Halo Reach Review – Just a little Rub or a good old Reach around? | Gamerillaz

Halo Reach Review – Just a little Rub or a good old Reach around?

Halo Reach Review – Just a little Rub or a good old Reach around?
 

Here we go again, more Halo, more hype, more sycophant followers, and more assholes online than in second life. Welcome to Reach! If you’re already a Halo head then chances are you have splashed the cash on this already but for those that are Halo haters, I say to you – read on brethren and perhaps we can change your mind… unlikely, but perhaps! So let’s get into it like a two dollar whore zipping up the spandex, lashing on the cheap perfume and guzzling STD medicine, to see if we can sell you an ageing but firm piece of action.

Halo has always been a game of two half’s, the story mode and the matchmaking mode, just like two hot Swedish twins – although they share the same elements they offer completely different experiences. Reach, more so than any other Halo game simply must be judged on these two modes being separated but there is one element that both share that I feel is this game’s greatest asset, but I will justify that later on. So let’s massage the elements that single and multiplayer have in common first shall we…


Spartans are now fully customizable but at a price. You can earn credits that will allow you to dress up your main dude in all sorts of hard man or woman accessorises – no high heels please! This is a nice touch and a good idea if all a lil bit ‘Barbie’ and you rarely notice any changes on other online players as either you or they are dead very quickly after an encounter, so it’s really just to make you feel unique, which is fine. These customisations also affect your story mode Spartan, which is cool and allows you to appreciate your great fashion taste during cut scenes. You also level up as you earn credits, more cash means more level and this is earned in all game areas, the story mode, fire fight mode and of course where most of you’re levelling up will be done, in the multiplayer mode.

There is little in the way of additions to weapons or vehicles, most have all been seen before in Halo 3 with a small handful of subtle additions and changes but it could be argued that this keeps things consistent with the oncoming story of Halo that follows, plus they are still great fun to use. Same goes for Covenant forces, it is mostly the usual breed of aliens with the only real change being their rank and armour, which does have a good verity but it would have been nice to have seen a few new creations rather that just alterations.

Combat is all very familiar too with only subtle changes. Your aiming reticule now indicates how sharp your aim on a target is and duel wielding has been done away with altogether, yeah it’s OK – don’t have a cow man! Truth is ya don’t miss it. The new addition of armour abilities is a welcome one and it replaces the ‘deployment’ options of Halo 3. This is probably Reach’s strongest and freshest quality and it allows a player more diverse ways of facing an enemy. Armour lock, sprinting, bubble shields, invisibility, decoy and the best one, jet pack are some of the options for Spartans in both modes and for Elites in the multiplayer. These come in very useful in all areas of the game giving you an upper hand in combat or for just saving your ass. Ultimately it depends on your strategy and the weapons you choose to complement these armour abilities, the right set and a bit of skill can make you a fierce combatant.


Visually Reach looks the best so far, as you might expect. Human character models in the campaign are way better than in ODST which isn’t saying much but they are generally quite convincing. Effects, scenery, levels all look nicely polished and help set the atmosphere well with the aid of some immersive sound and music. Bungie being the high quality production house that they are you would expect no less and in fairness to them, they consistently deliver the fundamentals very well.

Remember I mentioned one great asset to beat them all, well here it is and although it’s a cheeky cheat on Bungies behalf, I felt it is the stroke of genius that has made Halo Reach so enjoyable… its level design! Now, now, don’t scoff. Yes, most of the multiplayer maps are from the story mode levels, yes that saves allot of redevelopment time and money while lacking variety but it actually has worked a treat because they are so well balanced and thought-out. Each one is very different to the next and I found myself admiring the subtle genius of each map in both modes. It is an easy element to get wrong so to get it right and for the maps to work so well for two distinct different game modes takes some clever design! There are also some exclusively online maps and for the most part these also work very well. In my opinion these are some of the best levels that Bungie have created to date!


So now let’s roll this hussy over and look at the campaign side of Reach. The story puts you in the shoes of ‘six’ a Spartan replacing an empty spot within ‘Noble’ team, which I thought was a crap, pansy name for a bunch of hard assed Spartans. Regardless, this is your lot and the team is made up of five other different stereotyped personalities, they are ok, their just a bit typical. Over the campaign you get to know each one a bit better but the truth is they are really just backup to get you through the game and add a bit of texture to the myth of the Spartans, which is fine but nothing wow really.

The backdrop story has mankind ripping itself apart with the colonists of space rebelling against the government, initially this is why you are even on the planet, to kick some terrorist booty, but it is soon revealed that Reach is actually under Covenant attack with a greater invasion on the way. The dirty aliens intend on wiping the planet clean of human meat heads and until the UNSC get their shit together and arrive to defend, you and whatever military currently stationed on the doomed surface are all that is left to fight back… your fucked and the rest is classified! I can’t tell you what else happens without spoilers, I can tell you there are appearances from some familiar faces that were in earlier Halo’s including the big Chief himself and that the ending is satisfying and even a little sad in a way! Keep your eyes peeled after the credits finish – that’s all I’m saying… The rest needs to be played to be appreciated, oh and you lose, the aliens kick our ass… it was a waste of time, despite the near saves and your heroic efforts, the planet is still screwed! Ha!

I will say that I found the single player experience very enjoyable, more so than Halo 3 and I rather enjoyed the twists of the story and the locations it lead me through. Game play is generally hectic, fast paced combat with little to complain about, a solid fare.


There is a nice variety between vehicle combat levels and land based missions with nicely placed checkpoints along the way. It does become a try and learn system to get through a map but this can be said of most modern shooters and it is not an annoyance by any means just a little repetitive perhaps. NPC’s are pretty useless, being little more than human shields and the same goes for any ‘Noble Team’ dummy that you team up with but at least they can’t die. Forget about letting anyone else drive a vehicle, they need ‘L’ plates and are totally retarded behind the wheel, a chimp could do better! By a very unbalanced comparison the enemy AI is very good and depending on the difficulty setting they will have you gritting your teeth after being stuck with a plasma nade. They have also become great at dodging attacks and flanking, those dammed dirty aliens! Best of all, they can drive!! Properly!! Guess their driving lessons are better than Earths eh!

The overall atmosphere is strong and will draw you in enough so as you can’t hear the miss’s shouting at you to take out the trash. The closer you get to the ending the better the draw into a thin but enjoyable story becomes. It has its flaws too, there isn’t much it the way of boss battle types just waves and waves of mixed enemies and the new space dog fights are more of a short novelty than a long enjoyable romp, all pretty minor issues.

Overall I felt Reach’s story mode rubbed me up the right way and although it left me wanting more I will remember the experience fondly and re-visit it in my head over and over, dirty thoughts! I haven’t enjoyed a shooter this much since Half Life 2 but perhaps that’s a subjective issue I guess… I’m not saying it’s the best game ever I’m just saying it’s a shit load of fun!

As enjoyable as the single player was it is the backside of this game! Where Halo truly has its money shot is in the multi player. I have already raved about the level design which is a big factor to any online experience but when you add some extremely clever game types, a fire fight mode and a bolloc load of customisation options, not to mention the level editor ‘Forge’, you have a tight lil package that is ready to please in every way possible. There is a great variety of familiar and new game types, the likes of the new ‘Headhunter’ has you picking up dead players skulls and trying to deposit them for points, it is just so fucking fun! Then there’s Invasion where a team of Spartans face off against a team of Elites and thrash it out. Throw in a map like ‘Spire’ and things get really, really mad! SWAT has you going for one shot one kill head shots and is the closest any Halo game is likely to get to the mighty ‘counter strike’.


There is also the usual big team and general slayer matches making this the best online Halo experience yet. The usual video editing options are there so you can share you finest moments on Bungie.net plus you can build your own crazy golf course and start whacking around your balls in forge, if that’s what tickles your daddy bag.

There is also fire fight mode which is hectic fun to play with friends or to just sharpen your skills. It is fully customisable, so if you want invincibility and skulls, fine, just turn em on it the options! There are even filters to help you try and weed out all the douche bags online or indeed to find them and compete in some ‘your momma’ type discussions! You can also register on Bungie.net and keep track of all your career stats which is fun and you may be entitled to have a special icon on you name tag as a result, depending on your past Halo experiences, all nice little extras.

There is just loads in the multiplayer portion of Reach, it will keep you oiled up and happy for ages and I have to say, yet again this is the most fun multiplayer experience I have had online in quite a while! That said, it is a shame that Bungie still have not addressed the issue of players dropping during a match, leaving everyone else shorthanded and set up for a loss. Sure there’s some bullshit penalty imposed on the dropper, nothing major mind you. Why could they not have looked into the Modern Warfare method eh? One man drops another enters soon after to take his place… arg. One big flaw, ya hear me Bungie?? Eh!!

All in all, Halo Reach is a quality title and gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Despite its few flaws and lack of originality it is the same Bungie balanced goodness it has always been but tweaked, perfected and improved. As Bungie’s last Halo game (so they say… hmmm) it is a good way for them to finish the series but still leave us wanting more. The Xbox will be a much duller place without Bungies Halo so enjoy it while it’s hot! If you didn’t like previous Halo titles then it is unlikely this will change it for you but ya sure as shit won’t know unless you try it, will ya?! For Halo fans this is more of the same but a bit better balanced, toned and firmed up, you will love it! Just like our two dollar whore with a crap name, this Halo will give a good old ‘Reach’ around to please and keep you up all night only to leave you wanting more, more, more!

Buy it and buy it now!!!

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