Brice’s Halo: Reach Review

Posted: September 24, 2010 by brice42 in Reviews

Yeah yeah, Halo this, Halo that.  Halo releases have always been a big deal, and Reach was no different.  Bungie can no longer laugh to the bank because they are too exhausted from carrying all the money people spent on their franchise, despite the grim economy, and despite the fact that none of them have been anywhere near as good as Halo: Combat Evolved.

I didn’t plan on getting it at all, I was in the throes of a Bad Company 2 revival as the days dwindled on that ridiculous Reach countdown my 360 dashboard insisted on showing me, and perfectly content to watch it run out.  But at the last minute I reserved it, and inwardly cursed myself as I joined the midnight masses, who were all a lot more excited than me.  I really wanted to believe them as they chatted excitedly, but I remembered all too keenly how disappointed I was with 3.  Still, I couldn’t bring myself to miss Bungie’s farewell.

I’m very glad I didn’t, because Reach is amazing.  I feel like I could look up a review on Halo: CE back when it was sensational, and just plagiarize the hell out of it.  Tight controls, butter-smooth gameplay, ridiculous graphics, blood-stirring soundtrack, incredible features; Bungie poured on all of these things like they always do, but this time they found where they hid all the heart they were using when they made the first one and threw it in as well.  It is both a beginning and an end, and it feels like it.

It pained me greatly when I met up with a friend shortly after the release and discovered that he had gone straight to Matchmaking and hadn’t even touched the campaign.  Not that I can blame him, the multiplayer is finally the perfect mix of the best they’ve done in the past and features that are the new convention, such as challenges and rewards that bring out the player’s mad skills and encourage them to try new weapons and modes.  It’s just as good as everyone says it is, and it turns me into a snarling, screaming beast.  Ah, just like the old days.

The campaign is also just as good as everyone says it is.  You know from the start that you’re fighting a losing battle, and that makes all your jaw-dropping feats of valor bittersweet.  For the Halo kiddies too young or retarded to grasp the concept, they went ahead and named your squad Noble Team.  You’re the nameless, faceless Noble Six who does most of the fighting while Nobles One through Five soak up all the cutscene glory, which I don’t mind at all.

Both in and out of combat, Reach satisfies that chronic Halo nostalgia I’ve had for nearly a decade.  Strange alien enemies with stange weapons, wide open expanses dotted with pockets of Covenant, all waiting to be killed by me.  The highest praise I can give it is this: It feels like the first time.  And though I won’t be trading in my copy of Bad Company 2 anytime soon, it is collecting a surprising amount of dust.  Not that it matters to you anymore Bungie, but you finally made me a Halo fan again.  Thank you.

10/10

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