Halo:Reach – The Review
Halo: Reach is a prequel, taking place before a parasite-like enemy threatened Earth and mankind, before humanity fought to defend the planet Reach. Don't be fooled by Halo: Reach being a prequel; it's not more of the same thing. Halo: Reach is a masterpiece of a video game, which takes everything that was positive about its previous instalments and improves upon them, and adds more nuances of its own to make it a proper video-game in its own right.
The game has improved upon most if not all aspects of online play, allowing you to peruse friends' service records and invite them to your party with ease. Entering a mode, tweaking options, and starting up a match is seamless and made quick and painless. The menus are so accessible that it will allow you to easily explore different modes, use customization tools and browse through user-created content without feeling lost. No matter how you look at it, Halo: Reach is packed with great content, meaning value for money and a lasting gaming experience.
Whether you choose to play solo or cooperatively with up to four players, you take the role of the newest member of Noble team and play through a storyline that Halo veterans already know the outcome of. Despite this, the story is carefully told and answers a lot of questions that fans may have had. This is not to say that you must have played previous games in the series to fully appreciate the story; the urgency of the plot is brilliantly conveyed whether you have any previous knowledge of the series or not.
The story is driven mostly by your squad-mates, who all have unique personalities that succeed in keeping you emotionally attached to their plight. The story does come with some clichés and a few moments which you could see coming a mile away, but the story is earnest and filled with a real heart that is hard to find in games today.
The world you play in is brought to life with an amazing eye for detail, giving the player a real sense of what is at stake if they don't succeed. Players will traverse rural farmlands to military outposts, to dry, rocky landscapes to battered ghettos. But these levels mean more than just eye-candy; they also allow for some diversity. As in all Halo games, you can commandeer vehicles to help get around and controlling them is a real joy, without any of the controls feeling clunky, just smooth like the rest of the game.
Another mode that should gain a lot of attention is the Firefight mode, where up to four players can take on wave after wave of difficult enemies, but the difference here is that this time, the mode comes with full online functionality. If you want to tweak one of the options or create an entirely new way of playing, it's almost ridiculously easy to play the game the way you want to. You also have the option to indicate whether you prefer playing with team players rather than loners or whether you want to talk while playing rather than keeping silent.
Another mode that is worthy of mention is the Forge, which acts as an in-depth creation tool where you can build brand new levels or just edit existing ones. It helps ensure that the game will never become stale as there's bound to be plenty of new user-created content available for download in the future, just as there has been since its introduction in Halo 3.
The Bottom Line: Halo: Reach will please both newcomers as well as Halo veterans, doing more than enough to keep what could have been stale game play fresh and a real joy to play. The game is filled with endless possibilities with the wide variety of modes to play around with, an engaging story-line, fast and frantic multi-player modes both online and offline as well as a slick menu that makes sure that customization is a breeze. It's a real must for shooter fans everywhere. If you have yet to play a game in the Halo series, you cannot go wrong with Halo: Reach.