 2, but still, a good game.

    The game almost feels somewhat stripped down. No duel wielding, crazy new vehicles or enemies. The objects from Halo 3, that I never felt really worked well, have been replaced with armour abilities. Some are tweaks of the familiar (active camo, bubble shields), and some are completely new (jet pack and armour lock). You also now pick your armour ability and starting weapons in the multiplayer loadout, giving a feel of different classes - a welcome addition. Overall, the system seems more balanced and useful.

    You can see Bungie's affection for the franchise in the care that was put into the single player campaign. Though there is no character as memorable as some of the best characters of old, you do feel yourself being drawn into the story that never feels overburdened in the 15 to 20 hour campaign. Visually, the game looks even crisper and better, runs well, and still feels very much like a Halo game. I still found the multiplayer rather dull, but the addition of new game types like invasion, a much more robust forge mode, and a greatly improved firefight mode (much more fun than horde mode from GoW) really help the game along. Even the Halo gaming community seems more mature - likely a result of the uber-twerps migrating to Call of Duty.

    Fans of the franchise can't go wrong here and even those, like myself, that have found the Halo gloss wearing some time ago may be surprised.

    Immersion: 3
    Interface: 5
    Game Play: 4
    Challenge: 4
    Fun: 4

    Overall: 8.5/10
    4.0