Halo: Reach Review

I played the Halo series up until Halo 2 and its “climatic” cliffhanger leading up to Halo 3. I never played Halo 3 or ODST, mainly because I didn’t have an Xbox 360. When I heard that Bungie was developing Halo: Reach, a prequel to the established trilogy, I became a bit more excited that players would be working inside a squad of Spartans. While it was fun, running and gunning as Master Chief, if one Spartan could do so much, then five should be able to wipe out anything in their path.

The known gameplay is still present in Halo: Reach, nothing needed to be changed dramatically, but there were a few small technical things that I noticed were different from my previous experiences with the trilogy. The title looks good, not as good as I imagine it could have been, but with the amount of enemies and supporting characters on screen, the title does move at a good pace without any real noticeable slowing down.

Both Spartans, support soldiers, and enemies all have a layer of detail that I never noticed before, a lot of the time it’s only noticed through the scope of a sniper rifle or before butting a Covenant in the face. The environments have the recognizable look of the Halo universe and I wish there could be a little more variety, but I guess the future really is as utilitarian as they make it out to be.

On the audio side, there is a lot of talking on both the human and Covenant side along with explosions and gunfire. During some of the bigger encounters, the audio belts out of the surround sound, even if the attack indicator only plays out of the front speaker.

A big change of Halo: Reach is a story that is a bit more believable than Master Chief’s one man army against the Covenent. Attempting to stop the invasion of Reach by the Covenant, the five member Noble squad moves around Reach trying to stop the numerous landings of Covenant troops.

Even when the squad is split, the characters are all believable and each personality was crafted with a chisel through the voice acting. For a FPS title, Halo: Reach creates a realistic world filled with soldiers who have been working together and having the player experience joining a team who don’t see him as necessary in the beginning. For the first time in the series. I felt a connection with Noble 6.

Halo: Reach also includes the “required” multiplayer for the series, giving players a lot of options for different gameplay types. The multiplayer component of Halo is already celebrated and it wouldn’t be surprising for some players to go straight into multiplayer and not even experience what the single player has to offer. Players enjoy the multiplayer and its kept other entries in the series alive much longer than expected.

Halo: Reach is Bungie’s swan song to the series as they move ahead. It’s a fitting end to the series, even more fulfilling because it is a prequel rather than a sequel to the universe that is Halo.

It’s worth the purchase, obviously.

Review copy provided for review purposes