-------Guide to My Rating System------
5 out of 5 – Fantastic. Loved it. Get it. Now.
Example: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
4 out of 5 – Great, but its flaws do detract from the experience. Still a lot of fun, and generally worth a buy.
Example: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
3 out of 5 – Alright. There’s certainly fun to be had, but it’s very flawed. My “mixed bag” rating. Not worth the risk of buying it for full price, but if you find it for $20, it’s a decent purchase.
Example: Sonic Unleashed
2 out of 5 – Below average. May have its good points and even shine sometimes, but a bad experience overall. Bargain bin purchase at best, if you’re a fan of the franchise.
Example: Mega Man X7
1 out of 5 – Garbage. Don’t buy it, don’t rent it, don’t borrow it, don’t play it, don’t look at it, don’t even think about it.
Example: Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22
I had intended to make my next review after Sonic Unleashed Metroid: Other M, but due to my inherent laziness my preorder of Halo Reach came in the mail before I wrote it. With Halo Reach being the newer game, I believe that I should review it first.
Anyway, I can save you the trouble of reading the review right now: Go buy Halo Reach. By now, you should have gone to the nearest GameStop and picked it up. Wait, what, you want a more in-depth explanation of why Bungie’s final Halo title is so great? *Sigh* Fine, fine.
So, let’s start with the graphics. The graphics of Halo Reach can only be described as amazing. All of the environments, characters, vehicles, enemies and weapons are beautifully detailed. In fact, I’d say that it may just be one of the best-looking games for the Xbox 360 right now. The music is also fantastic and filled with the intense drum beats and somber tunes we’ve grown to expect, but this is a Halo game, so the quality of the music pretty much goes without saying.
The gameplay of Halo Reach is also fantastic. The game plays like other Halos, but there are changes and additions that greatly affect the gameplay. For one thing, players can kill enemies by performing assassinations if they can sneak up behind them and press the melee button. These assassinations look spectacular and add an element of stealth to the gameplay that IS optional, but you’ll probably find yourself attempting to perform assassinations a lot because of their usefulness and because of how stylish it is. But mostly because of the style.
Another thing that really changes the gameplay is the addition of armor abilities for Spartans and Elites. These armor abilities replace the items from Halo 3 and are quite a bit more useful. These include a roadie-run ability that is a much appreciated addition; Armor Lock, which makes you invincible for a short period of time; the Drop Shield, which returns from Halo 3 and now actually restores your health when you’re in it; Evade, which allows you to dash with a long-ranged dodge roll-type move; and my personal favorite, the jetpack, which allows you to fly in the air. It’s for a limited time of course, but it’s still epic. Absolutely epic.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a new Halo game without a butt-ton of new weapons. Some of my personal favorites include the DMR, which looks similar to the Battle Rifle from Halos 2 and 3 and retains it zooms but is actually a powerful gun that only fires one bullet at a time, and the Plasma Repeater, which can be thought of as the Covenant’s answer to the assault rifle except more powerful. It’s also notable that the original Halo’s pistol also makes a return in this game complete with a zoom function, much to the joy of fans.
The campaign of Halo Reach is an absolute joy to play and quite possibly the most enjoyable in the series thus far. You control Noble 6, a SPARTAN who has just joined the Noble Team to replace a fallen member. Along with the rest of Noble Team, he attempts to protect the planet Reach from falling to the Covenant. Although you’re not gunning down Grunts with the Chief this time around, the storyline is just as engaging as ever and in fact, very sad. If you end up having to dry your eyes at the end, don’t worry; I’m sure you’re not the only one. I’d also like to mention that Halo Reach is the first time in a Halo game that I’ve enjoyed playing splitscreen co-op with a friend just as much as I have playing by myself.
The single player campaign doesn’t last very long and thankfully, it doesn’t need to. Actually, Halo Reach’s real longevity comes from its multiplayer. Honestly, I’ve never been addicted to a game’s multiplayer the way I have been to Reach’s. Taking a hint from games like Modern Warfare and Bad Company 2, Halo Reach introduces loadouts to the multiplayer, which determine what weapons and armor abilities you start out with. In addition to that, each game type (such as Rumble Pit or Team Slayer) features several game modes, and there are quite a few new multiplayer game types and modes. One of them is Infection, in which a group of humans have to fend off a group off zombies with Energy Swords. If a zombie kills a human, it becomes infected and is added to the zombies’ team. One new game type is Invasion, in which one team is made of Spartans and the other is made up of Elites and occasionally each team must perform different objectives. Another new game type is Team SWAT, in which players have no shields, but only health, and are equipped with a DMR and a pistol with infinite ammo. It’s based around getting one-hit kills with headshots, and though it can get frustrating, nothing is more satisfying than successfully pulling off a headshot. Firefight also gives you the much-needed feature of online play, and even comes with its own game modes. Those are far from the game’s only game types and modes, and when you factor in the variety present in the multiplayer and just how friggen addictive it is, you’ll be playing Halo Reach’s multiplayer for a long time.
With all that said, it’s obvious that Bungie’s Halo games have gone out with a bang. Let’s hope that 343 Industries’ games can live up to Bungie’s but for now, Halo Reach gets a 5 out of 5.