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Halo Reach Review

A culmination of the Halo experience packed into one game

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With a series that has sold over 20 million copies of Halo games, one wouldn’t suspect anything less than a “grade A” game for this final installment from Bungie to the Halo franchise. For most of the ride, we’ve followed the silent, battle-hardened Spartan, Master Chief. In the Halo games, other Spartans are sparsely seen or talked about. Halo: Reach sheds some light on the Spartan culture and why Master Chief is seemingly the only Spartan throughout the series.

Halo: Reach focuses on events leading up to the first Halo game, Halo: Combat Evolved. The story follows an elite squad of Spartan soldiers known as Noble Team and you play as the sixth, and newest, member of that team. The alien intruders, known as the Covenant, have infiltrated and begun attacking a human-claimed world called Reach. Noble Team heads up multiple high priority missions attempting to stint the Covenant’s onslaught.

HalO Reach

Throughout most of the campaign levels, you (playing as Noble Team’s number six) run from point “A” to point “B” through hordes of enemy crossfire, constantly backing up your team with return fire. There is very little down time in the campaign mode which means your trigger finger’s lust for battle is constantly being fed.

Those who have played, and loved, each of the Halo games will undoubtedly feel a constant pang of nostalgia while playing through Reach since Bungie has reported that this is the closing game for the Halo series. If you haven’t played a Halo title before, you’ll not be left out of Reach’s storyline since this is a prequel to the series.

The campaign mode is quite the shuffle from previous Halo games as you’ll be hesitant to select the “Legendary” difficulty mode every time. Bungie has improved the enemy’s AI and instead of just making the enemies have more health or tougher shields, they predict flight paths of slower moving projectiles (like rockets and grenades) and are harder to hit. When switching from Halo 3 or Halo: ODST’s brute-filled enemyscape, it becomes all the more difficult when having to deal with “jumpy” Elites.

The tone of speech and character dialog is something games are striving for cinema quality on, and Halo: Reach, succeeds in a number of ways in this area, but occasionally friendly soldiers can throw off the dramatic effect of the game with repeated tacky one-liners. Overall though, the jargon and tone of casual, and military, conversations help to support the main characters in Reach’s Campaign mode.

The music composition in Halo: Reach has some of the best scores in the Halo franchise. At times the music pumps you through a tough firefight, and at others, is somber enough to make you appreciate the unfortunate turn of events.

The visuals in Halo games have always been similar in style, yet different in atmosphere and setting. This slight change helps the player to have a fresh experience while still having the feeling that they’re playing a Halo game. Halo: Reach has slightly better graphics than previous Halo games, but overall, the change in scenery and character will be more noticeable than the improved graphics which still struggle to keep up with today’s standards (such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, or Final Fantasy 13 and 14).

HalO Reach

There are some new vehicles to ride in Halo: Reach. A couple stand out, like the mini twin-seater Covenant tank called the Revenant, or the spaceship Sabre you get to fly for a level, but most aren’t anything too special (unless you’ve really been aching to finally ride those forklifts you blew up in Halo 3).

As far as an arsenal goes, the members of Team Noble have usage of a slightly different breed of guns than Master Chief had. Although most of the guns are tweaked variations of previous Halo weaponry, there are a few completely new creations. There’s a good variety between the new additional weapons. On the precision end of firepower, there’s the Needle Rifle, Focus Rifle, and DMR, while on the explosive end there’s the Grenade Launcher, Concussion Rifle, Plasma Launcher, and the most devastating portable weapon in the game, the Target Locator.

Last, but not least, in the new additions to Halo: Reach is the armor abilities. Armor abilities are somewhat similar to the equipment items in Halo 3—they allow you to briefly perform a special action (such as sprint, become invulnerable in place, or jetpack into the air). Unlike equipment from Halo 3, the armor abilities are reusable after a cool down period, to use again and again until you switch out that armor ability for another. These armor abilities definitely add a lot to the game and change things up in campaign mode and particularly in multiplayer matchmaking mode.

After you finish the game’s campaign mode, the end of this game’s play value hardly diminishes. There are multiple game modes that offer an extensive replay value to the game. Depending on the mode you choose to play you will be allowed to play with friends, others online, or alone.

Match making allows you to play against other players online, known friends, or strangers. The maps are quite large and there are plenty of game types that give you certain objectives to accomplish in order to win. Modes found in Halo 3 are all here, like “Slayer”, “Capture the Flag”, and “King of the Hill”, but there are also new game modes like “Head Hunter” (where you pick up flaming skulls from players killed), “Stock Pile” (capture as many opposing team flags as you can to gain your team points), Firefight (a four player cooperative survival challenge), Invasion (two teams where you can play as Spartans or Elites), and a host of other game types.

HalO Reach

A variety of armor add-ons as well as aesthetic effects for your playable character can be purchased with points from a point system earned from accomplishing daily, weekly, and standard challenges and just by playing any mode in Reach. These upgrades, even though they’re just for looks, are very cool and are a great incentive to play for hours on end.

Much like Halo 3, Reach comes with a Forge mode where you’re able to create your own levels to play with your friends. If you’re thinking about comparing Reach’s Forge mode to Halo 3’s Forge mode—don’t, since you’ll never go back to Halo 3 to use Forge again. Forge in Reach has been improved in a few important areas. The main change being that larger items (such as walls, doors, floors, and pillars) remain stationary when placed in the level and can float in the air if not attached to anything. When using Reach’s Forge, you’ll also notice that moving objects around is a much smoother process as there is now an added coordinates option to select in order to move objects on a set grid to “snap” pieces into perfect placement. The only drawback to Reach’s Forge is that there is still no “undo” option for when you accidently delete an object or move it in a wrong direction which, if you use Forge much, you’ll find yourself openly questioning Bungie what caused this oversight.

With a high expectation to live up to being the last Halo game, Halo: Reach soars above the bar delivering an impressive campaign experience and endless hours of online game play.

Our ratings for Halo: Reach on Xbox 360 out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
85
Reach holds many great and memorable scenescapes in both the campaign and the multiplayer battle modes. As this game fills the part of a great end to the series, the gameplay and style are patterned off of the former Halo's.
Gameplay
81
Although arsenal and vehicle choice didn't change extensively from previous Halo's, there is enough that is new (such as the armor abilities and new match making modes) to provide more than the Halo games before it.
Single Player
86
Although the main story is quite predictable, the small plot twists throughout the game are more than enough to captivate players and draw them into the realm of Reach.
Multiplayer
91
This is one game that delivers an extensive online experience. With a map making toolset which breadth and scope are as endless as time allows, you'll be playing around with multiplayer modes and options for a long time.
Performance
88
With an art style (although not a competent competitor to other current game graphics) unique enough to completely enthrall you in the Halo setting, there is very little to keep you from getting sucked into their reality.
Overall
84
If other Halo games have treated you well, Halo: Reach is one you'll be playing for a long time after you buy it. The campaign and multiplayer modes are both far above par.
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#3 Oct 1, 2010 15:19:10 (Oct 1, 2010 15:19)

kamikaziechameleon
I am one of the few who didn't care for halo1, 2, or 3 They are had major issues and lacked originality. 
 
Halo 1, cool setting, the flood levels qualified as some of the worst game I've ever played.  MP was a breath of fresh air on console.
 
Halo 2: actually had a worse campaign.  Cortana was the only character that I cared to hear speak.  Weak weak weak.  MP was a huge improvement over the previous game in every way.
 
Halo 3 : I might have imagined things but that was about 90 percent the same story as halo 1, graphics looked just as bad as halo 2 but resed up so basically halo 2 on pc.  Still had flood and their levels are annoyingly tedious and boring and take up to much of the game.  Again they try to play up the relevance of irrelevent characters ultimately cortana is the only one who carries any weight.  MP was a unbalanced unpolished mess with a mix of genious levels and horrible levels.  At this point P2P was not improved in a way that made it compete feasibly with what dedicated servers had to offer so that stunk.  the net code was a  joke.  The only thinkg that I enjoyed was 4 player co-op but I think you can enjoy sitting in a room doing nothing long as you have company so this is a irrelevant point.
 
ODST:  Wait this isn't a halo game.  it has a thoughtful well presented story that you actually think about!?  I bought this for fire fight and was blown absolutely blown away by the campaign.  The pacing was so brilliant.  the music was wonderful.  It didnt have the issue with character that halos usually have.  I couldn't find a single issue with this game besides the dated but well utilized visuals.  Fire fight is the best of breed when it comes to horde type co-op games on console, all the console competiton suffers major polish issues.
 
REACH : There are things in here that make for a truelly artful game.  While there are moments of attrocious dialogue the voice work always excells even in the face of cliche`.  Gameplay is diverse and well paced.  The new game additions of armor powers feels right.  Weapons are more fun to use etc.....  The competitive MP has the same issues as halo 3 save for better net code.  All the co-op was awesome.  The matchmaking options for reach vs are very week.  all to often I just want to play standard DM but get a moded out version of it.   At the core this MP is a more polished version of what you see in halo3 but with 50 percent of the issues and a few new ones.
 
even with vs being a throw away(sorry BC2 raised the bar ) the co-op and story elements here are phenominal.  ODST and REACH aren't just the best halo games but they are for the first time in the series history actually good games comparable to pc offering in that space.
 
#2 Sep 28, 2010 22:52:33 (Sep 28, 2010 22:52)

Kain637
The daily challenges are certainly giving me an incentive to play this game as often as I can.
#1 Sep 28, 2010 18:35:36 (Sep 28, 2010 18:35)

wildkatana
I am really impressed with Reach, it is head and shoulders above the other Halo games, which is hard to do.
Halo: Reach
Halo: Reach box art Platform:
Xbox 360
Our Review of Halo: Reach
84%
Great
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Halo: Reach is ranked #216 out of 1453 total reviewed games. It is ranked #30 out of 118 games reviewed in 2010.
216. Halo: Reach
217. FIFA 11
PC
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Screenshots

Halo: Reach
9 images added Jun 18, 2010 00:59
Videos
Halo Reach - Debut Trailer
Posted: Dec 13, 2009 17:11
Halo: Reach - The Birth of A Spartan
Posted: Apr 29, 2010 14:04
Halo: Reach - The Battle Begins
Posted: Jul 29, 2010 22:17
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