wess's Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) review

The most well made, content-filled, yet frustrating Halo yet.

Halo: the franchise that almost single-handedly put an Xbox in millions of homes back when Microsoft first entered the gaming business has reached the final chapter under developer Bungie's watch.  While I have played every Halo game (with the exception of Halo Wars) and typically enjoy them, I never really got into them long term.  I usually play the campaign by myself, and on co-op once or twice, and maybe dabble in the multiplayer for a little while, and move on feeling good about the game in general.  Somehow, although I think in most every way Reach is probably the technically best Halo game yet, I did not have the same experience.
My experience with Reach was this: I played through once in co-op, messed around in firefight and the forge some, and attempted a solo legendary campaign run.  While I mostly enjoyed the campaign in co-op, I did get frustrated with the difficulty, especially towards the end.  To clarify, I was playing on legendary, and what annoyed me was not the sheer level of the difficulty, but rather the type of difficulty.  In my opinion, what Halo does best is having over the top, up close and personal, super aggressive combat, where the player is rewarded for getting in the enemies face and dishing out a special brand of Spartan brutality.  In Reach, however, I felt like the way you are meant to play the game is to take it slow, pick off enemies from afar one at a time, and take cover to recharge your shields every 3 seconds.  Things got even worse when I tried to play solo, and I eventually just started avoiding encounters when possible (which is way more than I expected), but then realize that there isn't much point in playing a game like Halo if you're avoiding all the combat.  Maybe I should have just lowered the difficulty, but like I said, the style of play just seemed off, and not like something that a lower difficulty would change.
That being said, when it wasn't frustrating, the campaign was actually pretty entertaining.  Pretty much all the weapons in Reach are useful in some way, and generally fun to use, and while it is a prequel, there are actually some new varieties of enemies - specifically there are different types of jackals that add some new variety to combat.  Many of the levels are well designed, and the characters and dialogue are probably the strongest yet in a Halo game.
Of course, it wouldn't be Halo without multiplayer.  Online co-op, firefight, forge, and competitive matchmaking all make a strong appearance, and if you were a fan of the features in Halo 3 and ODST, you won't be disappointed.  I've never been a huge player in Halo's online world, but Reach definitely has the goods for people who are.  Reach is definitely a big package, and each of the game's components are probably the best in the series, and while I personally struggled with the part of Halo games that I typically really enjoy, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this game to anyone who likes the franchise in general - especially if you mostly show up for the multiplayer.


Other reviews for Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)

    Will You Remember Reach? 0

    It has been a decade since the release of Halo: Combat Evolved, and still I think of it as one of the greatest first person shooters of all time. A true masterpiece of console gaming, Halo innovated the genre with regenerating shields, a two weapon limit, drivable vehicles, and console controls that didn't feel stiff and awkward. As groundbreaking as the game was, the FPS genre has come a very long way since 2000, and those features are all considered standard elements of modern games. Has Halo ...

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