First off, I am going to give a brief synopsis of my gaming history:
I started off young in the days of NES playing wonderful games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Bubble Bobble (keep in mind I was born in 1988). My sister and I mastered these games and my love for video games bloomed from there. Although I loved NES, I never got a Super Nintendo, nor a Sega Genesis, or anything around that time aside from some of the Gameboys. Eventually the Christmas came where I got a Nintendo 64 – a huge leap in the gaming world for me, especially at that point in time. On there I played classics such as Goldeneye 007, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, and the original Super Smash Bros. Time progressed and I got the original Playstation and played deep games that embedded themselves into my heart such as Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy VIII, and the original Tony Hawk games. I moved on when the Playstation 2 came out and played Tony Hawk 3, Tony Hawk Underground, and my favorite shooter of all time – Socom: U.S. Navy Seals. At the same time era I got an X-Box solely for the original Halo, then got Halo 2, and also fell in love with some of the other titles such as a lesser known game called Phantom Dust. I was getting older, so I decided to get a Nintendo Wii due to it’s innovative technology, but it fell somewhat short with vague titles and mediocre replay value (for the most part). I needed a hardcore gaming machine that had a large online community – I went back to the X-Box Live world and purchased an X-Box 360 – and that’s where I am at now. I started off with Call of Duty: World at War, quickly getting back into FPS, then got other games such as Borderlands, GTA4, and one of my favorites (yet most agitating) – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
That’s a brief overview of my gaming history, although some of it is missing. The most important part of this article is to tell you, the reader, about my first day (and night) experience playing the newest installment in the Halo series – Halo Reach. Bungie (the makers of Halo) always seems to step it up every single Halo game they come out with (generally speaking), and this is no exception.
First of all, I have to state that the graphics in Halo Reach are top of the line. The cinematics are gorgeous, and the gameplay looks better than ever. The scenery in the campaign and multiplayer online make you want to just stare at the screen sometimes and enjoy what is in front of you. Halo has always set high standards for intense graphics, so this was no surprise.
I didn’t get too far in the Campaign mode – and I played Cooperative online with a couple of buddies only. As of right now the story seems relatively solid, and the objectives and gameplay itself seem better than ever. Also, instead of a flashlight you have night vision now, which I wouldn’t say is “better”, but it’s nice. I’d rather have both to be completely honest. I look forward to progressing in the campaign.
The main reason I got Halo Reach is essentially for the online multiplayer – and it’s incredible. From matchmaking menus to the gameplay itself, it’s all fun and great. There are new vehicles such as a helicopter called the Falcon that allows a pilot and two players to man the turrets. I had a great time playing Slayer on Spire maning the turret while we circled around the tower in the center of the map. They’re not the strongest, but if you persist you’ll eventually get the kill. Of course there are the classic vehicles such as the Warthog and the Ghost. Ranking up online is also great since you get so many bonuses and credits from completing challenges and getting rewards it makes you want to keep playing. Before you know it hours have passed, and you’ve got work in an hour (no, I am not speaking from experience). You can also do Firefight online, Co-Op Campaign online, and even Forge online.
Forge is where you can mess around and create maps, which is great. At first I was getting kind of bored with it, but then I realized the versatility in it. A buddy and I started making ramps and racing tracks that went off of a cliff. You can create fun and personal games. One guy online made a bumper car game using Forge. There are so many different items that you can place in Forge such as buildings, ramps, vehicles, weapons, explosive items, and even a soccer ball.
One of my favorite additions is the Theater Mode – you can watch previous gameplay that you’ve been in which is all saved temporarily onto your system.
Another great aspect of Halo Reach that I am completely in love with it the level of customization. In Halo 3 you could change colors and emblems, but in Reach you can revamp your character to a whole new level. There’s new helmets, body plates, shoulder plates, and can even make it so confetti flies from your body when you die online. All of these attachments and upgrades come with a price, though. You’ll also need to fulfill certain rank requirements and other prerequisites prior to being able to even purchase these things.
In conclusion, Halo Reach was definitely worth the wait. The menus are great, the campaign is solid, and online is as fun as ever. As of right now I give it a 9.5/10, since there are some things that should be minimally tweaked, most noteably some matchmaking problems (when you leave a game you may be penalized with a temporary suspension. Also when a player leaves a game their spot remains vacant until the end of the game, making 4 on 4 Slayer a pain when you’re down a man). Also the melee in this game feels much weaker, and the guns feel slightly loose, which takes some time getting used to (which I still am). But overall it’s a great experience, and I highly suggest that any serious gamer picks it up from their local video game store.