Monday, September 29, 2014

Halo: Reach Freebie Ryview - Nothing More Noble Than Killin' Aliens

Halo: Reach, by Bungie.

Halo: Reach is free via Xbox 360 Games with Gold until September 30th.

If you've read a good chunk of my other articles, you probably know that I'm a huge Halo fan. And strictly speaking, I've loved every Halo game I've played. ODST and Spartan Assault aren't as good in my opinion as the main series, but in general the whole series is fantastic.

As such, I find it very unlikely that I'd be able to ryview Halo: Reach without being full of bias. So, let's get my scorecard out of the way:

Time Value
Money Value
Final Score

Now, let's get onto some actual critiquing of the game.

Reach is a very different Halo game than its predecessors. For starters, it features a non-Master Chief protagonist AND he's still a Spartan. ODST paved the way for new player controlled heroes, but his put you back in the power seat while keeping us away from our favorite gigantic mostly silent warrior. We're put into a team of Spartans who are experiencing first hand the Fall of Reach, a defining moment in the universe.

That's right, it features the most famous Halo battle of all, "That Beach One"

The first shot tells the player that their character is doomed, their helmet is broken on the battlefield, and you're left to wonder how it got there. As with most prequels, the overall story is already spoiled. Reach falls, the humans gets spanked, and the war doesn't radically change until the first Halo ring is found. So Reach can't have a compelling story, right?

As you progress through the game, not only do you end up caring a lot more about each member of your team than you did for anyone in the original trilogy (execpt maybe Johnson), but you get caught up in the spirit of the human determination to keep their planet out of Covenant control.

The whole game is a dark, artistic look at a doomed fighting force, doing everything they can to prolong the inevitable. About halfway through, even they know it's doomed, and you're forced to keep fighting knowing what's ahead.

Spoiler: Lots of Stabbing [1]

But even without the tragic storyline, the game is phenomenal. It take Halo 3, and ramps up the graphics, adds persistent equipment (a trait that 343 Industries kept in big ways for Halo 4), and adds assassinations, easily one of the most satisfying moves in gaming history for me.

So, even for the non-Halo fan, Reach is a wonderful, fairly stand-alone experience that captivates players with its story and mesmerizes them with the quick action, brilliant level design, and broad array for weaponry and enemies. 

I wouldn't necessarily go as far as saying this is my favorite, but if I'm just going to sit down and play a campaign, this one wins every time.

Until next time,


Images courtesy of Wikipedia except where sourced

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