One of the most highly anticipated games of 2010 is here, and most of the gamers around the world would have completed the campaign in 24 hours. Those who have, still have months of enjoyment from playing online.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for a good few years and don’t know; Halo is a popular game series focusing on the war between humans, The Covenant, Elites and genetically modified super soldiers- Spartans. Halo: Reach is set at the beginning of the Halo timeline. It seems a fitting place to end the series- in full circle. The player finally learns what happened to all the other Spartans- except Sierra 117- on the planet Reach.
You are Noble Six, the newest member of Noble team. Together you discover that The Covenant are on Reach and you must try and stop them from taking over. But, as we have already heard the story from pervious Halo games, we know that the Spartans fail and Reach falls; but not before getting something very important to an extremely special Spartan.
First things first, you can customise your own Spartan right from the start. You can choose your sex; which was a major plus for me, as I was getting fed up with being a male protagonist. Like you can do in online multiplayer, you get to choose the colour of your armour, but this time you can actually play your Spartan in game. Throughout the game and online, you earn points to go up military ranks and unlock more accessories for your Spartan.
As well as this, your Spartan is part of the cut scenes and even has little things to say to other team members. The cut scenes themselves are very movie-like. It puts the gamer right in the action and engrosses the player even more into the Reach universe. The camera movements are a lot more handheld, as if someone was there filming you, making it far more intense. Some cut scenes are even told from the first person point of view of your character, so you really feel part of the action. I found this a new, and refreshing way to experience a Halo game.
Obvious plus points are the perks- there’s a hint in the name: perks! You can have sprint, shield, jetpack, Hologram, armour lock and active camo. The player can only carry one perk at a time. A small selection of perks are available at some points in the campaign, so you can frequently change your perks depending on the situation.
Playing online, you can decide what class you want to be, such as sniper, scout or air assault. Depending on what you choose depends on what weapons and perks you receive.
Like everything, there are downsides to Halo: Reach. One of the main things I noticed was the endless streams of Covenant. Sometimes it felt like Bungie were just filling game time with shooting things. It also got to a stage when I forgot what the current mission was because I was too busy concentrating on exterminating The Covenant. On Legendary, the game could get very tedious, with wave after wave of Covenant and Elites endlessly killing you.
Another small point: there is no duel wield. I found this a little annoying; but I guess it was one aspect of the previous games Bungie had to scratch to make it look like this game was the first instalment in the story.
My friends and I also noticed another small problem. While playing local Co-op, you weren’t able to play through the whole campaign in one go. After one mission was completed, we had to go back to the menu and select the next one. Other than being slightly aggravating, this made the game very jolting and we found it easy to lose interest.
It is also important to note that the controls have changed. But that’s not a very big issue in the grand scheme of things. It may take experienced Halo players a few minutes to get used to- reloading weapons is no longer the job of the bumpers but the X button! The bumpers are now given the job of melee! As with everything, practise makes perfect.
It was fitting for Halo to finish at the beginning, where it all started and remember the reasons why most of us fell in love with Halo in the first place. Even if you are not a Halo fan, you can admire the game for its merits: like the amazing graphics, the plot and characters. The online multiplayer will have you occupied for months to come too.
Do I think the hype and expectation for Halo: Reach was deserved? Absolutely. A great game; topped off with an excellent soundtrack composed by THE Halo composers, Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. It’s a game for Bungie to be proud of.