Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shotgun Review : Halo : Reach

Review by: BIGMercenary [GatheringofGamers]

I'm going to try something different and hit you all at once like a shotgun with the details of Halo Reach. No opinions, just facts. A very quick review since my regular ones take to long to flesh out.

Love it or hate it, Halo Reach is the final (?) entry into the Halo series after Bungie has broken free from Microsoft's grasp (owever 343 industries were created to possibly continue the series). If the series were to go into a hiatus right now, it would be good for it. It has gotten quite stale, especially in Reach with only the jetpacksm, armor abilities, space flight, etc. shaking things up a bit. Yet, it has the same familiarity that fans of the series, or anyone who has ever even played a Halo game, will be used to.

Gone is the blandness of Master Chief who is replaced with 5 characters with differing personalities and yourself, whose face is never seen. Your mission is to fend off the covenant attacks on the home of the UNSC, Reach.

Fortunately, the campaign never feels like it's just "tacked on" and is as pulse-pounding, frustrating, rewarding and unique as the other Halo titles.

The multi-player features the classic modes everyone has played before. (2v2, Big Team, Snipers, Swat, Etc.). Added to the multi-player is the new Firefight, which is similar to Gears of War 2's Horde Mode: you face increasingly difficult waves of enemies with teammates with either a set number of lives or infinite.

Spartan customization is back but with a small array of options at the beginning, it'll take some time to buy everything and future DLC can improve. These custommizations are only cosmmetic and don't play into the overall game; armmor upgrades don't provide any more protection or ammo capacities.

The graphics are improved from Halo 3 and ODST but only a slight bit. You'll still feel like you're in the land of ODST from traveling through a city that resembles New Mombasa in architecture and Halo 1 from the canyon you travel through. Regardless these areas feature details that you may often find yourself stopping to take a look at.

The sound is something to really be impressed by, the music features another great score by Marty O'Donnell. Subtle at times of inactionbut ramps up with the heat of battle. The voiceacting is superb but the lines of dialogue might wear a bit thin if you die and have to restart from a checkpoint. The explosions, gunshots, enemies yelling, teammates talking through the radios, and everything else is clear. The closer you get to your teammates, the rdio chatter turns into normal speaking. The space-flying action is quiet, the vacuum of space hiding the music but disrupted by the sounds of explosions around you.

Halo Reach is a great "last hurrah!" from Bungie and a good place to start for those who have hated the franchise due to its popularity. If you want to hold out and say you'll never buy it, at least rent it. More than likely your mind will be changed. Come for the capaign, stay for the multiplayer.

Keep playing.

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