reaching out at the end
The last halo developed by series creators Bungie, takes a step back thematically and literally to produce a game that creates a solo player game that’s thrilling and effecting, a multiplayer game that’s wide open and full with a creative mode that is deeper then any other on console game that’s come before.
Upon starting up halo reach for the first time you’re faced with the option to customise your Spartan, picking a helmet, colour scheme and even gender. This all seems pretty much like what you have seen before in the multiplayer modes of halo 3, but the customisation in reach goes much deeper, allowing for selection of multiple parts and the Spartan you create here is with you till the end. Starring not only in the multiplayer side of things but also through the whole story. It’s a nice touch that brings you a little closer to noble 6’s story. Noble 6 is a new member of noble team, replacing a lost squad member just before the team heads out to investigate apparent rebel action on the planet reach.
This games story is set literally seconds before the start of the original halo on Xbox and pc. Telling the tale of the human inhabitants first encounters with the covenant on reach and the planets eventual fall to them.
The opening few levels do well to introduce you to the team, but feel a little slow to pick up, Even as late as the half way point your left with a terrible feeling of both disappointment at the lack of story movement, and the originality in the level design and plotting. This is sadly added too if you are a fan of the series and you already know what the ending is likely to be. This is in the long run a blessing, building up tension for the final larger scale events. The second half of the story becoming a tour de force of game play challenges and ideas and the story it self becoming the simmering, but still emotionally effecting tale the noble team needs to be in.
The time you start to see team members come across trouble, until there’s barely anything left is extra effecting, one moment especially is so bluntly sudden that you are take by shock and surprise.
The ending too, creating a moment that will be remembered as a high point in the halo saga for Bungie.
But as I say the Spartan you create is more then just your eyes for reaches story, but you vessel for its multiplayer modes.
The multiplayer has been deeply improved upon in reach. Adding new game modes and many, many more options to create permutations of them. The options for playlists now much more refined and the wide range of games on show, although featuring some turkeys (infection and its many, many variants) is always bringing up fun game modes to play with and in. The main issue with matchmaking now is the lack of control over what you play. People in a lobby now get a vote on what to play from a list of 3, or a vote for a second selection instead. This is much better then the veto option from 3 but still leaves a little to be desired. If someone wants to play a game of multiplayer matchmaking head-hunter, there’s no way to create or find a game of that with random players. Leaving you to sit and wait for the chance of it appearing and all those in the room with you to choose it too. Which they are often unlikely too.
Also improved upon in the multiplayer area is fire fight. Added originally for last years highly underrated, ODST this mode now allows for not only matchmaking, but also a wealth of customisation and has in it variants on the games fire fight mode.
Now having generator defense and rocket fight as added modes.
These do breath life into the mode, but the levels in which the game takes place seem a little ill suited to the mode on the whole and sometimes fire fight can lack a little focus.
Also now expanded upon is the forge mode. Forge mode is still available in all of the multiplayer levels, but also has its own “forge world” level for you to play around in.
The tool set is much improved this time around allowing for highly creative manipulation of almost all aspects of level building and game creation set up possible.
The whole kit is incredibly deep and can rival games even like little big planet for creative possibilities. Forge world it self is also massive in scope allowing of many permutations of game creation and play. Its going to be a while till we see anything totally mind blowing, but when the community gets full to grips with the kit its likely to be unlike anything seen before in halo or many other games.
Overall reach is a mixed package. Its does exactly what you would expect from a halo game, and improves on almost all areas of halo 3 drastically. Some story elements aren’t what they could have been and it lacks some of the heart that was in the originality of ODST, but suffers not because of it. It’s still an emotional roller-coaster while the solo game lasts and a deep and completely addictive game in the multiplayer. The icing on the cake is the addition of the forge world and improved forge options, which make nearly any creative idea a possibility without punishing the player with hours of toil.
At £40.00 (£55.00 special edition) reach is totally worth picking up, short lived for solo, but much more if you bring friends