Halo: Reach Review: Bungie Doing What They Do Best

The long anticipated prequel to Halo has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. A classic Halo experience from start to finish that sticks to the tried and true formula that has made Halo the phenomenal franchise it is while still adding some minor tweaks to keep it fresh. The weapons have been redesigned and new ones have been added and the inclusion of armor abilities adds more to the already addicting combat. Coupled with an intense and dramatic storyline, one gets a game that should definitely be taken a look at.

That man has a skull painted on his mask. And it's smiling.

Halo: Reach tells the story of the Covenant invading Reach, one of Earth’s other prosperous planets. The player fills the SPARTAN armor of Noble Six, a replacement to a highly lethal SPARTAN team. Players will fight on and above Reach to put up one desperate fight against the Covenant. The story is one of the better ones in the series, with a plot that is emotionally involving and epic. As the story progresses, the fights get insane and the music provides a dramatic beat that heightens the mood and raises the blood pressure. Some of the later fights had me pouring sweat and glued to my TV as the cogs of the combat worked together for some of the best firefights I’ve had.

With a new story comes new toys, and Reach delivers. Armor is completely customizable and shows up in the main storyline, letting the player feel like its really them in the game. Helmets, colors, add-ons and the like are all present and unlockable, giving those with OCD plenty to do. New weapons show up as well, such as the Plasma Repeater, which is like a Plasma Assault Rifle, or the Needle Rifle, which has the famous exploding Needle rounds in a scoped head-shot weapon. The Battle rifle and Assault rifle have returned, although they have undergone changes. The Assault has had a face lift, and the Battle Rifle is now a single shot instead of a three-round burst. Along with new weapons come the new armor abilities. You’ve got your jet pack, your bubble shield, your armor lock which makes you invincible but stops you from moving, holograms, active camo, and even (drum-roll please) SPRINTING. These new elements add to the experience while still keeping everything overall that is beautiful to the Halo experience.

Explosions! Explosions everywhere!

The online is still fantastic and addicting. Leveling up unlocks new armor, certain game modes allow you to begin with different loadouts, and new modes come as a more sweet goodness for the online community to enjoy.  Forge allows you to make entirely new maps (indeed, many of the old favorites from previous titles were almost immediately reconstructed) and share them with the world. The story will hook you in, and the online will keep you coming back for more.

It does have one little snag to it: this is no doubt a Halo game. If you love the series you will love this game. You probably have already picked it up and beat it twice. If you don’t like Halo then this game won’t change your mind. All in all, if you like Halo or FPS, this game delivers in the way that only Bungie can.

Grade: A+

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