Bungie Loves You
Halo is by far one of my favourite franchises around however; I wouldn’t consider myself a fanboy. ODST disappointed and in my eyes Halo CE is still by far the best in the series. The big question that lingered in my head is would the last true Halo game leave my feeling good about the series.
Halo Reach takes place before any of the original games on the outlying fortress planet of Reach. You take the place of new recruit NOBLE Six who despite what I thought is not quite a silent protagonist but more of a shy one. Joining Noble Team puts you in a variety of combat scenarios as with any of the previous games. However, the whole game has a slightly different feel and it’s hard to put your finger one why. The story is that of a team of Spartans fighting to defend Reach as the Covenant invade but a few little twists help it from feeling too detached from the rest of the series.
The gameplay hasn’t changed much from any of the other games although a few tweaks make it feel a fresher and deeper experience. The main change is the armour abilities which are a variation on the equipment available in Halo 3. This time it is all built into your armour and a quick press of the left bumper activates things varying from active camouflage to a jet pack. A new set of weapons and the odd new vehicle also help make interesting changes. The only issue I see with the gameplay is if you are not a fan of the Halo franchise chances are you won’t like this one either. The campaign will last you about 10 hours and the odd vehicle level keeps it from getting it old and it is a brilliant Halo experience to boot.
Multiplayer has always been a big part of the Halo experience and Reach pulls out all the stops. A new experience system has helped bring the series up to date and the ability to change the cosmetics of your armour gives you a reason to strive for that next level. Daily challenges also make a debut giving you a set of challenges to complete each day for bonus experience. Bungie have always excelled in matchmaking and other multiplayer features and everything runs really smoothly here. This honestly feels like the most complete Halo multiplayer experience and it seems like a love letter from Bungie to their fans.
Forge is back in Reach and in a really big way with whole structures available for use when editing maps. Forge world is a huge map which turns forge into a basic map editor and will no doubt produce some amazing maps from the community. The odd tweak here and there greatly improves forge and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it. Firefight also returns from ODST but this time it feels like a complete experience instead of a quick add on. You can tweak every little aspect of the game to make it as easy or as hard as you want and it’s a load of fun.
Overall Halo Reach is the perfect love letter from Bungie to its fans and one of the best Halo experiences. At the end of the day if you don’t like Halo it won’t change your mind but there is no denying that this is an amazing game.