Halo: Reach was released on September 14th to rabid fans. While all the previous Halo games have received great reviews, Reach not only lives up to the expectations, but shatters them. What makes it so different? Besides being Bungie’s last Halo title, the story is a prequel. It’s a exciting journey, even if we know the ending. Reach rated M for Mature and is an Xbox 360 exclusive.
Halo: Reach Story
Players are a rookie called Noble 6. Noble 6 doesn’t have a set gender and you can customize the character to your liking. The game starts with being introduced to the planet Reach. Reach is a stronghold in the war with the alien Covenant. It’s also the home of the Spartan project. The war isn’t going well for humanity and things just get worse for Noble Team. Every Halo fan knows the basics about Reach and its fate, but what makes the game stand out is how the story is told. The story works in ways the previous Halo games didn’t. It unfolds in a straight forward manner and can be understood by first time Halo players. However, there are still enough surprises and twists to please hardcore fans.
Halo: Reach Gameplay
The core gameplay of Reach is the same as other Halo games. New additions and tweaks keep things feeling fresh. One new addition, armor abilities, gives players temporary but rechargeable upgrades like sprinting and jet packs. These abilities can be found scattered through the landscape. Another addition is a new assassination system. Instead of tapping the melee button for a quick assassination, players hold it down for an third person animated scene. Another new feature is credits, everything you do in game earns credits with can be used to purchase new armor. The cool thing is the armor you wear is reflected in the campaign, not just in multiplayer.
Reach features many new weapons like the Plasma Repeater, M45 tactual shotgun, the powerful special applications rifle and new grenade launchers. Every weapon feels specialized and built for its job. Unlike in previous Halo games, the missions in Reach each have a different feel to them. They are still shooter focused, but there is variety like sniper missions or the space battle. The graphics are some of the best Bungie ever produced. It’s hard not to feel wowed especially during the cinematic scenes. The game smooth and I only encountered a few minor glitches.
Halo: Reach Replay Value
The previous Halo games have set the standard for online play and Reach continues this. With 17 maps and an improved Forge, Reach’s multiplayer is enormous. In Forge, players can now change the color of objects, phase objects through other solid objects, and jetpacks can be used to reach high places. It’s an impressive system that lets players build and change more then before. The armor abilities make the multiplayer feel fresh and not just a rehashing of Halo 3. Bungie took everything that was good about the previous games and let them reach their potential. Firefight mode is especially fun with waves of increasing difficult Covenant. Of course, in the campaign there are different difficulty levels to try.
It’s a bit sad to think Bungie will not be making another Halo game, but Reach sends the franchise off in style with the most impressive offering. The game has enough new features and content to keep gamers replaying. But the story is also accessible enough for Halo first timers. It’s the mix of old and new that keeps sequels, or in this case prequels, from getting tired an uninteresting. Halo: Reach is definitely a game every gamer should check out.