Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halo: Reach

Alright, let me start off by saying this is the first review I have ever done, so bear with me. Halo: Reach is the the fourth and final Halo game to be released by Bungie, and it is a prequel to Halo Combat Evolved. This game tells the story of Noble Team, a group of six Spartans who must do whatever it takes to complete the missions at hand. There may be a few spoilers throughout the review, so read at your own risk. Now, lets get started with the review.

Let's start with the campaign since this is the part most people will play first, and the part I played first. I played it co-op with a friend on Heroic. You can play with up to 3 other people co-op. I'm not going to sit here and give a recap of the story although I may mention a few parts of it. In this game you play as Noble 6, the newest addition to Noble Team. It takes place, for the most part, on the planet Reach. Reach is one of mankind's few colonies left and is a the main military hub for the United Nations Space Command aka the UNSC. The campaign starts off very slowly. For quite a while in the first mission you are just wandering around going to certain way points. Eventually it does pick up and things get underway.

For the most part this is a typical Halo campaign. Fight to this point, activate this thing, go help these people, and all that business. There are a few parts that you haven't seen in a Halo game before, such as the space combat mission. I thought this mission was well made. It's definitely not some mission they just threw in there or the fun of it.

I enjoyed the campaign for the most part, however, I am going to tell you the parts I didn't like right now. Noble Team must make sacrifices to complete their mission. Sometimes, that even means sacrificing themselves for the good of Reach. This is the part I have a problem with. I believe Bungie should have done a bit of a better job developing the characters, allowing me to become more emotionally attached. In a good story, the player will feel some sort of emotion if one of the main characters dies. This was not the case for me, and this is coming from a guy who very nearly cried when Aeris died in Final Fantasy VII.

The ending of Halo: Reach is the best ending in a Halo game. After the credits you get to play as Noble 6 one last time. Your mission? Survive. You get to fight off a bunch of Covenant until you sustain a certain amount of damage. Noble 6 will then remove his helmet and you get to watch him make his final stand. This caps off the epic tale of sacrifice that is Halo: Reach.

Bungie does a great job delivering a fun and varied experience in Halo: Reach. For the most part, the game sticks to the Halo method of multiplayer. Power weapons, grenades, melee, and all that fun business. There are changes to the multiplayer though. Most of the weapons have a new blossoming reticule that makes them a little more difficult to use. However, I think it adds a bit of balance to the weaponry. It looks to me like the weapons do a bit more damage. Players seem to die a bit faster. Another thing that has been changed for the better, in my opinion, is the melee. If you have any shield left whatsoever the melee takes it away. If you do not have a shield, the melee will kill you.

Bungie decided to add assassinations to the game. When you come up behind someone and hold the melee button your character will perform the assassination. The camera goes to third person and you get to watch this happen. It adds a bit of flair to the game but these can prove to be dangerous. You can be killed mid-assassination.

Another new addition to Halo: Reach is the loadout system. Players can choose a certain loadout depending on their play style. Depending on the gametype the loadouts may have different weapons or they may have all the same weapon with just different armor abilities. These loadouts add a whole other dimension to the game. They bring a new level of strategy to the game.

The amount of variety in this game will keep any player occupied for quite some time. There are many gametypes and maps that shipped with the game. If the past is anything to go off of there will be more to come. One of the things that Bungie does very well is support their multiplayer games. They do a great job of updating the playlists with different gametypes all the time. It would take quite some time for someone to get bored with this game.

The multiplayer experience in Halo: Reach is a fun and chaotic one, as expected. It comes down to this. If you like Halo, you will love the multiplayer in this game. If you do not like Halo, you will probably not enjoy this game all that much. It never hurts to give it a try though, the changes might be to your liking.

This game is absolutely gorgeous. Bungie has done a great job with the visuals in Halo: Reach. One thing you notice throughout the game is the sheer size of things. They have done a wonderful job depicting size. Some things truly look massive. At one point in the campaign you get to see the Pillar of Autumn, a UNSC cruiser. If you just stop and look around at the ship, it is amazing how monstrous it looks. All the maps and levels look beautiful. The grass and water look very realistic. You can tell that Bungie puts a lot into the visuals of their games.

In Halo: Reach, a few things have been tweaked visually. The biggest thing that has been changed is the player movements. They all look a lot more fluid. From jumping to sprinting, nothing looks awkward as a few things did in Halo 3.

The cinematic cut scenes in Halo: Reach looked great. They looked exactly like you were playing the game, which isn't a bad thing because it makes it seem more like a part of the game as opposed to the cut scenes that look completely different.

Everything in this game looked good except for one thing. When I was playing the campaign, sometimes I noticed a strange motion blur. I'm not sure if this is always there or if it was just because I was playing co-op on Xbox LIVE.

The level of detail is increased in Halo: Reach. This is obvious in the players armor. You can see scratches and dents. It looks like the player has been through war, as it should. Also in regards to armor, Bungie has upgraded the customization level in Halo: Reach. You can customize everything from your helmet to what you have on your wrist. You can even change the voice of your player in firefight.

Bungie has outdone themselves again with the graphics in this game.

I think that the quality of the sound in Halo: Reach is one of the things that impressed me most. All of the weapons sound amazing. They tweaked the sounds of some of the weapons and they actually sound better. The Assault Rifle sounds like it shoots bullets that may actually hurt people now. In Halo 3 it sounded as if it was shooting staples.

With a good surround sound system this game will really put you in the middle of the action with sound alone. A few times while playing I heard a marine yell something and thought someone was in my room talking to me. You can hear bullets whizzing right by your head. It is easy to pick up where enemies are just buy the sounds of them yelling and moving.

In terms of music Marty O'Donnell has done a wonderful job yet again. The music in this game helps to create a mood very well. It gives you a sense of the emotion that Noble Team is feeling throughout the missions. O'Donnell said he wanted a "grittier" feel for his music because of the nature of the game. He has done a great job in that respect.

Halo: Reach is everything Halo fans have been looking for. The campaign is good from start to finish. The multiplayer is fun and will remain fun for quite some time. The game looks and sounds great. This is Bungie's "Swan Song" to the Halo series, and it is a very fitting one. Halo: Reach is the best Halo game Bungie has ever put out and is the perfect game to end on. Congratulations to Bungie on an amazing run with the Halo series!

Written by Member: Electissimus

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