Review by SoaringSpartan

Reviewed: 10/11/10

Spartans never die, and neither will Halo

Let me start by saying; I had high hopes for this game. It was probably my most anticipated game of all time. Did the game live up to the hype? Find out below.

Story: 9/10
The setting that should be familiar to fans of the series and one that was just waiting for a game. You are participating in the Fall of Reach, an event that has been mentioned in most Halo games. You take on the role as Noble Six, a new member of Noble Team, an elite group of Spartans, and through their eyes, you witness you Fall of Reach. The story has a few issues; one being the characters. There is just not enough time to explore each character’s personality, and so, by the end, you get the feeling that you’ve just been serving with a bunch of stereotypes; there’s Carter the typical Leader, Kat the smart-ass hacker, Jun the sniper, Emile the angry ‘Cole’ of the group and Jorge, the noble figure. Although the story does have its good points; the plot is well though up and the game gives you a feeling of victory after each mission, but it will shut you down with a failure. Even though the game makes you fight a battle that you ultimately lose, by the end, you will truly feel like you have won.

Graphics: 8/10
Honestly, this is not a pretty game. And no, I didn’t come to the game expecting Final Fantasy, but the game suffers because of this. But first, the good points; each weapon has received a graphical overhaul. Every gun has had a few little details added to it. What was surprising is that a lot of guns have a small scope. No, I’m not talking about the zoom function, but the small monitor in which you can see objects. Even though this may not seem all that impressive, it is very responsive and accurate. All Covenant enemies are beautifully animated and the Elites now look more monstrous than their previous incarnations. The scenery is nice and each map is beautiful to look at. That is, as long as you don’t use the zoom function. The game’s graphics has barely improved from Halo 3, which is an issue considering that is was released 3 years ago. The cutscenes have a horrible look to them, as anything close up will make you want to just skip the cutscene.

Gameplay: 9/10
This is where the game truly shines. The gameplay is fast and frantic, like a Halo game should be. The campaign will keep you busy for a good 8 hours, not counting the legendary difficulty, skulls and Data Pads to be found. Armor abilities have also been added, and they are very balanced and fun to use, the only truly broken ones being Armor Lock and Bubble Shield. Firefight mode also makes a return, but it is now a full game mode rather than the Horde-rip off of ODST. It allows players to customize their firefight experience; changing the enemies sent at you, number of waves, transportation of enemies, and even allowing you to make your own skulls. Forge mode returns with many new features that fans have been asking for; Angle snaps, floating objects, phased physics, custom colors, more objects, larger budgets, and many more. Playing any mode in the game will earn the player credits which can be spent towards armor unlocks in the armory, with more items being unlockable as rank increases, which rewards players who play a lot without unbalancing the game. Speaking of which, the game is almost perfectly balanced. Every weapon has a role it can fill that no other weapon can. As always, plasma weapons reduce shields faster than they deplete health, with bullets doing the opposite. The A.I has been given the power of god! The A.I is very intelligent, possibly the best I’ve seen in any video game. Playing the game on legendary is difficult, not only because of the damage modifications, but also because of the relentless A.I. For example, sticking an Elite with a plasma grenade will cause him to charge at you and try to die a hero. Brutes fire automatic weapons more than others, jackals signal to their allies that an enemy is nearby and the new Skirmisher can run faster than a warthog, and it knows its way around and grunts suicide more often when leadership is gone. Couple this with the A.Is incredible timing with Armor Abilities and you’ve got yourself a group of enemies that will kill you, or at least make you die with them. Each species acts differently; Elites use cover until their shields drop, then they either hide, or get angry and charge you. Brutes are more reckless but this makes them more dangerous as well. Jackals alert their allies when you are nearby.

Music: 8/10
Not the best. At first, the military themes may be a nice change from the epic sounds of the original trilogy and the jazz sounds of ODST, it just doesn’t appeal to me. There are one or two gems in this, but other than that, the soundtrack is just above average, it gets the job done but doesn’t really do it with class

This is a game that All Xbox 360 owners need to have. An engaging story paves the way for a very addictive and satisfying multiplayer experience. Although it is a little bit of a disappointment, that only shows how great people expected this game to be, and dare I say, it was close to its goal, with minor flaws that can be ignored.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Halo: Reach (Limited Edition) (AU, 09/14/10)

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