Halo: Reach User Review
The gameplay of the title is instantly recognisable to any player who has experienced a previous Halo title, featuring strafing, offhand grenade throwing and shields. New to this entry is the ability to execute enemies with the "Assassination" ability, where upon standing behind said enemy and holding down the melee button, the camera will zoom out into third person and show off a fancy close quarters instant-kill which changes depending on their location and action. New weapons and vehicles have also been introduced in Reach, adding to the already extensive repertoire present from previous games. "Armour abilities" have also been added in, which are similar to the special one-time use items of Halo 3, but that are interchangeable and able to activate on and off as they recharge. These abilities include sprint, armour lock (prevents movement but grants invincibility for a short period of time), jetpack, hologram (creates a replica of the player to distract enemies), cloak and drop shield (which creates a small bubble shield around the player). Add on top the ability to fully customise your Spartan, for aesthetic purposes only, and we can see some fairly large changes to the Halo formula, while still keeping the original appeal. Or does it?
First off let me just say that I'm a fan of Halo. I think it's a series with a lot of potential and it is a lot of good fun, especially with friends. Knowing that, let's get into what I dislike about Halo: Reach.
The story of Halo: Reach is the biggest point of contention for me. It follows the story of "Noble Team", an elite team of genetically enhanced, Special Forces super soldiers. Planet Reach is supposed to be the biggest Human military base in the galaxy and it is where the Spartans are all trained and mainly deployed. So then how is it that an entire Covenant invasion force sneaks onto the planet without a single person knowing? Did the Covenant quickly silence all communications? Kill everyone in an entire city? Pointless. Considering how this is the largest Military base of the UNSC, someone would have noticed the lack of contact. So how does Halo: Reach effectively explain this? Oh… it doesn't.
Another side of my problem, the entire destruction of Reach. Everyone knows that in the end defence is ultimately pointless because the history has already been written for it. So then why do the Spartans feel the need to sacrifice themselves left, right and centre? The entire Noble Team seem to follow a predictable course of attempts at 'noble' (get it? Ha ha) deaths. It's like a competition they have with each other, the worst part being the majority of them are completely pointless. And where are all the other Spartans? We're meant to assume that they are off doing their own honourable thing, but I don't buy it. We never even see ONE other breathing Spartan? Really?
The story makes little sense, nor does it even try to. The gameplay itself is your basic Halo set-up, but with a lack of dual wielding and new assassinations. In regards to the weapons, did both sides of the war just forget to pack them after they lose the planet? Irrelevant I guess.
Do brutes really need to even be here? Their A.I. is utterly ridiculous as they charge at you and it just weakens the already unstable enemy encounters present in the game. Fights with Elites are definitely the highlight however, and they can even be considered real threats, despite the low difficulty.
Halo: Reach is a missed opportunity. It could have been about the epic struggle of man against beast (since the Covenant can't speak English anymore), or the personal story of regret seen through the eyes of Noble Six. Instead, it's a simple mash-up of everything Halo, with none of that magic that made previous games work so well.
Oh and the much touted 'bad-ass' Spartan Emile? You see him all of twice during the game and he only aggravates the player and the other soldiers with his presence.
Great job Bungie, you've certainly proven that your last game was nothing but a heartless cash-grab. Excellent use of the potential.
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Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
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