Release Date: 9/14/2010
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Halo. That word is loved and hated by many, but Halo did help define the FPS genre and FPS multiplayer for consoles. If it weren’t for Halo we wouldn’t have to regenerate health or solid FPS multiplayer, but Reach perfects the Halo multiplayer in many ways, but before we get there let’s dive into the single-player campaign.
Reach has you playing as the generic Noble 6 who is part of other numbered Noble team members. You can create your character this time around, and swap out different armor parts, but you have to advance your rank and earn credits through multiplayer and playing the campaign. This is more of a gimmick and doesn’t do anything other than add filler to the already bloated series. After the disappointing ODST, we get another campaign with more nobodies instead of Master Chief. The game is set before the first one so you are experiencing the first contact with the Covenant. You are just hopping around Reach trying to save the planet only to realize you can’t, and then you have to use desperate measures to save the human race, but the story doesn’t get interesting until the final cutscene (surprised?) and it’s a shocker.
The game is pretty much another recycling of the same Covenant aliens with better graphics. The same grunts, elites, brutes, and even vehicles; you name it. Is it ever exciting? Maybe in the very beginning because it’s been a while since the last Halo, but after the first couple of chapters, you just want the game to end already. The game just adds everything we’ve seen since 2001, and even takes away dual wielding which is good or bad depending on how you look at it. There are maybe one or two new weapons and vehicles, but everything’s been recycled so much I can’t tell! They couldn’t even add an iron sight option since the left trigger is no longer used for a second weapon? C’mon!
Other than that the mission structure is the same kill this wave, press this button, defend this place, backtrack, and re-kill Covenant that suddenly appeared again. It goes on for ten chapters! There are a couple of space flight missions that are kind of fun, but it’s not enough to keep you from yawning on the rehashed crap. Sure the campaign is solid and challenging, but it’s not as spectacular as say Halo 2. At least the flood is absent which is a Godsend!
But after slogging through the campaign you’re going to come back for multiplayer right? Right. Which are the best the series has with tons of modes and playlists, all the modes we’ve grown to love, and a mix of favorite maps from past Halo campaigns? I’m not a Halo multiplayer vet so I can’t tell you every tiny change, but I know enough that saving every match, sharing with friends, picking through their highlights, and so on is a lot of fun, and the Forge mode has been re-done to be a little more intuitive, but it’s still no LittleBigPlanet, or say, TimeSplitters. The new daily challenges are the biggest incentive to come back since they advance your rank. They change daily and are a lot of fun to aim for, but the only thing you can do is unlock stuff in the armory with this, and that’s not too exciting on its own, but it’s better than nothing.
Reach is also the best-looking game, but it still doesn’t look up to par, and this is sad being Microsoft’s flagship series. The game looks good technically, but artistically it’s kind of bland, but there are a lot more open environments and not too many indoor ones, so it’s a lot more to look at this time around. All the same, sounds are recycled as well, so you know what to expect in that department. With a so-so story, characters you can’t get attached to, and a great multiplayer suite, maybe Reach should have been multiplayer only? Sure, no one would miss the campaign, but it’s there. If you want to play through it again go online and play it co-op even if you have to, or try the hardest difficulty. Actually, scratch that it’s almost impossible.