Review | Halo Reach
Reach for the stars
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: FPS | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Bungie | Release date: 14/09/2010 | Price: £44.99
Daniel Lipscombe takes on the impossible by reviewing HALO REACH.
Daniel is only reviewing the campaign of Halo Reach at this point and we will follow this with an in depth multiplayer review at a later date once the servers are full.
A CYNICAL person could say that a review of the latest instalment in the biggest franchise for generations is a moot point. Halo, on its own is a beast to be reckoned with, one that has changed the landscape of videogames for years to come. But, for now, this is the end, for Bungie, at least. With such a large title it’s easy to whip out the old review cliché and say that “Halo fans will lap up Reach, while it won’t convert the rest of the audience”, but it’s true.
With such a large task ahead of me, to review such a colossal title, it’s worth laying some groundwork. This, as stated above, is only a review of the single player campaign and will not cover the multiplayer side, at all. Having been a fan of the franchise since its inception, the story has always been something to hold me in its grasp. And here is the final piece of the puzzle.
The story itself is fine, chronicling the fall of the Planet Reach and the quest of the aptly named, Noble Squad, to attempt to save the world. For lack of a better metaphor, Reach is Halo’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’. But while the story is there, it’s easy to forget why you’re fighting at times. For a game steeped in history and surrounded by an in depth universe, one would think that the narrative could have been crafted into the game a little better and made more apparent as you play.
One thing that is truly encapsulated is how human the game feels. The struggle of a race at war and one that we as an audience have followed for so many years is something that feels very real. There are moments in the story that deliver genuine emotion and will draw you into the plight of Noble team more so.
Let me deliver my only criticism of the Reach campaign and that is that at times, it can feel a little boring. Don’t get me wrong, the level design is as ever wonderful. The early levels create small settlements that give a sense of the human suffering and achieve a feeling that the war will always be bigger than you. Cities look and feel sprawling, rural areas feel desolate and unfriendly and the space battles are, well, let’s just say “can we have a space fighter, please, Bungie?”
But it’s the fact that everything feels so similar. Of course to some that will never be a problem, but after adding so many neat tweaks and designs to ODST, one has to wonder why Reach doesn’t feel a little more original. Much of Reach revolves around driving something (note: you can even drive forklifts and random trucks) get out and do some shooting, drive some more, then shoot again. On its own this wouldn’t be an issue, but when Bungie deliver something different it sticks out a mile.
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