In Halo: Reach; players experience the fateful moments that forged the Halo legend. In one of the most anticipated games of 2010, a new Spartan will emerge unknown to become a legend.
The story revolves around Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers, and their final stand on the planet Reach. You will play as Noble 6 the newest member of the elite squad. Failure is not an option. Reach is humanity's last line of defense between the Covenant and Earth. In the darkest hour, a new hero will rise, but will Reach fall.
With improved graphics, characters and environments are rendered in amazing detail by an all-new engine designed to deliver epic-scale encounters against the alien war machine known as the Covenant.
The game includes a new single player campaign with the ability to be played online or offline in 4-player cooperative mode. Online multiplayer returns with a twist; jet packs, armor lock and the ability to cloak are only but a few of the newest additions. Read More
Paul Martin - Wednesday, October 13, 2010 XBox 360
The Halo franchise was born with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001. The game changed the first person shooter genre, as we knew it and has no doubt inspired recent creations of its genre including the Call of Duty and Bioshock series. Created by Bungie the gameplay, environments and storyline blew gamers minds becoming a global phenomenon overnight. The game immediately received near perfect reviews and made 'Master Chief' the main character of the story, one of the most renowned characters created in gaming history. In 2004 the sequel Halo 2 burst into limelight taking the fight back to the alien scum known as the covenant. Although the games storyline wasn't in the same league as the original, Bungie created one of the most appealing online multiplayer experiences ever created in the gaming universe. The game again received near perfect review scores on its release and was so popular it holds the title of best selling first generation xbox game with over 8 million copies sold worldwide. In 2007 the next chapter of the series, Halo 3 was unleashed on the next generation console. The games highlighted motto was "Finish the fight!" marking the final appearance of the renowned hero "Master Chief" and his efforts to stop the Covenant war machine. The story improved on its predecessor Halo 2, although still not delivering the same mind blowing, pulse racing impact of the original. The game also improved on its already successful online multiplayer delivering a more flawless and addictive experience. The game has become one of the most sought after games for the Xbox 360 with another set of perfect review scores and to this day still holds an online community into the many thousands. In conclusion of Halo 3 Bungie stated that it was the end of the road for 'Master Chief', but didn't end the series of Halo there providing another shooter Halo 3: ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper). The glorified expansion was a clone of Halo 3, only this time putting you into the hands of a human rookie in a squad of ODST's. The game was praised for a new perspective of events between Halo 2 and 3. Although short, it managed to expand the Halo saga and still provided massive profits for Bungie and Microsoft. Halo 3 ODST also included a new highly addictive multiplayer mode called Firefight, but still lacked the final touch and didn't receive as much praise from critics. Now, in 2010, Halo: Reach a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved has been released with Bungie promising to take the Halo franchise back to its former glory, have they managed to deliver that promise?
Halo: Reach takes place before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. The game is actually the events leading up to the opening sequences of the Halo franchise in 2001 and many well known faces make an appearance along the way. The story takes place on a human colonized planet known as Reach. Reach is invaded by alien's known as the Covenant and follows the actions of Noble Team and there efforts to defend Earth's only hope of survival. Noble Team is a squad of elite supersoldiers known as Spartans. The new hero branch focuses on Nobles newest member, Noble 6 a Spartan with the reputation of making entire enemy forces squads disappear, a legend that only one other Spartan holds (Master Chief). The opening sequences of the game show Noble 6's introduction to Noble before dispatched to investigate an outpost where communications have been lost. From that moment the story unfolds into a dramatic, edge of your seat, heart-racing shooter that lives up to Bungies promise to Halo fans. I don't really want to spoil what's in store for anybody that hasn't played the game, but it is one of the best storylines I've played in a long time. Bungie do a remarkable job in keeping the gamer intrigued throughout its 10 lengthy chapters, especially considering anyone with knowledge of prior games will most likely know the end result, or not be far off in there prediction. The story provides a great balance of emotion, drama, comedy and action, which is the campaigns main strengths allowing the gamer to comeback and complete it rather than lose interest. Overall the easiest way to describe Halo: Reach's storyline is one of those stories when it ends and the credits role up the screen, you will literally just be thinking 'wow!'
The gameplay is as expected from any Halo game its generally fast paced, run and gun although this time it has made some tweaks from its previous outings in the franchise. The game has now added ability perks such as jet packs, armor lock, sprint, cloak, evade and many more that only add to the strategic element of the game. Its a breathe of fresh air in many respects as it really does add a new layer to the whole online experience. At the start of the many online modes you will be given a list of abilities to choose from, making each player using that ability in some way to there strength. For example, Jet Packs will allow a player to reach certain platforms quicker or unreachable by those that opt with a different ability giving them advantage in the battlefield. Another example is Cloak will display multiple enemy targets on the enemies radar while leaving yourself invisible, this will allow you to tactically maneuver into the enemy stronghold or sneak up on unsuspecting foes. It really does allow the game to branch off from its original run and gun, pray and spray tactics as seen in the past. The control system of the game is Halo 3, why change something that isn't broken right? Its responsive and well mapped out across the pad there can be no complaints in regards to the control element of the game. The campaign of the game lasts for approx 10-12 hours depending on the difficulty setting you play on. Legendary difficulty has had a make over with enemy forces AI being as smart as ever. There are times when you'll think to yourself... "I can't believe the computer just did that", its human like at times. The enemy will take cover when being shot and charge you down if they know they have the upper hand in battle. It's brutal and is a great challenge for those that welcome one. Luckily there is the option to tone it down with Easy, Normal and Heroic, all which are well balanced for different skill level of gamers. The pacing of the campaign is slightly slow at the beginning, well by that I mean the first chapter and then fires from the heavens bombard you and all hell breaks loose leaving no dull moments throughout your playthrough. The level design of Reach is brilliant, and mind blowing at the same time. Bungie have taken all that was good from its original trilogy and combined them in some format throughout the game. The game also has a surprise addition throughout the game taking place in orbit, that's right folks a space battle. The chapter will opt the player in the cockpit of a 'Longsword', a spacecraft vessel much like an 'X-301' seen on 'Stargate SG1'. The battle takes place in orbit of Reach as you try to repel the covenant space assault. Considering Bungie haven't really done anything along the lines of a space battle in the franchise, they manage to do a pretty amazing job of this, with great controls (much like those of a Banshee) and gameplay throughout the process. Although there has been major changes or surprises seen in Halo: Reach there has also been some minor tweaks. Dual Wielding is no longer available and the return of Halo: Combat Evolved's health packs adds a twist in the heat of battle. These are not negatives about the game, but it makes me curious as to why Bungie removed dual wielding especially online. That said the game does provide new weapons and vehicles to keep the gameplay fresh. Matchmaking returns, better then ever allowing gamers to search for specific traits in other gamers, such as team player or those that opt for wearing there headsets. The online includes 12 maps, some which have been updated and tweaked from previous outings. All the major game modes return including Firefight, which has been updated with matchmaking allowing you to play new modes within the Firefight mode. Online servers provide great connections and throughout my weeks of playing Reach I have only encountered 1 game with lag, which by all means is exceptional. The newest feature that has alot of people talking is the ability to change your Spartans appearance. With many gizmos and gadgets to buy and equip onto your Spartans armor it leaves a unique feel rather than seeing the same old character model every game. The customization is very addictive and makes every game feel like your saving your game credits for the something special, perhaps a black visor or the ability to have sparks flying from your body when you die. It's a great, fun and as stated addictive new feature that is very welcome. A very cool, but small feature is your customized character model is carried throughout your campaign playthrough. This means all the cutscenes that include Noble 6 will include any custom items you have added to your Spartans armor, which is a very nice touch. The only small issue I do have with the customization element of the game is there is no ability to customize your Elites looks. Bungie have instead only giving you the option of just several non-customizable skins you will unlock as you rank up online. Forge mode has also returned with a major update. The ability to make maps from scratch in a huge environment then share your creations online or download other users creations is a great addition. The beautiful thing about the Forge mode is that it's ridiculously simple to build and create new maps with the tools Bungie have given you to explore. The gameplay overall offers massive amounts of replayability yet for the same price as other games that wont even offer a molecule of the amount of time that can be spent in Halo: Reach. The game is a monster in size and Bungie should be proud of their latest and last Halo installment to the franchise.
The graphics have been given a major refurb. The smallest details have been added to weapons and armor making it the best looking Halo game yet. Although admittedly the game doesn't outshine the likes of Mass Effect 2 in the character model department the game does still look stunning. The environments are vast and offer a massive scale to unleash mayhem on or offline. The orbit mission allows the game to shine in many ways you thought a Halo game wouldn't have been able to and with the amount of new additions to the game it is a surprisingly great looking game. Bungie have given a great amount of time to include the detail and it shows throughout cut scenes and landscapes.
Although I wasn't impressed at first about the Noble Team's voices, especially Kat I managed to warm up to the characters almost as though you would a teammate in real life. This only signifies the level of voice acting Bungie have included in the game. As you playthrough the campaign you will feel the drama that goes with it through Nobles squad's voices allowing the game to shine on a whole new level. The music as expected is amazing, kicking the punch when anything happens allowing you to fill with emotion whether it is adrenaline for action or sadness when something dramatic occurs. Another nice trick Bungie included was old character favourites returning from the previous Halo games, but with their original voice making it feel authentic. Overall the game sounds superb allowing the gamer feel that every bit more part of the story.
Halo Reach would be a fantastic purchase to add to any gamer's collection. The sheer amount of content available whether it be on or offline is amazing considering what other developers include in their games for the same price. The story is rich, interesting and has you on the edge of your seat through later periods of the game. The online is every bit as fun as the previous outings with new additions and tweaks making it feel new and fresh. The audio and visuals allow the game to flow much like you would expect in a movie, which I can only offer praise to Bungie for creating such a well presented finished article. Halo Reach includes something for every gamer its simply sublime and lives up to Bungies promise of restoring the Halo franchise to its perfection reputation. The game is a must buy, and if you don't your only missing out! 9.9/10
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