The fact that Reach - as is the nature of a prequel - explains the events leading up to what we’ve so far seen from the Halo franchise, I would have expected a more detailed and complex storyline than what was given. Meager storyline and fairly forgettable characters aside, however, the true glory of a Halo game is in its gameplay. Reach takes a tried and true gameplay formula that was the highlight of the original Xbox console in its time, and continues its addictive fun in this prequel.
There are new features in this iteration that distinguish it from the other titles. Although Bungie opted for night vision in place of a flashlight, and nixed dual wielding, most of the base aspects have remained in tact: ridiculously varied weapons from handguns to snipers to rocket launchers and vehicles of all shapes, sizes and uses culminate in the very addictive multiplayer. While terrain in the singleplayer campaign is versatile, multiplayer maps are engaging and perfect for tactful fighting. Bungie even brought back a few memorable maps from the title’s predecessors, making for nostalgic fun with the enhancement of the new weapons.
One thing Bungie has always been great at is getting the player to use all of the weapons featured in a Halo game. Granted, a lot of games boast a variety of weaponry, but Halo is one amongst few that can proudly say that all serve a moment of purpose. While in most games - particularly first person shooters - a player will find themselves latched onto a favorite weapon, all of the weapons in Halo: Reach are creatively made. There might be one or two I never particularly cared to use (I’m looking at you, Plasma Charge), but all in all Reach provides you with a stock of entertaining weapons that you are bound to constantly switch between as you find them littered on the battle floor.
My only complaint about the gameplay is your companion AI. I love that I don’t always have to be the one to drive the vehicle in Halo. At the same time, however, I’ve never seen a worse driver than my Spartan buddies. They’re constantly driving into rocks, and apparently don’t know the concept of reverse. They will occasionally take longer than is necessary to recognize you’re waiting for a driver, and you’re therefore waiting impatiently for one to hop in and take the wheel as the Covenant pour fire at you.
The defining quality of Halo is most certainly its gameplay. No other game has such a wide range of gameplay features that are most optimized in the many multiplayer modes available. Whether facing off against the Spartans as a member of the Covenant, or taking on waves of enemies in Firefight, every round of Halo: Reach’s multiplayer is a quick dose of entertainment, undoubtedly put on repeat by the player. Resisting addiction is seriously futile; I played more multiplayer rounds than was necessary for this review out of sheer prideful indulgence.
More On:Halo: Reach
As much as Bungie wanted to sell Halo: Reach as a story-driven first person shooter rife with the familiar golden gameplay methods fans have come to expect from a Halo title, Halo: Reach doesn’t answer to this standard. The game ultimately shines in its ridiculously fun and addictive gameplay that sees its mastery in the various multiplayer modes available. That being said, excuse me while I get back to sniping enemies to death.
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