master_prophet's Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) review

Bungie's Final Halo Installment Is A Mixed Bag.

I'm sure I'll get a lot of crap here for "hating on Halo"...but truth be told...Halo: Reach is not a perfect game...not by even a longshot. 
I'm disappointed in literally every review I've read for this game.  Reviews have not only praised this game for being the best in the franchise (which it's not), but also have praised this game up for having a great single player (or Co-Operative) campaign...which it also is lacking in.  One of the main reasons I've enjoyed the Halo series over the years would be within it's epic storytelling elements.  Yet here, there's really no reason to make the story of Reach plausible.  Any hardcore fan of this series knows that Reach falls, so what's the point?    
There's also no single memorable moment from the campaign.  I mean hell, even Halo 3 had the awesome scarab fights.  Here, moments that should be quite awesome get turned down by cheap deaths or questionable plot holes.  For example, since when can the banshee be brought into outer space?  Did I miss the memo on that one?   Sure, a Halo fan can argue that there are "sealed" Banshee's, but lets think about that for a second.  If there were sealed Banshee's, the why do they disappear in the previous three games that take place after this prequel?   This is just one of the many plot holes you'll come to question while playing through the campaign.  
I'd also like to point out, I played through this campaign on Legendary (that's right all you reviewers out there who played on Heroic...what were you doing?), and I clocked in the final credits at about seven hours of play.  That's  What were reviewers doing on heroic for twelve hours?  I'll never understand that one.  Granted I played the campaign through in co-op...but still.   
Which leads me to another gripe....why is it that everyone in co-op campaign plays as Noble 6?   Seriously, when Bungie announced this game I was expecting some awesome choices on characters to play as...yet none of those characters even get cool stories here.   I mean hell, the storytelling was better in last year's smaller paced "ODST" game.  Look, Bungie, if you wanted to create a great co-op campaign with some cool characters, why didn't you let us play as them?   It just seems more and more, from a campaign stand-point, that Bungie dropped the ball and became lazy...choosing a story that's already been told in a novel form almost ten years ago.  
The final gripe I'll throw out about the campaign, before I move on to the positive elements of this game here, will be that of enemy a.i. difficulty.  I, along with everyone else, will continue to praise Bungie for creating some of the most advanced A.I. in the video game world.  However in Reach, that's not the case.  Here we don't get advanced A.I., but rather we get enemies that take and deal more damage without actually being smarter.  Elite's never took mor ethen a shot or two with any good weapon, yet here they take more damage then you will ever expect...and it's really disheartening when you die to a grunt after one shot.  To have that happen a dozen times during the campaign...that's inexcusable. 
But Halo: Reach isn't all bad and disappointment.   Firefight makes it's return from last year's "ODST" and it is just as fun and addiction as it was, with it being noted that now it is fully customizable.  But multiplayer is where the real meat of this game is. 
The first thing you will notice is that literally every multiplayer map is a variant of a campaign level.  While some may like this, I found this to be extremely lazy on Bungie's part.  Seriously...Halo 3 was much more diverse in that department.  With that said, this game introduces armor abilities, such as Armor Lock, Jetpack, Sprinting, Rolling, and the ever elusive hologram to name a few.  These are welcome addictions and actually don't piss me off as much as they did in the terrible beta from a few months back.  Also, literally every gripe I had with the beta was fixed, leaving me to believe Bungie at least cares about leaving this game with immense re-playability.  With the new credit system, taken from a kind of "Call of Duty" like stance, Halo: Reach's mutliplayer is as addictive as the past installments, which will leave players like me playing for years to come.  
I will also note that Forge makes a return, as well as the ability to save and share videos.  Bungie did release a full package. 
You can say what you want about Halo: Reach, but once you get past the absurd hype, I have to say it is without a doubt the weakest of the Halo games.  With a disappointing campaign and a story full of plot holes and questions, it leaves me to wonder why Bungie said that "It was necessary to take a step aside from Master Chief to tell this story".   While I will play this game for the next few years because it is a true Halo game, I can't help but feel let down that it isn't as good or as much of a quality product that I would come to expect from Bungie.  Bungie, I love you guys, but seriously, was this the best you could offer us for your final game?  I can only hope that 343 Studios picks up the story of Master Chief for Halo 4...

Posted by burjeffton--defunct

I have to agree with your review. I've played through the game and I'm still wondering why the scores have been so high. It's the same formula - although very well polished. Sports games get trashed for putting out more highly polished versions of the previous game... When you compare the story, voice acting and breadth of a game like Red Dead, it's hard to understand all the Halo scores.

Posted by tskunk

The difference between doing the campaign solo and co-op is probably the difference between 7 and 12 hours! :P
I know I spent over an hour on a single mission by myself yesterday as I died like 10+ times >.> And not having a teammate to spawn at and save me restarting from checkpoint did not help.

Posted by Trylks

"  and it's really disheartening when you die to a grunt after one shot.  To have that happen a dozen times during the campaign...that's inexcusable" 
That's the problem with the legendary mode, it's harder not by throwing more enemies or making them smarter, they just set their hit points to a higher value and yours to a lower value, that's all. That's why I may never play on legendary mode, it's exasperating, I won't play online since my connection sucks, that renders the game rather crippled. 

Posted by darkknightbob

If it doesn't have cortana getting bent over and Violated what's the point?

Posted by Gamer_152

I feel like this review is lacking a lot, if you think the AI is bad and the campaign is too short then I'd have to disagree with you but I respect your point, however you didn't even talk about the graphics or sound in the game. Also, for the record there are some solid arguments for how Banshees could be used in space, but my real problem is that you criticise the game for needlessly trying to make its events plausible but then write a whole paragraph nitpicking over a single plot-hole.

Posted by Master_Prophet
@Gamer_152:  Firstly, I simply pointed out in great detail one of the many plot holes of the game.  I could have easily pointed out every single plot hole, but who wants to read an eight page review for a game?  Secondly, I didn't say the AI was necessarily bad, it's just cheap.   The graphics and sound in the game are about on the same level as the previous Halo games, so I didn't feel the need to mention that.  There isn't anything in Reach that wowed me graphically.   If you want to see a graphically amazing game, check out Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.   And the sound is what you would expect from a Halo game, quality.
Posted by Gamer_152
@Master_Prophet: It's not that you pointed out a potential plot hole, it's that as I mentioned before you criticise the game for trying to make a plausible story and then criticise the game for being implausible, your gripe with plot holes is a direct contradiction of what said only a few sentences before. You also shouldn't assume that if you say nothing about an aspect of the game the reader will assume that the aspect is the same as it was in previous games. Even if you there's no need to go into great detail about certain aspects of a game, sound and graphics are fundamental components of all video games and even in situations where the graphics and sound are of the same quality as they were before the reader won't know that if you don't tell them.

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    In November of 2001, a launch title for the original Xbox named Halo: Combat Evolved forever changed the controls and impact of the home console first-person shooter. Nine years later, developer Bungie had grown the series into one of the most successful and recognizable franchises in the entire industry, becoming a household name nearly rivaling Mario. 2010 saw Bungie's final game in the series that they will create, crafting an origin story to Combat Evolved; appropriately ending the developer...

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