Does it "Reach" expectations?
Halo: Reach is the final installment in the series by Bungie, and is actually a prequel to the events of the first Halo. You follow Noble Team, a UNSC special operations unit composed of elite super soldiers known as Spartans. Players assume the role of an unnamed new addition to the team, identified by the call sign Noble 6. During the campaign, players will experience the fall of Reach, and humanity's heroic yet desperate struggle to save Reach from the brutal alien attackers.
Halo: Reach's campaign features the same difficulty levels as its predecessors and depending on which one you play the game on, it'll be around 6-12 hours. Noble 6 will get paired up with other members of his squad, and I noticed the AI hasn't really changed that much, although there was this one case where the AI drove right into a tree and I had to take over for him.
But for the rest they behave just as you would expect them to do: occasionally shoot an alien and 75% of the time wait until you've cleared the way. The Halo series hasn't been really big on huge plot twists along the way, but when playing through Reach I found there were some pretty interesting twists to keep me entertained. I feel safe to say that this is the most interesting of the Halo games for me, the rest of Noble Team emotes enough for me to actually feel like they have a personality and aren't just Generic Spartan Marine 1-5. Graphically speaking this is also undoubtedly the best looking Halo, which runs on a smooth 60 FPS for about 80% of the time. But when things got very hectic and things were exploding I still could see a drop in framerate, although it doesnt last long enough to be annoyed with it.
If you've played ODST, its likely that you've played the Firefight mode: Firefight pits you against waves of Covenant attackers and its up to you and your squadmates to fend them off and last for as long as you can. The further you get into this mode, the enemies will become stronger and more "Skulls" will activate, putting you at a larger disadvantage, but in return your scoring will be multiplied for all the actions you do after this. A welcome addition is that you can now play this mode with people on xbox live, instead of just friends like in ODST, even though most people will still prefer to play this mode with friends.
However, chances are pretty high that you're mainly interested in the competitive multiplayer. And so far it's most definitely what you're used to in Halo but with the addition of the armor skills like Sprint, Jetpack and Armor lock, which give the multiplayer a different twist as most of them are useful for different gametypes/situations.
Instead of getting a predetermined map and gametype when matchmaking, players will be able to vote on 2/3 different map/game combinations and even if those aren't to any one's liking, you just vote for a new selection of possibilities. So with this system the chances are high you'll find a gametype which most people will enjoy playing. Just playing any of Reach - Be it multiplayer or singleplayer -, players will earn Credits which will go towards unlocking new armor pieces although you won't exactly have time to admire other players' outfits since you'll just be constantly trying to murder them. In addition to this, you can also unlock new voices which will play during Firefight. And yes, Master Chief's voice is an option.
Say you were to get bored from just shooting people in the head, and wish to make a nice map for your friends to play on. That or just make a map which is basically just a mess of explosions and and plasma flying everywhere, then the Forge mode will allow you to do both of these things and alot more. Players will be able to make fun maps for custom games which will undoubtedly increase the lifetime of the multiplayer significantly.
ConclusionEven if the Halo series hasn't been your thing, I'd still urge you to at least give Reach a try. The singleplayer by will keep you entertained for about 7-12 hours, let alone the countless hours you might put into the Multiplayer/Forge Mode. This is also the last Halo game that Bungie it'll be making, and it feels like a good game to finish off with, because everything from Halo 3 has been polished and slightly improved upon for maximum enjoyment.
Even though Halo: Reach is most certainly not a groundbreaking/innovative game, it does what Halo does well: the shooting feels good, and the movement feels smooth (especially with the Sprint "perk"). In short I'd say you give Halo: Reach at least a try, even if Space Marines aren't your kind of thing.