Halo: Reach (2010), video game review.
What does a grizzled gamer such as myself think of a smash hit like Halo: Reach. I have no great love for the series, but was Reach able to change my mind? Read on…
When Reach was announced I cared not at all for it. I had only played a tiny bits of the past two games campaigns and they felt like nothing special. Having played the multiplayer split-screen for dozens of hours I had also grown a hatred inside me for the series. But some months ago my brother and I played through Halo 3 co-op. And I realized something…aside from the “Flood” I actually kind of liked the game. So recently I took the time to play through the Reach campaign co-op with my brother on Heroic.
The Good and The Bad.
In Reach they introduce powerup/equipments. Examples such as, Sprint, Jet-Pack, and Armor Lock. Some of these are incredible useful (Sprint, Jet Pack), while other extremely pitiful in campaign (Hologram, Armor Lock). These were meant to mix up the play style, and they do a lot in multiplayer, but in campaign you’ll mostly be sticking to Sprint and Jet Pack.
It is also really annoying that I should have to have Sprint as a special equipped item. Why not just have that as a base ability?
In Halo 3 there were many moments of epicness. An air assault on a cluster of enemy bases, two awesome Scarab battles, your first nighttime encounter with the Flood (the only time that it was fun playing against the Flood), and the goofy but intense sequence at the end were the floor was falling. Reach was lacking in moments such as those… There were plenty of cool set pieces, but none of them felt truly epic. This is made weirder by the fact that Bungie upped their tech so that they can have more enemies on the screen at once.
And another thing that Reach was lacking in was vehicle levels. One of my favorite things to do in Halo is hop in a Mongoose and ram people to death, but in Reach there were very few levels where vehicles were a big part of that level. Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly level with vehicles in them but it seem as if they were more designed as transport and not for battle.
One of my major gripes is with the co-op respawn system. For the most part it worked out just fine. But in one level where you’re flying around in a helicopter, for a while respawning only set me to my death.
It all started with me punching my brothers character jokingly, and so he retaliates by killing me, and my ride, and then flying off. And so every ten or however many seconds you have to wait to respawn I would spawn right next to his flying helicopter and then fall to my death.
Why can’t they either have it that you can choose to spawn in your allies vehicle, or so the you can warp to your co-op buddy?
One of the best things that Reach did was that it had a little more variety. Things like the spaceship level, and a tower defense inspired level helped to mix things up a little. Reach even had a stealth mission even though the stealth part of it lasted a couple of minutes it was still fun to go up behind an unsuspecting enemy and assassinate (a new move) them.
I have never really loved Halo’s how jump and shoot play-style, but I can’t say that the controls don’t work. Halo: Reach controls perfectly, the only the to complain about, is again, that Sprint has to be assigned as an ability.
And also playing on “Heroic” helps with making the strategy of jumping and shooting not as good.
Being that Reach is a story about a squad of soldiers Bungie decided to have these Spartans show you their faces and also add a female Spartan. They also tried to give the characters deeper personalities, but most they seemed cliché. And ever though they added a woman to the squad she acts more like a man most of the time.
I would like to give Bungie props for the sense of doom that comes maybe 3/5’s of the way through. They may not be the best at writing believable characters but they did an amazing job of making you feel as if you had a planet to the enemy.
Halo: Reach improved upon its multi-million dollar formula. But it failed to have many intense, edge of the seat moments. If you’re already a Halo junkie you’ve already played this so you don’t need my opinion. But if you not it doesn’t change-up too too much.
Visual: The graphics are good, great at times, but everything is neon bright and your eyes might start to ache after too much play.
Sound: Some solid music hidden behind the grunts, moans, shouts, and gunshots.
Gameplay: What can I say; smooth as silk.
Worth Your Money: Eh… Maybe. If you like Halo and you plan on playing through Reach more than once you’d be able to get your moneys worth. But if you don’t feel like playing through it more than once maybe just rent it. If you have a couch buddy or three then there’s offline multiplayer that supports up to four players, and there is also the Halo style Horde mode FireFight that works for two. But if you don’t have Live and don’t plan on playing anything other than the campaign, just rent it. It didn’t take too long to beat it two-player on “Heroic.”
Console: Xbox 360.
Developer: Bungie, Inc.
Parental Rating: M/17+
Overall Score: 8.25/10