It’s been a little while since my last review, but don’t fret I’m busting one out today or tonight or whatever the time may be when you are reading this. Today I’m jumping from my usual retro reviews to a more modern game. I will be reviewing Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360. Alright, alright, I know it’s been a while since I purchased this game. You see I’ve been trying to beat it on legendary for some time by myself. But there’s something about legendary mode in Halo: Reach that’s incredibly difficult. One day I’ll beat it, but as for now I’ve only beaten it on Normal and Heroic mode.
Anyways, Halo: Reach is the fifth installment (not including Halo Wars) to the Halo series. Halo is one of the most well known first person’s shooters in the video game world, comparable to counterstrike and the Call to Duty games. Bungie, the creator’s of Halo, has made great games for the past decade and hopefully will continue to amaze us with great games. Halo: Reach is indeed one of those great games. It’s got single and multi-player fun all in one package. It has smooth controls, somewhat polished graphics, good gameplay, new weapons, maps, and heroes for a fun new experience for this new Halo game.
Halo: Reach arrived on the market just a year ago on September 14th, 2010. I got my copy about a week after it came out. I went halvies with my good buddy and spent that night either praising the Halo god’s name or cursing and raging over the foes that trampled or pwned us under their feet. My friend and I were very excited for this new Halo game to come out because we had taken part in the beta. I think the Halo: Reach beta was the largest Beta released for any game to date. About 3 million people participated in this Beta and it was great.
If you’re familiar with the Halo series then you should know that the previous three Halos you followed the character Master Chief in your fight against the Covenant. In this new Halo game, you don’t follow Master Chief at all, you follow 6 new Spartans called The Noble Six. They each have their own names, but in my opinion the whole story line and their character development was all rubbish. So their names are very unimportant as well as any of the story line. You don’t need to know any of the story line but just in case you were curious I’ll cover the basics. So these Noble six are commissioned to go to planet Reach and go check out some disturbances happening there(Planet Reach is a new colonized planet by the people of Earth). Anyways, you fight the covenant and that basically it. Oh but there is one important detail, this all transpires before the first three halo games. This is a prequel to the rest. That’s about it. Six dudes go to Planet Reach and have epic battles against the Covenant. I don’t want to spoil anymore just in case you really did want to actually listen to the people talking. Most of the time while they were talking I just took a bathroom break or changed the channel. What’s funny is later I found out you could skip the storyline
Ok enough of the story line, let’s get to the mechanics of the game. The controls are the same as any other Halo game, just moving thumb sticks and pressing buttons. If you haven’t played halo before it shouldn’t be too hard to get the hang of. The graphics are just a little better in this new Halo game than Halo 3. I mean some things are more defined, but all in all they’re very similar. This is actually one thing that I was disappointed with. You’d think they’d spend the time to get the graphics a lot more polished. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about and it’s just all about the Xbox 360 not having the capabilities to have better graphics. I mean graphics aren’t everything, but to me they’re a huge part to whether I’ll like the game or not.
Pessimism alert!!! So these next couple paragraphs are going to be mainly about the flaws in the game. Anyways, going back to the single player, to be honest it was just boring. I mean it was cool they added in an outer-space air ship battle thing. Plus the ending was a lot better than Halo 3’s ending. But the Noble six failed to inspire me. I know what you’re saying, “Hey buddy it’s just a game”. But go play Starcraft 2 and that games campaign was amazing. When Jim Raynor gave his speech to his comrades in Char, it was moving. You could tell that Blizzard, the maker’s of Starcraft 2, really put time into the single player campaign. But for Bungie I cannot say the same for Halo: Reach.
One other very frustrating thing about this game is the addition of an expanding reticule with your DMR. What this means is basically if you and your opponent are the same skill level and you both land 4 good hits on the head. It’s due to chance who will die first. This is very frustrating when you know you shot the other dude, but because lady luck was on his/her side they owned you. There have been countless games where this has happened and I wasn’t a happy camper.
Ok now back to not being as much of a pessimist. Let’s get back to talking about the mechanics of the game or new additions. One new addition is the new abilities given to these newer(actually older Spartans, because this is a prequel) Spartans. In Halo 3 you could pick up abilities or useful objects such as: blocking radar, blue ball that takes away shields, overshield, and a couple others. But in this new game they have done away with those. In Halo: Reach you get the option to choose what Spartan you will be. There’s a couple different types including: Armor lock, Sprint, Jetpack, Stealth(cloaking), Evade(you jump in a direction), and pop out shield Spartan. All of these abilities are very useful in different circumstances. There is one ability that is very over-powered though. The armor lock ability sometimes can make multi-player games not very fun. In the beta they called Armor lock, “Guardian”. So whenever the opposing team all choose Armor lock we call them Guardian Whores, because that’s what they are. A bunch of Guardian Whores! Oh yeah and one other thing that is broken is when you use the ability evade and your body is shooting backward, the dude sword charging you will always hit, even though when you check in theater mode that he clearly didn’t hit you. It’s happened many times and it’s not cool.
This brings me to my next point. Halo: Reach has the theater mode again, so you can see all your most epic battles. I’ve always thought this was a great addition to the game. One thing that is new is they added a thing called Forge. In Forge you are able to create maps of your own. You can make it unique, fun, tricky, or all the above and show your friends and foes. It’s a great addition and if you want to go make maps all day then go for it. One of the only problems with these forge maps is because you have to have moving parts to create levels the graphics for these levels are considerably worst then the Bungie made maps. But if you don’t mind the graphics level change, then go nuts on these Forge maps. Personally I don’t like them as much.
One very unfortunate thing with the multi-player is all or most of the maps are just places stolen from the single player campaign. There’s literally no new maps that Bungie actually made. They just thought “well we’ve made a single player. Let’s make our job a little easier and just pull crap from the single player, put a stamp on it, and call it a multi-player map”. I’ve never been an advocate for this kind of thinking. I mean it is clever to do that and it does save time for the developers, but don’t make them the only maps and then make us buy downloadable content for new maps. Why not just give us the maps because we’ve been loyal customers for a decade now. Also I don’t understand why Bungie doesn’t include all the maps from the previous games. All those maps should be included.
Anyways, they’ve added a couple new weapons. The first new weapon they’ve added is the Covenant concussion rifle. This new weapon is the covenant counter part to the human shotgun. It’s a great weapon to slow down charging Spartans/Elites with swords. The second weapon is the Covenant plasma launcher. This is the Covenant counter part to the human rocket launcher. In my opinion this is one of the hardest weapons to use. It takes skill and precision to be able to master this weapon The next weapon is the human grenade launcher. This is also a very difficult weapon to learn at first. But with some time and practice it can be one of the most useful and handy weapons. The last weapon is the Covenant focus rifle. This new rifle replaces the old covenant sniper. This is a great weapon for those that are in plain view. Most of the time you can snipe them with this if they can’t find cover. That’s basically the additions for weapons.
Anyways, to finish this off, I have good and bad feelings about this game. I love Halo for the good times it’s given me throughout the years. But some of these flaws and cutting of corners I didn’t appreciate. I mean the controls and gameplay are good and I have fun playing the game. But there’s just some things in the game as I have mentioned above that frustrate a gamer. So I couldn’t give it a perfect score and I didn’t want to give it a 60%, so I’m awarding Halo: Reach with a 4 out of 5 rating. It really should be a 3.5 out of 5. But our rating system doesn’t allow for 3.5, so I’ll round up to 4 out 5. It’s a Halo game, so you’ll have fun, but I’m not sure if you’ll have as much fun as the previous three Halo games.