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Halo: Reach is finally out with a bunch of content like no other game. So when it comes to a big game like Reach, there is always a question: is it the best or worst?
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My Halo: Reach Review
When I first heard about Halo: Reach at E3 2009, I didn't know what to think. I was already bored with the constant stream of Halo 3 videos on the internet. But when I saw the trailer from the Spike Video Game Awards, my love for Halo has been rejoiced. And as the months went by, we were shown the potential of Reach. We got our taste on the multiplayer beta in May, we saw that we can fight in space at E3 in June, we learned that Firefight was coming back with much more at E3, we had our minds blown by the return of Forge and the massive Forge World at Comic-Con in July, and by the time September came, there were no doubts: Halo: Reach is awesome. And now I'm sitting here right now, here are my words, this is the definitive Halo.
The story takes place during the Battle of Reach before the events of the first Halo. You play as Noble Six, the newest member of a group of Spartans called Noble Team. You'll get to know the rest of Noble Team as the game progresses, but the action always follows Noble Six. In all the Halo games I've games, this is the most understanding Halo story yet. The ending, which I won't spoil, is one of the best ways for a finale.
This is also the most beautiful Halo game to date. The game engine has been updated and improved and the results are looking great. Every level has a massive open environment that is interesting to look at. That's not to say there are a few problems. I've notice a few hiccups during the cutscenes and the frame rate suffers during massive battles. But these are only minor problems.
Sound is also equal to the visuals. The voice acting is good as well as the screams coming from the various Covenant species. It helps drive the story forward.
And let's not forget about the music. Marty O'Donnell continues to make some of the most aspiring pieces of music in a video game. The soundtrack also makes us realize this is an emotional story that starts with peace, then ends in tragedy.
The gameplay has also changed from past Halo games. You still fire your gun, throw grenades and drive vehicles, but all of that has changed thanks to a secret weapon on your back: Armor Abilities. These power-ups are limited but regenerative, and they changed the dynamic of gameplay. Everything you do in the game gives you credits and you can spend them on bits of armor from helmets and shoulders to utilities and knee guards.
The missions are also varied; most of the missions are big battles, but there are other missions like sniping at nighttime, destroying objectives, and defense sequences. And did I mention in this one level you can do space combat? The campaign will last about ten hours (or less if you're skilled or more if you're a noob).
That's just one portion of the Halo: Reach experience. There's so much more to be found here. Multiplayer has been expanded with much more content. New modes like Invasion and Headhunter are pure fun to play. There are 13 maps to play on and 4 of them are old Halo remakes (Blood Gulch is back). Matchmaking is a lot faster and with the new party and social settings, this is a game to be played for a long time.
Another piece has been expanded. Firefight, introduced in last year's ODST, is back and has met its potential. There is a lot of ways to play Firefight. You can play a game with all Grunts with all skulls with only Rockets and unlimited jetpacks. The AI is a lot smarter, so you and your three friends have to watch each other's back.
Finally, we have Forge and it is incredible. The interface has been made user-friendly. There are a number of improvements from Halo 3's Forge and the massive environment of Forge World is going to be a big place to make maps. Given all of the improvements by the end of 2010, there might be over 1 million maps made by the community that are going to be played over and over.
Now there is one drawback to all this excitement. While there is matchmaking for campaign, multiplayer and Firefight, there is still no matchmaking for custom games. You can still save a gametype and share it with the community, but you can't hop online and play it with random people. You still have to play with friends. But this drawback is overshadowed by the flexibility Halo: Reach delivers.
Like I said before, Halo: Reach is just pure fun. Yes there are a few elements that some might find lacking, but there are few. Nearly every aspect from the story to the multiplayer are incredible. And you get them in this one package. If your a Halo fan or if you have a Xbox 360, buy this game.
Presentation - 10/10 Graphics - 9.5/10 Sound - 10/10 Gameplay - 9.9/10 Lasting Appeal - 9.9/10
Final Score: 9.7/10