Review by no2morro

"Amazing...nothing short of amazing, and I usually hate console FPS"

Halo: Reach

I can't say that I am a big fan of FPS. I've only been playing them this generation because so many developers are pumping money into development of them. Anyway, I came to this after just finishing Kill Zone 2. Running at 30 frames per second, it left me feeling a little nauseous at times. Kill Zone 2 was OK, but I wasn't impressed by anything more than the visuals on the game that is supposedly the best FPS game on the Play Station 3.

Anyway, I came into Halo: Reach thinking, I'm sure this will be about the same. ODST was OK, I haven't exactly been impressed by anything out of Halo recently (I played 3, ODST, Wars - sorry if you are a big fan, but I didn't really enjoy them). Can you imagine my surprise when I found my jaw on the floor after playing this. I was gobsmacked. This game is actually awesome. What a shocking development? I hadn't expected that, and I had a great time playing it (I finished it on normal). I should mention before we continue any further, that this review will be based on Campaign. Except for when Gears of War came out, I almost never play on-line.

Story - 8/10

While the story was nothing special, the theme it was based on was. Everything in it was an act of selfless sacrifice. The characters were done well. Scientists were a little self-righteous and haughty, and the Spartans were grounded and practical and of the mind "everything for the cause." While there was nothing particularly brilliant about the story, it gelled well and made for a positive experience. You kind of feel that everything that you do matters and not, as is the case in many games, things are chugging along because the developer is just trying to extend the life of the game.

For example, if your companions fall in battle, you say you are going to help them. So while the pick up ship offers to take you out, you decide to stay to get your comrades backs. It's well done, and you can feel the brotherhood between them all.

Graphics - 9/10

This one is actually deceptive to evaluate. I actually spoke with people in the forum about it, because while on one level the graphics look plain, on the other hand, the level of depth in it is astounding. You won't see many games with the level of graphical depth that Reach has. For example, if there is no lighting source its really dark, and its quite bright around the lighting source (whether it be red iron from a smelting pot or blue Covenant torch-lights). The lighting is actually layers. The same kind of effects are done to everything in the game. As I said though, its not entirely clear what going on graphically...once you walk into a dark room though, you will begin to appreciate the lighting effects.

The Spartan uniform looks amazing too. You also have the option to customize your gear and make your own logo. It was quite fun doing that. You get points in-game that you can use to buy uniform mods too to change the appearance of your outfit. Its all very crisp and beautifully done.

Movement is also silky smooth. Everything is clearly running at 60 frames per second and there is no slowdown. When you think about all that is going on on-screen, that is a pretty astounding feat. It's just beautiful to watch as you play. Very impressive.

Game-play/Controls - 10/10

The game-play is phenomenal. There are more choices for game-pad setups (I sued the one with with RB as the zoom). I could finally play a Halo game in a format that was comfortable for me (I never liked clicking L3 to get felt weird). While I would have preferred Left trigger to be Zoom, this was a good first move on Bungie's part.

Switching between weapons and zooming was very smooth and it felt very natural. The use of jet-packs was also done well. You tap the corresponding button and you get thrust for the extent that you use it. With little pick ups like jet-packs, running mods, shield mods and the like, you can truly adjust your play style for what you would like to do.

Personally, I like using sniper rifles, so I used that with the running mod (to get out of town when the going was hot). It's brilliantly done. You really have to play it to appreciate how great this is.

Sound - 8/10

The music in the game is little more than ambient effects. Essentially the score isn't very impressive, but as mentioned earlier, the voice acting is well done. It's a pity that Bungie didn't do more work on the score, as they could have easily made something to prepare you for a showdown with a boss or something like that. I guess that's the point though, there isn't really any particular boss. There are enemies that when you see them will make you cringe (there are some seriously tough enemies in this game), but there are no real boss fights. Either way, the audio in the game is great and fitting.

Overall - 9/10

It's hard to really fault this game as this is as close to perfection as you are ever likely to see from a first person shooter. It's clear that the developer worked hard on this. You also appreciate it as you play through. I can easily see myself playing through another campaign on this and trying my hands at a different play style. It's an amazing game and my hat is off to the developers. As I said earlier too, for me to tilt my hat to a first person shooter when I usually don't like them is a surprising thing, but Bungie did it. They really nailed this.

Recommendation: Buy this when you can. You won't be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/24/10

Game Release: Halo: Reach (EU, 09/14/10)

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