Halo: Reach Cutscenes Review

I know there's going to be a ton of user reviews out there, but what's really blown me away about the Halo:Reach campaign is how well the cutscenes are put together in comparison to the rest of the series.  NO SPOILERS here at all, as I'll be talking about the structure and quality of the cutscenes rather than what actually happens in the game.  I haven't even finished the campaign, so I do not plan on ruining the experience for anyone.

The opening cinematic to the game is one of the more impressive ways that I've seen a game setting up the mood and tone of the story.  Overall, it's very similar to the first trailer of the game.  This is a grittier Halo experience than we're used to, and we're aware that it's not going to end well if we know anything about the Halo universe.  Given that reality, we get a wonderful set up to the campaign and a real feeling that we're part of a team.
 
Later on in the campaign, I was amazed by how Bungie decided to really show us the planet of Reach in all it's glory.  Most Halo games have involved Master Chief zipping around the galaxy to a wide variety of locations.  This has often happened at a frenetic pace.  I was very impressed how the cutscenes in Reach take their time to show the player the different environments and eco-system of the planet; it helps us to empathize with the ending that we know is coming.
 
Finally, I was surprised and pleased with some of the techniques used for the grand vistas we're treated to.  Rather than trying to render everything in-engine with polygons like in the past Halo games, Bungie seems to have gone with a more concept art/digital matte painting technique in Reach.  The level of detail in the background images in the cutscenes is astounding, and you really want to be able to take some screenshots so you can enjoy the detail later on.  
 
This amount of detail really brings the player much more into the experience, and we get more invested in the story.  I can remember the scene from the Halo 3 campaign where the Arc is uncovered.  Because it was done in the game engine, it really seemed dull and uninteresting.  That same scene made with the techniques used in Reach would have made it a much more  immersive moment.
 
There are other games out there that have more impressive graphical power, but Reach is very smart in the way it uses its resources to bring the player deeper into the campaign.  I couldn't wait for the next cutscene to treat me to something new.

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Benjo

I know there's going to be a ton of user reviews out there, but what's really blown me away about the Halo:Reach campaign is how well the cutscenes are put together in comparison to the rest of the series.  NO SPOILERS here at all, as I'll be talking about the structure and quality of the cutscenes rather than what actually happens in the game.  I haven't even finished the campaign, so I do not plan on ruining the experience for anyone.

The opening cinematic to the game is one of the more impressive ways that I've seen a game setting up the mood and tone of the story.  Overall, it's very similar to the first trailer of the game.  This is a grittier Halo experience than we're used to, and we're aware that it's not going to end well if we know anything about the Halo universe.  Given that reality, we get a wonderful set up to the campaign and a real feeling that we're part of a team.
 
Later on in the campaign, I was amazed by how Bungie decided to really show us the planet of Reach in all it's glory.  Most Halo games have involved Master Chief zipping around the galaxy to a wide variety of locations.  This has often happened at a frenetic pace.  I was very impressed how the cutscenes in Reach take their time to show the player the different environments and eco-system of the planet; it helps us to empathize with the ending that we know is coming.
 
Finally, I was surprised and pleased with some of the techniques used for the grand vistas we're treated to.  Rather than trying to render everything in-engine with polygons like in the past Halo games, Bungie seems to have gone with a more concept art/digital matte painting technique in Reach.  The level of detail in the background images in the cutscenes is astounding, and you really want to be able to take some screenshots so you can enjoy the detail later on.  
 
This amount of detail really brings the player much more into the experience, and we get more invested in the story.  I can remember the scene from the Halo 3 campaign where the Arc is uncovered.  Because it was done in the game engine, it really seemed dull and uninteresting.  That same scene made with the techniques used in Reach would have made it a much more  immersive moment.
 
There are other games out there that have more impressive graphical power, but Reach is very smart in the way it uses its resources to bring the player deeper into the campaign.  I couldn't wait for the next cutscene to treat me to something new.

Edited by The_Laughing_Man

We are reviewing cutscenes now? 
 
Is that over blur stuff still an issue with people? 

Posted by HistoryInRust

I definitely think you're right about Bungie's decision to go in a more matte-painting direction. And I agree that it looks a lot better. 

Posted by Benjo
@The_Laughing_Man: Did you actually read my post, or you just being a troll?
Posted by The_Laughing_Man
@Benjo said:
" @The_Laughing_Man: Did you actually read my post, or you just being a troll? "
Did you read mine? I asked a valid question. Did you find the blur of the games/cutsence a issue. 
Posted by Yummylee
@The_Laughing_Man said:
" We are reviewing cutscenes now?  Is that over blur stuff still an issue with people?  "
Least with Starcraft 2 it would make sense...HEYOO!
Posted by Agent47CSim2
@The_Laughing_Man said:
" @Benjo said:
" @The_Laughing_Man: Did you actually read my post, or you just being a troll? "
Did you read mine? I asked a valid question. Did you find the blur of the games/cutsence a issue.  "
I never noticed any blur in the cutscenes, so no I guess not. 
 
OT: I agree with you, some of the cutscenes are amazing and gave me a big chill down my spine.
Posted by big_jon

Some of the best I have ever seen.
Posted by Benjo
@The_Laughing_Man said:
" @Benjo said:
" @The_Laughing_Man: Did you actually read my post, or you just being a troll? "
Did you read mine? I asked a valid question. Did you find the blur of the games/cutsence a issue.  "
Sorry about being snippy.  I didn't see you question at first.  There is always a quick fade to black before the gameplay starts back up, which is a little disappointing.  You do get a little jarred out of the experience of the cutscene when it's obvious that the game needs to load the game area.  Several of the cutscenes zoom down to the typical Halo POV as well, but then you still see a fade to black before playing.  That kind of stinks, but I'd rather have well produced cutscenes with a transition to gameplay then poor scenes that are all in-engine.
Posted by The_Laughing_Man
@Benjo said:
" @The_Laughing_Man said:
" @Benjo said:
" @The_Laughing_Man: Did you actually read my post, or you just being a troll? "
Did you read mine? I asked a valid question. Did you find the blur of the games/cutsence a issue.  "
Sorry about being snippy.  I didn't see you question at first.  There is always a quick fade to black before the gameplay starts back up, which is a little disappointing.  You do get a little jarred out of the experience of the cutscene when it's obvious that the game needs to load the game area.  Several of the cutscenes zoom down to the typical Halo POV as well, but then you still see a fade to black before playing.  That kind of stinks, but I'd rather have well produced cutscenes with a transition to gameplay then poor scenes that are all in-engine. "
When the game came out a lot of people where saying they over used motion blur. 
 
As for "Reviewing cutsense" Its a joke. I guess you did not hear. But Blizzard wants to package and SELL the SC2 cutsences. 
Posted by wefwefasdf

The cutscene where the Elites drop in was awesome. I was ready to kick some Covenant ass after that rock music started. :P