Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halo Reach Review

Halo Reach Review
By Rita S.

Bungie has done it again! Following the blockbuster of Halo 3 we are now blessed with the prequel, Halo Reach. The action packed game has had the biggest challenge of satisfying fans throughout the world and yet that challenge has been fulfilled by the highly acclaimed Bungie franchise. Reach had sold more copies in the first twenty-four hours of its official release than any other blockbuster game that has been released this year, thus far.

The main focus point of Halo Reach is the Noble Team which is constructed of Spartans (Spartans are a sophisticated soldier in a near unbreakable iron suit of armour just for all you Halo Newbies). In the entire adventure you play as Noble Six and you step in to take over the position of the old Noble Six whom is dead. In the entire campaign you get to also play as the Spartan that you create, the same armour and colour and that even goes for the movie clips also (Your Spartan becomes a movie star, YAY!).

The campaign starts off to a slow and timid beginning with many movie clips which for some can have them screaming at the television just wanting to shoot something. Having said that the graphics are a major improvement from Halo 3 and you then get to bask in awe as you see the realistic scenery unfolding around your character. The storyline does play with emotions much more this time around rather than previous Halo games where feelings of characters weren’t so comprehensible and sometimes we could feel a tad bit lost in translation, Bungie have really put in the hard yards to make the story come from the heart for this final installation. Compared to the past Halo games the missions are much more thrilling and battles are in much vaster areas with more enemies to ‘take out’. There are many subtle new added features however they to not detract from the previous games. Some of the missions you will encounter are bringing support systems back online to support your fellow soldiers to defending bases and areas with a brand new added spacecraft.

An overview of the storyline – Suspicious movement from Elites of the covenant has led them to Reach to inspect an artefact. As the Noble Team you assist Dr. Catherine Halsey to follow through with her data research which is hoped to help attain the artefact before the Elites do. It is thought that if the covenant were to retrieve the artefact first then that would be the sheer end of all mankind.

As a part of the Noble Team you do feel quite empowered in the campaign but a massive let down is the poor introduction of all the supposedly known main characters. There seems to be no real bond throughout the game, it seems better in a game if you can bond with every single character in some way. Furthermore you are not always told why you are headed for a certain location nor if it has anything to do with the actual main story plot. Having said that, none of the issues really are a bad thing about the game overall. When you play Reach you genuinely feel like you have been a part of an epic battle, a part of a special universe where you do matter.

As for the gameplay there has not been that many changes, there have been more adjustments to live up to the modern user interface of gameplay. The covenant enemies look much stronger and some look much different from the previous Halo games, overall they are much more violent and frightening than ever. In the battlefield now there are many more exciting opportunities to kill whether it be a headshot or to sneak up on an enemy and assassinate them in the new stylish way of going to a mini cut scene and looking like a true pro without having to do much. In Reach you become your own master of killing, it tends to become your own fine art in the end, for once in a shooting game you get to become creative.

The biggest part of Halo is its online multiplayer, everyone loves a good pawning session from time to time and Reach has provided every fan with that big time! There are many new features within this, mixed in with the old favourite matchmaking modes. There are many more new game types that will have you hooked for hours... once you know how they all work. The new additions to matchmaking also add in the customisation of your Spartan, the customisation of your Noble Six all depends on you and as stated earlier, it will look the same in the campaign as to what you created initially so therefore you can end up spending a good hour or so on creation alone. A large addition to Reach is credits which are acquired after playing each online multiplayer game, mainly. Credits act as like a form of money in a way to be able to unlock new looking armour. Not only that but there are other customisations such as death effects for when you are killed in matchmaking, one of which is a birthday party effect which makes an amusing noise and shoots out confetti as you die... IT IS THE MOST ANNOYING THING. Let us hope that not many people think that it is a good idea to use that effect.

Another new major matchmaking addition that stands out is Firefight. The aim of the game is to kill waves of computer controlled enemies in the time that you have, there is no real objective in the standard Firefight other than to kill all that you can but its serious fun and something totally different to do when you don’t want to battle against human players OR play campaign.

The downfall of matchmaking is mostly the current thirteen maps, most of them seem to resemble many of the maps in previous halo games which in a way makes sense as it’s the ending of Halo but it would have been better if the maps had been more unique, at least we will have the upcoming map packs to really sink our bullets into rather than teeth.

There are so many new matchmaking modes and to be honest they really need to be experienced to enjoy their full exciting understanding and to appreciate how far the Halo franchise has come in terms of its online multiplayer, it’s really impressive how it is all put together without losing its original Halo finesse.

Finally we come to the well awaited Forge. The map editor will not be the biggest part of Halo Reach but now it is much better for the community of fans that enjoy making their maps. Forge World makes up the new Forge itself. It’s a massive step up from the Halo 3 Forge, creativity is now a virtue in forge and it’s rewarding to be able to create maps so fast. At our fingertips are three new physics modes which make a major difference to making – Normal, fixed and phased. Normal mode is the same as Halo 3. Fixed will make a object stay in the air where you place it. Phased will let you infiltrate other objects as well as be pushed into cliffs or ground. The possibilities are virtually endless in this upgraded version of Forge. It’s a whole new experience, exquisite to be exact.

Halo Reach has so much going for it and so there is not much to niggle about. The campaign is much more addictive compared to all the previous Halo campaigns, it adds in new features without totally outing all the favourite old features therefore it pleases almost everyone and is sidetracked from the lack of character development. The online multiplayer has struck a bullseye in every way, it's just been tweaked and the weapons are looking much more classy but all its achieving is a growth on what was already perfect. We have now been given more choices with new game modes and customisation for our Spartans. Forge is now the best map editor and gives every fan the opportunity to really create this time around. This is honestly one of the best series that has ever been released and everything new about it just fits so well. Bungie has done so well pulling it off, this is the best ending you will find to a worldwide known series. I thank Bungie for this gaming creation; it’s the most fun and addictive game play. Well done!!     

Stars’ Overall Rating: 9.5 / 10

Monday, September 27, 2010


Hey, this is my first blog, i plan to write up a few reviews mostly on recent video games, im not sure how active ill be but ill give it a go.
Hope you guys enjoy!