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    DarkReign's Halo: Reach Review

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    DarkReign2021
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    DarkReign's Halo: Reach Review

    Post  DarkReign2021 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:39 pm

    Space; The final frontier... wait, wrong series. Let me try that again...

    Halo: Reach; Bungie’s final adventure into the foray of the precious series that they birthed over a decade ago. It’s long been known that the developers had grown tired of working on the same series and they had all expressed interest in moving on to a new IP soon. Since than, they’ve put out one expansion to Halo 3 by the name of ODST and one full-sized game that we all know as Halo: Reach. But did they put their heart into their final game? Were they inspired enough to pull all the stops and make this Halo the best it could be? Lets find out.

    PART 1:
    Our first stop on this trip is going to be, surprise surprise, the Campaign. The true meat and potatoes of the Halo series no matter what anybody might tell you because without a new campaign and a new story to tell, there would be no new Halo titles. With that said, Halo: Reach brings a very familiar story to the table and that posed the greatest difficulty in it’s development. The game follows the downfall of Humanity’s Military Colony, Reach, as the brave men and women fight to survive in it’s final hours. You follow Noble Team, a team mostly consisting of the Spartan-III’s who had previously gone unheard of in the previous games, as they fight to maintain the upper-hand in a battle we knew the outcome of before it even began.

    The challenge of creating this storyline is that, like I said, we already knew how it would end. How do you make the player feel like they’re accomplishing something when you’re fighting for a planet you know is going to lose already? I won’t answer my question, but I’ll say they did a great job of balancing the positive and the negative throughout the campaign.

    The major downside I had in Halo: Reach was your team of Spartans themselves. The player was meant to connect to each of them on a personal level and was supposed to develop feelings toward those characters. The problem was the game was far too short and possessed far too little narrative involving them. With the exception of Jorge, none of the Spartans really had likable personalities and you never really cared when any of them would suffer. You felt more toward the planet itself, which could be considered a character itself, than you do any of the actual characters in the game.

    The other aspect of the storyline worth focusing on is the Datapads. There are 19 Datapads in total to discover and, much like the terminals in ODST, these tell a very different story than the one present in the game itself. This time it’s about a group of highly-intelligent and self-aware AI discussing the prospects of Humanity and Alien existence and the means of their own survival, just to give it a quick and simple summary. The storyline behind it goes much deeper and it’s worth finding the pads just to read it. High potential for a driving plot device in a future Halo title from another developer.

    Overall, the Campaign was enjoyable and, with the exception of Noble team, you truly felt like you were in the world. Vehicular combat was unfortunately limited in most of the standard levels, but there were two unique levels, one featuring the Falcon and another one where you pilot a Sabre Spaceship, that gave you a very unique Halo experience. The campaign, for the most part, did not disappoint.

    My score: 9/10

    PART 2:
    The next stop on our trip is in the multiplayer. This section is best divided into two parts: Matchmaking and Firefight.

    Starting with matchmaking, I have to say this game is about on with Halo 3, but for different reasons. Thanks to the changes in gameplay, the multiplayer is a lot more fun to play. Unfortunately, there are other details that ruin your experience. Due to this game being new, it’s worth noting that a large majority of the players suck right now and you’re better off having your own friends for teammates than playing with randoms. On top of that, there are a lot of team killers and suiciders that will mess up the game for everybody else and the booting system is extremely finicky, kicking people that kill a partner on accident and never giving you the option to boot somebody killing you on purpose. Fortunately most of these issues will start to go away slowly as more and more people move on to the next big game and only the skillful players remain.

    Technical junk aside, the game suffers from a lack of multiplayer maps. Only a small handful were given to players initially and, of the few, half of them were made in the generic-looking Forge World while the other half were ripped directly from scenes in the Campaign, leaving absolutely nothing original to play multiplayer on.

    Firefight, on the other hand, is an enormous improvement on it’s predecessor in ODST. The inclusion of Load-outs, Gametypes, and matchmaking options improved on it dramatically. You can now find anybody online when needed and there are a a handful of gametypes from the classic Score Attack up to Rockets, Snipers, Generator defense, and even an all-Grunt Slaughterfest.

    The only downsides to Firefight are that matchmaking only supports single-round matches and, again, the maps were ripped directly from campaign, leaving nothing original to explore.

    My score: 8/10

    Part 3:
    The next area worth noting is Forge (and to a lesser extent the return of theatre mode.) Forge has been done from the ground up. Remember all of those things you wished you could do with Forge in Halo 3? Well now you can. You can suspend objects in mid-air; You can phase objects through each other; You can snap objects together; You even have a coordinates grid to place objects in very specific locations for precise map-builds. The HUB you’re given to work in at the moment, is known as Forgeworld and It. Is. Enormous. 9 or 10 basic canyons to build any type of map you want plus the ability to build in mid-air or over the water gives you limitless possibilites. It’s like Sandbox x 100. To make the offering even better, the objects no longer move when you grab them, instead moving you in accordance to the placement of the object itself, which means a lot fewer mistakes are going to be made. Truly an improvement over the original. Only things we’re missing now are Weather control, Terrain manipulation, and an undo button.

    Theatre mode and File Share are both back this time around, though not much has changed worth nothing. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. They were wise to keep it that way.

    My score: 10/10

    Part 4:
    As we enter the final stretch of this journey, we’re going to look at the technical aspects of the game, including graphics, sound, and the gameplay that drives the entire game.

    To start, the graphics are impressive. By no means the best we’ve ever seen, but the art direction has changed drastically from previous titles in the series. Weapons, characters, and ships all look drastically different from their Halo 3 counter-parts. So while the quality might be a bit degraded, the style is at the top of it’s game.

    For the sound, Marty has once again outdone himself. The music is completely original and not just remixes of past tracks. I don’t believe it surpasses ODST’s soundtrack, but the quality is top notch. As for sound effects, they sound like they’re supposed to. Guns make gun noises and vehicles make vehicular noises. The voice acting is well done and this time around, none of the aliens can speak english. Even grunts lost most of their english. This was done to make them seem more alien and ferocious than in the past game. I would have to say they succeeded with flying colors.

    Gameplay-wise, they went in the right direction in every way. They re-introduced health packs, but mixed it with a downgraded version of their recharging health system, making it work more like the Chronicles of Riddick game, which draws out the strategy in the game immensely. For the weapons they’ve added a bloom-effect to the reticule, which forces the player to slow down and time their shots so they can’t just spam with one weapon like so many people did in Halo 3 with the Battle rifle. Another new feature was added called Armor Abilities, which is the replacement of Equipment from Halo 3. Giving you a few abilities like Camo, Spring, and even a jet-pack really mixes up the gameplay and gives for some very unique experiences and makes for some very drawn-out fights if you know how to use them properly. Knowing your AA’s makes all the difference in the world.

    [color=pramgeMy score: 9/10[/color]

    Overall, Halo: Reach is a welcome addition to the Halo series. Halo 1 has the best storyline, Halo 2 had the hardest campaign, and ODST had the best Soundtrack, but Halo Reach, IMO, gets it’s own niche by having the best gameplay in the series yet. There are a few points the game could’ve done better on, but nothing that cripples it or keeps it from greatness.

    My overall score: 38/40 = 9.5/10


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    Launch

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    Re: DarkReign's Halo: Reach Review

    Post  Launch on Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:03 pm

    That was a geat review in my opinion, I feel pretty much the same about everything. There's just one problem though:

    DarkReign2021 wrote:

    The only downsides to Firefight are that matchmaking only supports single-round matches and, again, the maps were ripped directly from campaign, leaving nothing original to explore.


    Firefight was changed (on Tuesday I think) to be a full set in matchmaking, and a 30-minute time limit. I'm not sure if that'll affect your score, but I decided to point it out just in case.
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    DarkReign2021
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    Re: DarkReign's Halo: Reach Review

    Post  DarkReign2021 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:06 pm

    Doesn't really affect my score enough to change it, but that's pretty cool nevertheless. Whenever I get back to playing Halo: Reach I'll have to check that out. Just sucks the DLC won't be including any new FF maps.


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    Devil Mingy

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    Re: DarkReign's Halo: Reach Review

    Post  Devil Mingy on Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:51 pm

    Why am I just now reading this? Oh yeah, people pissed me off. >_>

    Anywho, good review, DarkReign.


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