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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halo: Reach Review

Well I played Halo Reach, beat Halo Reach, did some multiplayer online and was told I sucked dick in Halo Reach. However, the question remains... is it good? Well, here's my review for it:

Let me start off by saying Halo Reach is a Halo game. I know that sounds stupid, but I don't think there's a better way to describe it. It's the first thing that came to my head, what can I say? Sure, they add some new things, new weapons, a bit more team oriented than the past, but other than that it's a lot of the same... and I'll be damned if that isn't a good thing. Halo Reach takes a few small steps to change things around and keep it fresh, but still keep intact that fantastic gameplay that has been with the series since it made its mark on the industry back when the original XBox was released.

Let me talk real quick about some of the new things... I have to mention that the new controller scheme is a lot better. I always hated when I would have to move and melee at the same time and play jungle gym. I would always take my pointer finger off the shoulder button and use it to press B. It was quite a sight, and it was certainly strange to hold the controller like that, but I got used to it. However, I'm glad the melee button is one of the shoulder buttons now, it just makes more sense. Aside from that, there are now different power options for your Spartan. You usually begin with Sprint, a basic ability that allows you to... you guessed it, sprint (and for those of you who don't know what that is and just think it's a cell phone company, it means to run fast). Although, later on you find other nifty abilities like an armor lock (which basically makes you invulnerable to damage for a short time or until you release the button), the jet-pack (very awesome, btw), and the bubble shield from Halo 3. Lots of cool stuff, and adds an extra layer of depth to the game too. The enemy AI has vastly improved as well. Elite's are even more brutal than usual, and every now and then even a well placed grunt can cause you some problems if you're unprepared.

The single player campaign is a lot of fun, and I thought it was surprisingly long (for a Halo game, at least). I think I clocked in about 8 hours, but then again I played on Heroic and was dying a lot and taking my time. I'm sure if I was on normal and just breezing through, I could have beaten it in 5 or 6. As I was saying though, the narrative is decent enough to move the game forward, and that's all that matters to me. It wasn't the best story in the world, and I didn't really care about any of my Spartan buddies (not even Kat), but still... you want a good story, read a book. It was good enough and I enjoyed it for what it was, and at least it wasn't complicated. I hate complicated stories in shooting games. Just point my gun to the next life that needs to be ended, and Reach was doing that for me quite well. Although they did add some little nods to previous games in the endings which made me happy, of course I won't spoil anything, but it's good stuff.

This game is really nice to look at. One may think it looks like just another Halo game, but it's not the major details that got an overhaul, but the minor ones. The assault rifle numbers look much sleeker, the details on the guns are simply insane, the fact that just about every gun with a scope can be used to see the level in front of you is just damn impressive. I think the only gun that has an empty scope is the DMR. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm a sucker for minor detailed graphics... it just impresses me when a developer goes through the trouble to make even the most minute things look good... it says something about them and their products, and that even something so small is important.

I love the music in this game... it was always getting me pumped to go RAMBO style on those covenant bastards. There's a lot of rocking tracks and all. The kind of stuff you'd expect from Halo, but I'm going to go as far as saying this has one of the best, if not the best, soundtrack of the series. The voice work is top notch, as to be expected from the constant high caliber voice work in the past entry's, as is the same with the sound effects. I think it's also interesting to note that the covenant don't speak english in this one, but have their own alien language that they speak. Perhaps this was in ODST, I don't know, I never played it, but it's new to me... so shoot me.

Now the part that everyone's been waiting for, the multiplayer. I've always been a huge fan of Halo's MP component, and Reach is no different. With tons of different game modes, including the Firefight mode of ODST (yes I know that much at least), and you have yourself non-stop options and different ways to entice yourself when playing online. I never had lag problems in game, and finding matches went extremely fast for me. Granted, I was playing the very popular stuff like Team Slayer, Team SWAT, and the not so often Team Objective. Either way, multiplayer is very enjoyable, and I'm sure if I had the cash to shell out for Xbox live, I wouldn't even have to pick up another game for at least a couple of months. Reach would keep me entertained for a bloody long time, without a doubt.

I should also mention that you can customize your spartan's look. I know, it's a silly thing to have in an FPS, where you will never see your character anyway, but it's nice to work towards something while you rack up points in SP and MP modes. Plus the additions look really cool. I can't lie, I always get excited when I buy a new armor piece with my credits and toss it on, then stare at my spartan while I wait around in the lobby, or whatever. All game developers are starting to pick up on the "quick awards equal quick addiction" pattern, and Halo is no different with this new feature. Gaming gods, bless the skinner box.

All in all, I really like Halo Reach... a lot. I hate that I have to pay Microsoft money to play online, especially since I don't have the money to spare. I'd like to play more online, but playing campaign again just doesn't seem like something I want to do. If you're into a strong MP experience, I highly suggest Reach. If you're the loner type and just want to play alone, might I suggest you wait until this game goes on sale, because there's not much there unless you're on XBox live. The SP campaign is a nice ride, a bit short, and leaves little reason to go back (unless it's with a friend on Xbox live).


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