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Halo Reach, now that the new has worn off...

Posted 10-12-2010 at 06:16 PM by WNxProphecy
Updated 10-12-2010 at 06:28 PM by WNxProphecy
Hey there readers. As you've prolly guessed from the title, here's gonna be my review of Halo Reach now that I've had some time with it to form full-ish opinions.

The campaign is decent enough I guess. If you've never read the lore, Reach was basically the Pearl Harbor of the humans in the Halo universe. Before then there'd been only sporadic contact with the covenant and the large majority of the armed forces and nearly all civilians had no idea it existed. But when you play Reach, you don't get that sense. The big surprise of the covenant attacking Reach is kinda treated like an off handed event. No one really acts that surprised and react unnaturally. I mean, if all of a sudden the arch enemy of man kind started popping up on it's most militarized planet, you'd expect a whole lot 'Oh god!' moments with people just about losing their heads in fear. But it doesn't really happen. Everyone handles it with a level head, and it felt like a let down to me.

They talked in the Vid Docs about wanting the Covenant to seem truly alien in Reach. But the only game change supporting this is that you can no longer understand what the Covies say in battle. The normal grunts, the UNSC Marines, handle seeing and FIGHTING aliens for the first time without batting an eye. For example, there's a part where you come out of a hallway and see a enemy dropship deploying Brutes. It's a marine, not a spartan, who calls out 'They're Brutes!'. How would he know? Before Reach 90% of humanity had no idea there'd even been contact with an alien civilization, but no one acts shocked, or scared. Bungie said they wanted to tell a 'human' story. To me, that means human emotions, like fear, love, anger, shock, disgust, etc. But they just don't pull it off. In fact, one of the few moments of the game that actually featured some good emotional acting was when you find out that Jorge, Noble 5, has a soft spot for a girl you encounter during a mission. Other than that, the actor for Doc. Halsey makes a good character, but beyond those two, it's hard to be emotionally drawn into the story. Now for the old Halo games, you knew what you were getting into. You were Master Chief, John-117. A emotionless killing machine with his only purpose being the salvation of humanity. Ok, I can deal with that. In those old Halo games, it was Cortana that added the emotional depth needed for a powerful story, constantly being in your ear echoing and reinforcing what you, the player, were thinking yourself.

But in Reach the Spartans and marines, and well, people in general, all function like master chief, but without a lady constantly making you 'feel' talking in your ear. And in Reach you really need that emotional depth to make the campaign work. You need to feel that gravity that comes with a whole planet's fate hanging in your grasp, and I never really felt that.

Now I'm not saying the campaign's gameplay was bad, it wasn't. It was good and action packed. The difficulty scaled well on Heroic difficulty, what I played on first. On normal though it was a breeze. I dunno. I feel kinda let down. I think Bungie failed at making this an emotional story. I mean at the end (spoiler alert now) when you're trying to survive for as long as possible against an endless wave of enemies, I didn't feel that connection with your character you'd expect to feel after the whole ordeal. After I died, I was just like, huh, that's it I guess. I didn't feel the kinda heroic sadness, the feeling of sacrifice but ultimate victory, that I wanted. Are my standards high? Possibly. Did Reach's story perform to my standards? No. The gameplay was fun, but dammit, the story was crappy.

But hell, who am I kidding? I got Reach for the multiplayer. And in that it shines. The reticle bloom system makes it a much slower, more technical game. They really went back to what made Halo MP unique; Needing to have consistent skill to win. Having to drop precise shot after shot into an enemy to win the engagement. Adding health packs is a nice change from the modern day 'Hide behind a rock and think about what you did' regen-system. It's definitely a nice change in general from the modern day twitch shooters where all you needed to do well was good reflexes.

Some of my favorite things about multiplayer are the play lists. You choose a gametype, and then vote on the actual game. For instance, in Team Slayer (team deathmatch) you get to vote on 3 different types of games once you get into a lobby. For example, Team Snipers on Map A, Team DMR's on Map A, or Classic Slayer on Map B. If none of those fits your taste, you can always cast your vote for a new round of voting.

Bungie uses this voting information to tailor updates to what the players want the most. If a large portion of the fan base is voting for the same gametype over and over, expect to see it more often. If no one votes for a certain map enough, it will likely drop out of the voting system all together. And so on. It's great because I myself like playing SWAT and playing 'normal' Halo TDM. It sucked joining a TDM lobby and then having everyone voting for SWAT. I like SWAT, but I also like playing Halo the classic way, with shields and power weapon spawns etc. Bungie, seeing this trend, broke SWAT off into it's own play list and removed it form the TDM voting options all together.

Hopefully you see the recurring theme here. Bungie actually listens and responds to the fan base. They release regular patches that do anything from add new playlists to balancing weapons and fixing exploitable glitches in maps. Bungie reacts to the player base on a level almost unheard of in console FPS's. It's mighty refreshing, after having to live with 3 CoD games, to have a company that actually cares about it's players. What did IW ever do to fix any of their CoD games? How about TreyArch? Pretty much, unless it was literally game breaking, they never intervened. WHY!?!?!? It is something I will never understand. But, if enough people complain about something in Halo, I assure it will be fixed. Bungie literally loves it's fan base, and because of this, it's fan base loves Bungie.

And don't even get me started on Forge mode. It's just awesome. That's all there is to say. At first it can be a bit over whelming and it takes some getting used to, but it's a marked improvement over H3's forge system. Because of Forge, I don't see how any other console FPS can edge out Halo in the long run. It keeps the game fresh. Plus, if you make a good enough forge map, guess what? You might just see it in the map rotation. Right now Bungie is looking for awesome community created maps to put in Multiplayer and they should be rolling out some of the best ones before a month.

Basically, aside from the campers and rage quitters who've only played CoD for the past few years migrating over, I'm pleased as punch with Reach's MP. The only gripes I have, armor lock, sprint + melee weapon, spawn trapping in Invasion, are likely to be fixed.

Because Bungie is awesome.

And in Bungie we trust.

Hope you enjoyed reading this, and please comment below with your thoughts. Your praise/criticism is what keeps me writing.

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Total Comments 3


  1. Old
    WNxExile's Avatar
    Armor lock is cool.
    Posted 10-12-2010 at 07:34 PM by WNxExile WNxExile is offline
  2. Old
    I just find it annoying in elite slayer where all people do is try to stick and armor lock.
    Posted 10-12-2010 at 09:04 PM by WNxProphecy WNxProphecy is offline
  3. Old
    WNxLink's Avatar
    Eh, I disagree with people complaining about sprint + sword and armor lock...

    To me, certain weapons are complimented well by certain armor abilities...for example:
    jetpack + rockets (for the downward splash..)
    armor lock + shotgun
    sniper + hologram

    and so on.

    So if a guy has a sword/hammer and sprint, good on him for picking that. it'll probably take like 2 enemies to take him down, but he has the power weapon and that's how it's supposed to be. its a power weapon for a reason...because it's powerful. that why they are placed at ambiguous spots on the map so that both teams have an equal chance of running to them and fighting over them..(more or less).

    As for armor lock, I laugh at people who just pop it right before they die. to me, that's just an easy kill. I like to use armor lock to deflect grenades / melee attacks and get people like that. they'll throw a grenade round a corner, ill armor lock through it and surprise them with my full health..

    just my 0.02
    Posted 10-14-2010 at 01:19 AM by WNxLink WNxLink is offline

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