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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Microsoft Game Studios

 

Developer

Bungie

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 14, 2010

 

 

- Huge upgrade on enemy AI/tactics

- Downright gorgeous looking game

- Ton of selectable options and modifiers

 

 

- Another quiet main character? Seriously?

- Weak character development and too short campaign

 

 

Review: Halo 3 (360)

Review: Master Chief (Halo 2) AFR

Review: Cortana (Halo 3) AFR

 

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Halo: Reach

Score: 9.5 / 10

 

 

halo reach          halo reach

 

With the blitz that comes with Q4 for gamers, Bungie puts out another masterpiece early. Besides the obvious lack of good sales competition at this time of year for releases, it helps Halo: Reach stand out even further without any game this anticipated being released in the weeks surrounding it (discounting the fervent followers of Civilization V of course). A treat for all the senses and connoisseurs of

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- Xbox 360 Game Reviews

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FPS’s the world around, the Halo franchise has really stood apart from the crowd bringing both multiplayer fanatics as well as those who prefer their gaming solo to the same table.

Returning once again to the Halo universe, Reach tells a tale prior to the storyline of the titular game and shows you what a group of Spartans are capable of as opposed to just

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Master Chief. The battle for Reach has been only alluded to in previous games, and now you are given the opportunity to experience an oppressive invasion from the Covenant from the ground. Taking control of newly added member Noble 6, you join an existing squad of Spartan IIs and IIIs just as the invasion begins. From investigation of the initial expeditionary force to the eventual arrival of the main force and evacuation of the populace, you spend the entire game being reminded that you are a mere individual up against a massive and highly motivated enemy.

Besides the usual visual upgrades that we’ve come to expect from each version of the Halo franchise, Bungie made some huge strides in improving the weaponry of the game. The previously odd Battle Rifle no longer burst fires a three-shot cluster into an enemy, but has now become a mid-range weapon that exceptionally decapitates unsuspecting enemies with precision. The armor upgrade system allows you to take along an upgrade that best suits your fighting style – sprint (for those who like to close distance even more rapidly or escape from heavy fire) armor lock (allows you to deflect most enemy fire momentarily at the expense of remaining stationary), drop shield (throws out the bubble shield), jet pack (for would be rocketmen), holographic decoy (to annoy those damn snipers), and active camouflage (for those damn snipers).

 

halo reach          halo reach

 

The main campaign is 10 missions of high pressure combat that can be tackled alone or with up to 3 friends in Co-operative mode. While single player is very challenging and a lot of fun, it’s always been more fun to run through the game with friends and easier to justify ramping up the difficulty when there’s more of you… not that you will need to really crank it up quickly to get a good workout from the opposition.

The enemy AI has been drastically improved, and by drastically improved, gone are all of the previous exploitable quirks that we’ve come to know and abuse. To best punctuate this, my best friend who is best described as a Halo Viking (runs in and pillages the enemy like a berserker) and myself (the rock… I shoot, if someone is stupid enough to enter melee distance I might hit the button to swing my weapon, but odds are I’ve already stabbed them with bullets) died 3 times on the first level. EACH! That’s never happened before! Enemies will now flank and support each other, and trying to cut apart their lines by running into them is now the most successful way of getting yourself killed. By the end of the game we both had to drastically change our combat styles – he now actually waits for my shooting to open up lanes for him and I now will rush the enemy pocket to try and break it up (still feels weird to run in).

Besides the usual ground-pounding combat that we’ve all come to love, there are a ton of vehicle missions – warthogs and mongooses (or mongeese I guess would be the plural) on the ground, aerial missions in the Falcon, and my personal favorite mission was in the Sabre fighting in space.

The multiplayer modes for Reach are chock full of options and game modes for people to jump into. For those who like Firefight – you can play with friends locally, or join up with strangers in matchmaking. Once you’ve decided who to play with, there’s classic versus modern; then different modifiers of each of those… then different kits to choose from once you’ve gotten all that decided. Want casual or hardcore competition? How about trash talk? Needless to say, there’s a mode for each mood. Now repeat all that with Oddball, Slayer, Team Slayer, Assault, Capture the Flag, Headhunter, Infection, Invasion, Juggernaut, King of the Hill, Race, Stockpile, and Territories (huge exhale)… you could play for two weeks straight and still not experience it all.

 

halo reach          halo reach

 

All the combat that you participate in earns you experience and credits. Said credits allow you to purchase different armor and schemes for your avatar. Earned experience goes towards ranking your character, which allows you to unlock different pieces of armor. For those who enjoy treating their characters like Xzibit treats cars, you can pimp your Spartan with the oddest color and armor schemes that you can come up with (mine looks like a love-child between Superman and Mysterio).

Every game has draw-backs, and the few that I have with Reach are solely on the characterizations that are about as deep as a kiddy pool. The main character once again says practically nothing the entire game… really? Again? Why are all the good Spartans socially awkward? The rest of Noble Team seems as though they were stolen from the stereotypes manual: Leader – typical by the book military leader, is strong but firm, but might have a heart of gold somewhere behind his hackneyed characterization. Female Engineer – is female and must be hyper aggressive to make it in a man’s world and thereby is so goddamn annoying you consider shooting her yourself; Sniper – has a quirky sense of gallows humor and is detached from the rest of the group like every sniper in every movie ever; Big Guy George – like all big guys in a team, he must be a giant softie unfortunately his soft spot extends to his head; and finally the Asian guy – he is mysterious, probably because he only says like 10 things all game thereby strengthening his mysteriousness.

Did I thoroughly enjoy Halo: Reach? Yes, very much so. Will I ever watch a cut scene from this game ever again? No. Will this game continue to remain in high play rotation on my Xbox? Very yes.

- Tazman

(September 26, 2010)

 

“If I’m not good enough to argue myself out of doing this, what makes you guys think I’ll be good enough to argue Senor Chang out of all of this homework?”
     - Jeff from "Community"

 

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