It seems that with each passing entry in the series, the Halo series grows more and more stale as Microsoft fails to innovate in any significant way. While their have been attempts to expand the series into new directions, such as 2009’s Halo Wars, the rest is too genetically similar to impress. The reality of it is, Microsoft knows gamers will continue to swallow anything they give them as long as it has ‘Halo‘ written on it. Why? The admittedly addictive multiplayer.
In a nutshell, that’s what the Halo series is. It is a fun means of hoping online and scratching your FPS itch against friends and random opponents. Regardless of this fact, you’re seeing more and more hostility toward Halo’s refusal to evolve in any significant way. More and more fans are opting to put off a purchase until they can get the cheaper, inevitable used copy. Halo: Reach will go on to sell millions, that’s no doubt, but many gamers have learned their lessons from the likes of Halo 3, Halo Wars, and Halo ODST.
Wrap your minds around it, potential Halo: Reach customer. With Halo 2 and Halo 3, Microsoft revealed that the number of unique gamers to log onto them was almost double the number of copies sold. In other words, if the game was viewed as more worthy of brand new purchase to gamers, it’s sales would have doubled. Does Halo: Reach continue the trend of the forgettable single player and addictive multiplayer?
Though I haven’t gotten far into the game, it certainly does seem like it. I’ve found it to be much more enjoyable than past efforts, but it just doesn’t each the industry standard after the blockbuster releases of this generation. Put simply, among the Halo releases, the story progression and attention to detail in the main campaign is impressive, a step in the right direction. Compared to franchises outside Halo? It’s decent, though nothing we haven’t seen before.
One area where the game was smartly designed was the difficulty curb. Whereas previous Halo titles ramped up difficulty with cheaper AI, greater numbers of enemies, and irritating level design– Reach breaks the mold. Bungie was able to streamline the gameplay and make it more accessible by utilizing a more forgiving weapon system and putting greater emphasis on long-lasting power-ups. It’s a refreshing design choice.
Graphically, Halo: Reach is more impressive than the disappointing Halo Wars and Halo ODST. It can’ compare to a high-end PS3 exclusive, but it does have its share of eye candy. The frame-rate is steady and the character animations are acceptable. The lighting system could have been better implemented as some levels are much too dark for my tastes.
What’s there to say about the multiplayer than hasn’t been said? It’s another great entry on the list of Halo games. Thankfully Bungie decided to refine the Forge, the level editor, for this release. A fun diversion in Halo 3, now a genuinely interesting piece of the package. The multiplayer still isn’t nearly as balanced as a Call of Duty entry, but that’s to be expected considering the run & gun, anti-strategy fanbase Bungie is dealing with.
As a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: Reach impresses where it needs to. It won’t wow fans outside the series, but there are plenty of Mountain Dew drinking frat boys and twelve-year-olds already in love with the series to snatch it up. It’s hard to get excited for Microsoft’s cash-cow franchise, especially when so many reviewers will give the Halo series a pass on brand name alone- only to criticize previously praised past entries at the release of the next inevitable Halo.