Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halo: Reach Review

Genre: First-person Shooter
Developer(s): Bungie
Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 9/14/2010
Rating: M
System: XBOX 360
Price: $59.99 (Standard Edition)
$79.99 (Limited Edition)
$149.99 (Legendary Edition
$399.99 (Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle)

Ok, it’s here! Halo: Reach; one of the biggest game releases of the year. If you already know the history, then skip ahead. For those who don't know, Halo is an epic about the conflict between humanity and an alien group called "The Covenant". Now that the intro is over with, let’s get down to business. Halo: Reach is a First Person Shooter (FPS for short). This is the sixth game is the franchise. It takes place between Halo Wars and the first Halo game. The game has up to 4 player co-op and up to 16 people online via Xbox LIVE. There are 5 main play modes for this installment.

The Story
The game tells the story about the "Fall of Reach". You play as Noble 6, the newest replacement member of Noble Team since their previous member died in combat. If you saw the commercials, then you already know about that. Your team is sent to find out what happened to a communication relay on the planet. Expecting to find Rebels, you discover that The Covenant is the cause behind it. This leads to the discovery of an invasion on Reach. Now you must warn the UNSC and amass a heroic assault to stop this incoming armada. This whole campaign will take about 10-12 hours by yourself; however it will take less time if you have three other players with you.

The Multiplayer!!!
The online is where you get the rest of your money’s worth. The Matchmaking mode is where you battle online players in games like: Slayer (a free-for-all death match), Team Slayer (a team death match), Elite Slayer, (Slayer but you control Elite Covenants), Infection (3 players spawn as zombies and kill or "infect" the other players) and Juggernaut (one person starts with over-shields, super speed and a gravity hammer while the other players try to kill him. The player that defeats the old Juggernaut becomes the new Juggernaut.)
Objective hosts games like Capture the Flag, King-of-the-Hill and Race. Headhunter is where you collect the skulls of your kills a-la predator. Oddball is whoever has the skull the longest wins. Assault is where you plant the bomb in the enemy's base. In Stock Pile your team collects as many flags as possible. The Territories match is like King-Of-The-Hill but there are 3 "hills". Then there is Invasion, which is as combination of Territories, Assault and Capture the Flag.
The Third is Firefight were you must survive an onslaught of Covenant. This game type ranges from Survival, Generator Defense, Rocket Fight, Sniper Fight and Gruntpocalype. This is where all the enemies are Grunts.

The Creativity!!!
If, for some reason, you decide that the on-going carnage is a bit too much for you, then you have the fourth mode titled Forge. Forge is for those who like editing and creating new maps and game types. You can make anything from old Halo maps to maps from other Halo games. Whatever you can think of you probably can do it in this mode. And finally, there is Theater. Theater is where you can save your game play, take photos and make videos. The pics and flicks you have can be uploaded for the world to see and rate. It’s like some Halo players say, "If you didn't save it, then it never happened."

The extra stuff...
For those of you who are undecided as to what edition to buy, this will help. The Limited Edition comes with the game, ONI-themed case & artifact bag, Dr. Halsey's personal journal and other classified documents, Waypoint avatar gear, and Exclusive Elite armor for multiplayer. The Legendary Edition comes with the same stuff as the Limited Edition plus exclusive SPARTAN armor effect, exclusive digital video content, and the Noble Team statue. The statue was expertly crafted by McFarlane Toys and individually numbered. All of this comes inside a large UNSC-themed case. The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle comes with the game, the 360 with built in WI-FI, 250GB built in hard drive, two wireless controllers, a black headset and is Kinect Ready.

The Pros:
There are many pros in Halo: Reach that needs to be highlighted. The enemy AI is a major pro for this game. The enemies are more skilled than in previous games, making it a more challenging aspect without the Skulls activated. Also, the armor abilities they’ve added in the game are another one. The abilities, although not mandatory to use, are useful in game play. Used wisely, it can help improve your game play in more ways than one. Another pro in the game are the “Assassinations”, a move where you melee the opponent from behind in a stealthy manner. There are several different animations of assassinations that depend on what weapon you have, what you do, and your position.

The in-game Commendations are also a pro in the game. Commendations are like in-game achievements that help track your game play progress. It’s also a useful tool for improving your game playing skills. And finally, Forge mode is another pro because they’ve improved it since its initial appearance in Halo 3. This time, it’s more user-friendly, allowing you to be a lot more creative with the mode than last time.

The Cons:
Sadly, with the good points come the bad points. First off, the friendly AI in this game is still as retarded as it was in the last installments. You’ll still have AI teammates who still can’t shoot for the life of them, still can’t drive and die too quickly. Actually, I think the only thing they improved on was the teammates not dying to quickly. Secondly, the online matchmaking has its own set of cons. The matchups you are set up in are more based on your performance in the previous match, rather than your level. So if you’re a beginner who had a good match, you’ll probably be set up in an extremely tough match next where everyone takes headshots. Also, there’s not much circulation of newer match types in Matchmaking. If you’re not just looking to play Slayer/Team Slayer and the more common matches, you may not get the chance seeing as SWAT, Infection, and Snipers are the more common types even with the new update.

The abilities have a con side to them. While they are extremely useful, there’s no real in-game tutorial on how to use them, which leaves people picking the more common ones like Sprint and Jet Pack. Also, on the weapons front, the DMR is a definite con. What is the DMR, you ask? It’s a new rifle that has the long-range precision of a sniper rifle and the short-range firing of the pistol. It’s also the most common (if not over-used) weapon of the game. The leveling up system has a small con in it, seeing as it is unbalanced when you move up to higher classes (specifically the move from Warrant Officer Grade 3 to Captain). And finally, Bungie has put on a daily credit cap for online game play, meaning that you’re unable to sit there all day and level up the entire time. Whether it’s a good point or a bad point is up in the air, however it’s still worth noting.

When the dust clears...
The 5 types Campaign, Matchmaking, Firefight, Forge and Theater will have you gone for days. Sometimes in the Campaign, the game amps up the difficulty and hands it to you but it’s not enough to have you walking away. Matchmaking and Firefight is where you earn you stripes and bragging rights. With games like Slayer, Objective and Gruntpocalype you will have a lot to talk about. . If you have the money and you like collectables get the Legendary Edition. Or, if you need a new system, get the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle. If not... I still say get this game.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

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