Halo: Reach User Review
- Just Right
- Time Spent:
- 20 to 40 Hours
- The Bottom Line:
Reflecting on the single player campaigns in the Halo series, they range from decent to spectacular. But since Bungie's inaugural Halo title, the succeeding Halo games' campaigns simply had not lived up to the high standard set by the first game. Rather it be odd decisions to remove fan-favorite weapons, having to play as a member of the covenant, strange pacing, or disappointing endings, the single player/co-op offerings from Halo 2 to ODST were definitely solid, but sporadic. The single player in Halo:Reach is the most satisfying, wonderfully paced campaign since the original-perhaps even better. The diversity of items, weapons, and vehicles and the incredibly smooth pacing are primary factors in making it a commendable experience.
Trademark weapons such as the Assault rifle, Needler, and Plasma Rifle all make a return in Halo:Reach. In addition to these weapons, a good number of new interesting guns are introduced. The Covenant wield more new weapons than the marines such as the explosive Needle Rifle or the powerful Plasma Repeater. Much of the familiar artillery that have appeared in previous Halo games feel more refined and easier to use in Reach. Spartan 6 can carry up to two primary weapons as well as hold up to four grenades and a helpful ability. The diversity of weapons cater to every kind of enemy and scenario, and you will often find yourself strategically trying to carry the two weapons that will work greatest as a combination for any given situation. The enemies in Reach are the same Covenant and Brute fiends that fans of the series are familiar with, but thanks to the clever enemy artificial intelligence and integration of new weapons and vehicles, the Covenant are more fun and challenging than ever.
Some exciting new vehicles make their inaugural appearance in Reach. The Warthog, Scorpion tank, Covenant Ghost and Banshee are a few returning vehicles in addition to new vehicles such as the UH-144 Falcon, YSS-1000 Sabre, and the Covenant's Revanant. The Falcon is basically a helicopter in which you may pilot or take control of one of the two machine gun turrets mounted on either side of the vehicle. One exciting mission requires you to fly throughout the cities of Reach, landing on and entering into various towers and skyscrapers all while fighting off aerial attacks from the Covenant. One mission is dedicated to using the ability of the Sabre to engage in a fierce dog fight with Covenant forces miles above the planet. The air based missions are a great change up in the campaign and are a lot of fun to play thanks to the exciting action and easy, intuitive controls of the aerial vehicles. Having a friend join you in co-op mode makes it all the better. If a buddy is not there to assist you, you are frequently joined by friendly artificial intelligence to help you on your missions. For the most part these guys are top notch shots, but lack driving skills to make them trustworthy operatives of a vehicle. You are most likely better off driving yourself or trusting a friend behind the wheel.
The left bumper on the Xbox 360 controller is for initiating the special item you are carrying. These special items give you a little bit of an edge in battle, and the exciting jet-pack even has a couple of stages built for its usage. The default item is one that gives your Spartan the ability to sprint. There is also a shield recharger, a bubble force field to protect you from enemy fire, the jet-pack in which you can get airborne and gun down Covenant foes from the sky, and a few other nifty abilities that can be found throughout the game. There are a slew of new additions to the Halo formula that make the latest campaign in the franchise one of the most satisfying yet. The great soundtrack creates suspense and drama in the game's climax moments. Much like its predecessors, the usage of music in Reach is minimal. You will go minutes at a time without hearing a single tune, but the action in the campaign is so attention grabbing that you hardly notice this. The music is played at times when the action is less tense, therefore making it more listenable. The soundtrack is certainly stellar: ranging from gut-wrenching electric guitar to grimy bass lines and beats that sound like something found on a Boards of Canada album.
It is no secret that many gamers who revere Halo are primarily drawn to franchise for its excellent multiplayer. Up to four players can play split-screen VS. with dozens of game modes, or you can take your Spartan online to play against the fellow Halo faithful. Online matchmaking support is also available for firefight mode, which was initially introduced in Halo 3:ODST. In firefight you or a few friends must survive against increasingly difficult odds at a chosen destination as waves upon waves of enemies continuously threaten your lives. There are various, customizable game modes for firefight mode just as with the VS. multiplayer, making for a ginormous list of possibilities to tinker with.
The Theater mode that was first integrated into the series in Halo 3 is back in Reach. You can view your recent adventures and battles that you had by yourself or with a friend. The flying camera in Theater mode allows you to fly anywhere in the fray and view your battles from new perspectives. You can also pause or record clips contained within the movie, or even take snapshots and save it to your hard drive. Theater was one of the greatest new features in Halo 3, and its presence in Reach is still strong, though Bungie has decided not to tweak with it all that much. The Forge mode that first appeared in Halo 3 is also back, allowing you to edit the maps by placing vehicles, weapons, and timed reactions within the stages when you play them with a friend.
Halo:Reach does not do a whole lot new when it comes to the Halo formula. Bungie has taken what has worked so well with the previous titles and constructed a superb first-person shooter that is finely polished in every respect. The single player campaign is one of the most enjoyable offerings not only within the Halo canon, but of all time. The action never slows down, giving you surprises around every corner at an exhilarating pace. The multiplayer components of Reach are as fun as ever, and other features unique to the franchise such as the Theater and Forge are perfectly intact. Bungie's final Halo game is a plausible effort as it caters to Halo fans wonderfully with great precision and execution on many of the series' greatest strengths.
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- Player Reviews: 558
- Game Universe:
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online