Halo: Reach has finally arrived and with it being Bungie’s last Halo title for a while it is immediately apparent that they did everything they possibly could to make this the definitive Halo experience. Graphically this is the best looking Halo yet and, of course, it has that level of customization that Bungie has made their reputation on. There is of course the single player campaign where you become a part of Noble Team and you need to prevent Reach from falling into the hands of the Covenant. However, that is only one small part of the game. There are also the various multiplayer modes that you can choose from. There is the traditional Slayer playlist as well as Big Team Battle, Invasion, Score Attack and much more. Then you have the Firefight mode where you have to take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies. You can do this either by yourself or with a group of friends which is always more fun. If that wasn’t enough for you, there is also Forge where you can build your dream map and then upload it for everyone to enjoy. As you participate in these various modes you can also save video of your coolest exploits and then take a screenshot of a particularly cool moment or create a customized video clip. Halo: Reach is the culmination of all the Halo features that we have come to know and love over the years while improving on the ever changing formula.
The story of Halo: Reach is a prequel to the original title, Halo: Combat Evolved. With Halo: Reach you are trying to prevent the planet Reach from falling into the hands of the Covenant. You are a part of Noble Team and you work together with your allies to help push back the Covenant. As always you can choose to go the solo path with the campaign or you can bring along up to three friends and wreak havoc together. I’m not going to give away any storyline spoilers but there are definitely some very cool moments as you progress through the story. The gameplay has received some tweaks with the most notable one being the addition of jet packs. Everything else is pretty much the same with the exception of small details such as melee now being on the right bumper. As I alluded to above, Bungie did a really amazing job with this title, graphically speaking. The set pieces are amazing and it is without a doubt the best looking Halo title yet.
Once you hop online and start participating in some multiplayer you will find some new additions to the tried and true formula. One game mode that I came across while playing was racing, which added a great twist to the normal Halo gameplay. Another great one was Headhunter where you had to collect skulls and turn them in at a collection point. You will also quickly notice the new loadouts that will give your Spartan certain abilities depending on what you pick. One option is the jet pack, one is sprint, one is related to armor and things of that nature. There are different playlists as well that are competitive, some that are cooperative and a couple of arena playlists as well. Another new addition is your Psych Profile. This is where you customize the type of people that the Halo matchmaking service will find. You can pick from how chatty someone is, what a person’s motivation is, how they view teamwork and their tone in the match whether they are “polite” or “rowdy”. You can also restrict the searches that the game will make such as only finding people with good connections, whether you want to look for gamers that speak your specific language and whether you want the service to prioritize similarly skilled players. The system is pretty in depth and Bungie did a remarkable job at allowing people to tailor the experience they want to get out of the game.
Making its return from Halo 3: ODST is the firefight mode. Just like any other mode you have a myriad of options to select from before you start playing. You can choose between firefight itself, generator defense, rocketfight, versus and more. You also get to choose the mission that you will do as well as how difficult the mission will be. Once you get that taken care of you can go and change the settings until you get what you want. You can set the wave limit, the turn count, time limit, generator properties and more. You will also get the opportunity to choose how long it takes to respawn, the maximum extra lives you will get, the number of lives that you start out with and much more. It is quite possible that you will spend a fair amount of time here trying to tweak everything to how you want it which will make for a much smoother game and an overall better experience. You also have your custom games that you can set up such as capture the flag, king of the hill, territories, infection and more. Once you are done playing you can then go into the theater and rewatch some of the best moments from the game you just played. You can then take screenshots of a really cool moment or edit the video and then upload it to your Bungie account to share with everyone.
Finally, you have the Forge mode. Originally introduced with Halo 3, Bungie has taken great strides to top what they have done in the past and surpass everyone’s expectations. I can safely say that they have accomplished their goal in that respect. You can build until your heart is content and it should be really exciting to see what some of the more creative people in the community will come up with. The game ships with quite a few maps on the disc and the cool thing is that the development team made some of those maps within Forge itself to showcase just how powerful it can be. Once you are done with your creation you can save it and then upload it for everyone to enjoy. If you are not necessarily the creative type and you just want to download and have fun with the user created maps then you can do that as well. You can even search by “Most Downloaded” and “Most Recommended” so that you only get the maps that have risen to the top of the pile, so to speak.
Overall, Halo: Reach is an amazing title. You can tell that Bungie put their heart and soul into this title to try and make the absolute best Halo experience that they could. This is a definite Game of the Year candidate and one that everyone should experience. No other console shooter offers this level of customization. You never know what you are going to find when you log into Reach and search the newly created game types and/or maps. In essence, Halo: Reach is Bungie’s love letter to their community. They have listened to the community feedback over the years and implemented the best ideas. With all of the holiday titles coming out over the next few months be sure to remember Reach.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network