The lights are on
Halo: Reach is a prequel to the first Halo title Halo: Combat Evolved, the game that drew the attention of millions of gamers to the original Xbox console. In total, of seven Halo games have been seen on Xbox systems. The original trilogy, two Bungie-developed spin-offs(Including Reach), a remake of the Combat Evolved, and even an RTS game developed by Ensemble Studios. Reach is the last game in the franchise developed by Bungie, and even though it was hyped to be the ultimate Halo game, it didn't really live up to those expectations.
Gameplay: At its core, it's still Halo. The weapons feel powerful as ever and the Covenant is still a fun enemy to engage in combat with. But some unwelcome additions like Armor Abilities didn't exactly change up gameplay for the better. Abilities like Sprint and the Jetpack can be very enjoyable and suit Halo quite well, while others such as Active Camo and Armor Lock tend to be frustrating. Standing in front of your opponent in anticipation of killing him as soon as he exits Armor Lock isn't very fun.
Story: In Reach you assume the role of Noble Six, a Spartan III assigned to Noble Team. Throughout the story, you fight alongside your fellow members of Noble Team known as Carter, Kat, Emile, Jorge, and Jun. Each level in Reach has its own unique feel to it and sandbox-style gameplay which you can find in past Halo games is is still present. A common problem with games in the Halo franchise is backtracking., and for the first time in the franchise it's almost gone. You will find yourself essentially replaying a part of a past mission, but this can be easily overlooked. Reach has a satisfying story, and a pretty special nod to the original game at the end of the story.
Sound: For me, sound is half of the experience, especially in Halo's case. This series' soundtracks easily tops any game or movie's in my honest opinion. The soundtrack is truly epic, and it's easily one of the best things Reach has to offer. Weapons, Vehicles, and Equipment sound similar to their past iterations, but have been improved. Each weapon sounds like it really packs a punch, and they're very satisfying to shoot due to this.
Graphics: Reach has an excellent engine. Textures, landscapes, animations, and lighting look significantly improved compared Halo 3, and best of all it always keeps the smooth 30 FPS gameplay each game in the franchise has delivered while looking very pretty simultaneously. All character, weapon, and vehicle models have been redesigned for this game and generally look excellent.
Multiplayer: This series' multiplayer has always been outstanding. I'm an avid fan of Halo multiplayer who has put forth hundreds of hours played between Halo 2 and 3 alone. But Reach's online experience lacks one thing which is crucial to Halo multiplayer: Competition. I'll keep it simple: Reach tries to appeal to more casual gamers with the introduction of Armor Abilities and a very Call of Duty-esque rank system. This is an instant turn-off to true fans of the series and damages the online experience for people like myself. Other things like the mediocre maps that shipped with the game is unfortunate and really is a step down from past games. On the bright side, new modes such as the excellent Invasion mode and a drastically improved Forge mode appear in Reach. Custom Games remain a blast to play, so grab a few friends to play with and you're in for a great time. Halo's co-op mode, Firefight, returns in Reach. It remains similar to ODST's version, but comes with a load of customization options this time and a healthy amount of new modes.
Overall: If you're a huge fan of Halo, prepare for a very satisfying Campaign experience, plenty of co-op fun, and a blast with your friends in the game's Forge and Custom Game modes. But if you're expecting a very competitive experience that you'd expect from past Halo games, stick to Halo 3.
A few little little errors, sorry. But enjoy :)
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