Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ending with a Bang! Halo:Reach Review

Halo:Reach, Bungie’s supposed final farewell to the Halo franchise. The game takes place in the year 2552, just before the events of the game Halo: Combat Evolved. You take the role of Noble Six, a member of the Spartan super soldier squad known as Noble Team. Your objective is to prevent the invasion of the planet Reach against the alien Covenant. Reach is the heart of the United Nations Space Command’ s military power, home to the Spartan super soldiers, and home to a human colony. “ If Reach falls, little will stand between the Covenant and the complete and total annihilation of the human race.”

So now the question stands, did Bungie really go out with a bang with Halo Reach or was it just another Halo game? The answer is yes and no. In an open point of view Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo Reach but at the same time they did. An example would be Halo Reach’ s campaign. The campaign contains eleven total missions. On the difficulty of legendary and in a party of two through four the party could complete the campaign in an estimated eight to ten hours. Since Halo Reach is Bungie’ s “ grand finale” they should have made the game have more missions than any other Halo game out of the entire Halo franchise (which would be more than Halo 2 which had 15 total missions.) However even though the Halo Reach campaign was a bit short, its story line was exceedingly interesting and enjoyable to play. Things I would praise from the campaign would be of course the plot, the challenge of difficulty on legendary, the space combat mission, and the polished graphics.

Another example of how Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo Reach but at the same time did would be matchmaking/firefight. I must say after a few hundred games it does become the same Halo matchmaking from previous Halo titles but at the same time Halo:Reach does introduce a few new matchmaking features which make its matchmaking quite impressive. For example one of my new personal favorite matchmaking features is the social settings. This allows the server to pair you up with players who have the same social settings as you. You can choose from options such as chattiness (chatty or quiet), motivation (winning or having fun), teamwork (team player or lone wolf), and tone (polite or rowdy). Now its debatable if this setting efficiently works or not because I still get a reasonable amount of disrespectful, annoying t-baggers and trash-talkers during a matchmaking session. 

Another new personal favorite matchmaking feature would be the credit system and huge armor customization feature. In Reach after completing a game or forge session you receive credits depending on what you did and how well you did. For example you can complete daily and weekly challenges as well as commendation challenges which will reward you with sometimes big amounts of credits. Unlike pervious Halo matchmaking where you got one experience point per winning a game and it took over a hundred points to annoyingly rank up, you receive up to quadruple digits of credit points. These credits accumulate towards your rank and also act as a currency to purchase new armor permutations.

Other new matchmaking features in Reach would include weapon loadouts (which mimics the Call of Duty weapon loadout feature except there is no personal customization), armor abilities (which can be found in loadouts or across the map and used like perks for a limited time), the new voting feature (which gives you various maps and game types and allows you to vote for what game type and map you want to play during that session), and finally a new vast and diverse playlist (this includes one of the new game types called Invasion, a versus variant consisting of Spartans vs. Elites with one side attacking, the other side defending. As the game progresses and map objectives are completed, each opposing squad of six can access more powerful loadouts). Also Bungie brought back a newer version of Firefight, a game variant where you and three other players can take on waves of Covenant enemies.

Lastly, a final example of how Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo:Reach but at the same time did would be forge, custom games, theater, and player custom content. The forge feature has been greatly enhanced in Halo Reach. Techniques such as “ merging” and “ floating objects” have been made in to actual tools players can use by pulling up a menu. Also no longer will forgers spend countless hours trying to align two walls perfectly together. In forge the player is now able to use a ninety, forty five, and etc degree snap tool as well as a coordinate tool which allows players rotate and move their objects point by point. With these new tools the limitations of creativity have been greatly expanded. To go with these new tools Bungie designed a big new feature for forge. “ Forge World” a map designed specifically for forging was portrayed as this huge forgeable area where the sky was the limit. But after seeing it, that wasn’ t the case. Even though the map is extremely big there was found to be annoying limitations to where you can and can not forge. Also you are given a huge amount of objects and budget but yet there is a limit to how many certain objects can be placed on the map even if you have enough budget and the count of that object isn’ t depleted.

For the most part custom games and the theatre feature haven’ t changed much since Halo 3. Also player custom content for the most part has not changed except for the new feature where instead of going on to look up player custom content you now can look up most downloadable custom content straight from the Halo Reach menu itself. Although for the most part, the only most downloaded custom content you’ ll find screen shot wise are screen shots of Kat’ s ass or of nude anime chicks made out of forgeable objects.

For those who are fans of the Halo franchise I would definitely recommend adding this game to your collection. For those who are new to the franchise or sketchy of it at least rent it and give it a try. Although it didn’ t exactly meet up to its hype nor did it really reach its full potential Halo Reach was a great game. The game’ s story line was exceedingly interesting and enjoyable to play even though the campaign came out to be a bit short. I am disappointed that unlike the previous Halo games, Reach’ s final mission did not involve you driving in a vehicle while total chaos was around you but the space combat mission did make up for that. In addition the matchmaking system is definitely something new for the Halo franchise and is fun for a while but afterwards it does dull down to being your typical Halo matchmaking. Also the new forge features were a big enhancement to forge but the small amount of forgeable maps as well as the over hype of Forge World was also a dissatisfaction. Over, all my final verdict of Halo Reach is 8 out of 10 stars. Though only an 8/10, still definitely worth its sixty dollars.



  1. Not a huge fan of the Halo series, but I've heard nothing but good things about this version.

  2. i love reach's firefight.

    and gruntocalpyse nothing like that satisfying birthday surprise sound.

    good post man.

  3. Very thoughtful and thorough review. I still can't keep my hands off this game.