Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Halo Reach: Review

As requested, the following is my review of Halo Reach. After having the game for almost a week now, and playing almost non stop, I can say that this is an amazing game. Let's break it down, shall we?

Campaign: Reach's campaign is one of the best I have ever played. It does a great job of bringing the series together. After four Halo games, Reach finally gives you the full view of what happened on the planet Reach. Bungie tries to make the story more personal by showing the faces of the characters, however I didn't really feel a huge connection to them. Although it was a valid attempt, I think they fell short of making a connection. On the other hand, there is the enemy AI. The enemy AI is more vicious then ever. Bungie did a phenomenal job of making the campaign challenging. Not to mention the fact that as you add more friends to the campaign, the more difficult it becomes. There were some down sides though, such as checkpoints. Checkpoints can sometimes be far apart, and can be given at bad times. In addition, the friendly AI is really unintelligent, and at most times are not helpful in any way. They can't drive vehicles because they will cause you to die, and they can't be a vehicle gunner because they hardly ever shoot. If anything, the friendly AI is just there for effect and motivational support, they don't do much else other then die. The campaign tries to convey the feeling that you are a part of something big, but up until the very end of the game I really did feel that way. The campaign is a great mix of storytelling and a test of player's skill.

Multiplayer: Once again, Halo brings back one of the best multiplayer experiences. Searching for games is simple, and joining friends is just as easy. The experience is very fluid, and seems to never stop. Once your game is finished, you are awarded credits, ways of buying items to customize your character, and then you are moved straight into another game. There are three types of matchmaking options: Social, Cooperative, and The Arena. Social is for people who are just playing to have fun. Cooperative is misleading by name because it is not really team battle. Instead, it is just Firefight playlists, Firefight being a game type that pins you and some friends against endless waves of enemies. Finally, there is Arena, also known as "Ranked" as you are given a seasonal rank for your hard work. The higher your rank, the better you are. Although I have only played the first two of the matchmaking options, it is easy to see that Bungie did their best to serve everyone's needs. However, there is two down sides to multiplayer, the first being the ban system. Bungie has instated a temporary ban system for quitters to penalize them for leaving the game, however this system has been banning people who lost connection, had a power outage, etc. The second is the betrayal system. It is meant to keep people from ruining the game, while it is actually ruining the game for people. Accidentally killing your team mate can happen at times, and usually it will give the team mate an option to boot the player or forgive them. In most cases they are booting the players, ruining the game for that person. Although multiplayer is an awesome experience, it is ruined slightly by some broken game mechanics. Knowing Bungie, they will address these issues in the near future.

Graphics: The graphics in Reach are very nice when compared to Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST. However, compared to other games now a days, these graphics are not as good as they can be. Don't get me wrong, these graphics are a huge improvement over previous games, but in my opinion they could be better compared to today's standards. Reach does a good job of handling the graphics for the most part, though at times you will experience frame rate issues when playing Campaign. It is a bit of a shame because when your in the moment, the last thing you want is your game to lag. Overall, the graphics are nice, but as stated before they could be better.

Music: I tip my hat to Marty O'Donnell, he has really outdone himself this time. The music in Reach is amazing, and you can tell that Marty put his heart into this one (not to say that he hasn't done so before). Reach's music is probably the best in the industry right now, the music fits perfectly every time it is played. The music really helps convey the feeling of the moment, which the story itself fell short of conveying.

Overall: Don't let the little things about Reach stop you from buying this game. On top of everything mentioned here is the outstanding amount of customization available. For example, Forge World goes beyond the limits of what you would expect in a map editor. In addition, the armory makes every player unique beyond how they act and sound. When you are done reading this review, you should go buy this game now if you don't already have it. I don't like to use numbers when rating a game, as I feel they don't give you the right idea of how great, or horrid, a game can be. I review with my words, and that in my opinion is enough to convey my thoughts on this game. Halo Reach is amazing and you should have this game on your shelf.


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