bludgeoner86's Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) review

The Sequel That is a Prequel

     Halo Reach is the 5th game in the Halo universe. It is a prequel that sets up the events leading up to the first Halo. This is also the last Halo game that Bungie will develop. With Bungie's final farewell they went out with a bang improving the game in every way possible. However, if you were never a fan of Halo this game won't change your mind but if you are a fan (you've probably already played it) and haven't played it yet you will enjoy it.

     The single player campaign is great and has no doubt benefited from the gameplay refinements over the other games in the series. There have been tweaks to the gameplay. The weapons are the best in the series. There is no weak weapon, well other than the grenade launcher which is pretty much worthless. Also the game takes the item system (like drop shield) from the other games and makes them a permanent fixture of your armor almost making the game seem class based in a way. The armor abilities are sprint (which allows you to sprint for a short period of time), armor lock (this makes you invincible to damage for a short time with the drawback of being immobile through the whole process), bubble shield, and a jetpack (which allows you to fly). The controls are tight and responsive like always and the armor abilities add another layer to an already stellar game. The campaign's story is probably the best since the first game if not better. It's focused and simple but very strong. If you care about the Halo story then the campaign will satisfy your needs. It's not super long but a good length, and of course there are four difficulty levels to play it on. You can also play it 4 player co-op and you can also activate skulls which will further up the difficulty.

     The multiplayer is good as usual. The armor abilities from the single player are also in the multiplayer game. There aren't a lot of maps but that is constantly changing. Bungie is also adding forge maps (user made maps) into the playlists free of charge. For the first time if there is a map pack that you don't have you won't get shut out of certain game modes, you'll just get sorted into separate groups that don't include those maps.

     Adding even more replayability to the game is the inclusion of challenges into the game. There are multiplayer and single player challenges such as “get 100 kills in a day” that earn you credits and raise your rank. Credits are also used to buy pieces of armor to get a custom look for your character. This is a great idea because it gives you incentive to play through multiplayer or even single player or firefight many times just to earn credits. I know it's gotten me to play through the campaign more than once and even play firefight a lot more than I had anticipated.

     Halo Reach is a fantastic finale for Bungie. The game is refined. The graphics and gameplay shine, this is definitely the complete package. I don't think this game will convert those who don't like Halo but I think it will spark their interest more than the other games in the series.

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