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Halo: Reach Review

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Developer: Bungie Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: September 14, 2010 Available On: Xbox 360

Halo: Reach has been hyped as if it were the second coming of Christ. As the prequel to the Halo franchise, Halo: Reach had a lot to live up to. Largely, it succeeds in reliving those past experiences and at times to its detriment. This game feels somewhat old. The same basic formula from 2001’s game still exists relatively unchanged. For some people, that might be a good thing. Others will wonder when the franchise will make the next big leap forward (if ever).

The main story of the game takes place on the planet Reach. As the prequel to Halo, you will not get to play as Master Chief. Instead, there are six Spartans of Noble Team of which you are a part of. Your overall goal is to protect the planet from invasion by the Covenant. Throughout the game you grow somewhat familiar with the various actors involved, but the connection that you felt in past Halo games just is not there with this group.

The first thing that you need to know is that if you have played a Halo game before, you have played Halo: Reach. Not much has changed, aside from the tweaks around the edges that Bungie has made with each game to date. The AI is noticeably more intelligent, acting more like human players would than ever before. Some of the reactions can be quite funny, especially the little Grunts that often act stunned when you sneak up on them. Interestingly, these little guys are suicide bombers in this game, carrying two plasma grenades and running towards you at various times in the game.

The single-player is a pretty short affair that could easily be beaten in a weekend. It will take you eight hours at most. Like its predecessors, Halo: Reach has a co-op campaign that allows you to play with up to four friends. This is a must as the single-player just is not the same without a friend by your side. Considering the number of difficulty settings that they give you, if you start on Normal and work your way towards Legendary, the game has a decent amount of replay value. But online is where most of the fun comes in.

Bungie was sure to make Halo: Reach the most complete multi-player experience to date. Aside from the core mechanics, they have also added an Armory, a new voting system, and class-based loadouts. The Armory allows you to customize your Spartan to the specifications that you demand. These are earned through special in-game credits to buy different variations. You can even buy different voices for your character.

The game, as you would expect, features a number of awesome weapons. Classic weapons like the Assault Rifle and the original pistol with scope make a return with much fanfare. If you like other guns like the Battle Rifle and Carbine, you are out of luck, since they got the ax. One of my favorite new weapons is the powerful grenade launcher. Bungie was also sure to include some of the melee weapons that have been used in past games, such as the sword and hammer.

Supplementing the Halo: Reach experience is Forge World. Here you can take a blank map and build it from the ground up. It is similar to Halo 3’s Forge mode where you can fully customize to your heart’s content. Even cooler is that this is essentially a community feature for you to share with the world. Some of the best classic Halo maps have already been created by users and are ready to play. If you have a lot of time and a creative streak, Forge World will allow you to create some pretty cool maps.

At the end of the day, Halo: Reach is just another Halo game. That is not necessarily a bad thing, the same way that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is great in its own right, but does not stand apart as a masterpiece. This is tried and true territory. You know what to expect and if you like it, then by all means, Halo: Reach is for you. Anyone that is tired of the same old Halo shooters, though, will find this to be beating a nearly decade old dead horse.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.2 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review