Review by jeangregoire

"A feast of classic Halo action"

This is an experience akin to the original Halo.

There are differences; there are improvements and changes in style/direction, but the impact and joy you experience when playing and watching this game is something that was missing from Halo 2 and 3. Halo: ODST was a slightly different animal. It engrossed the single player and challenged them on a more cerebral level, but the spectacle and emotion of Reach is evident for the player and all spectators.

I didn't love the multiplayer experience and I barely played it. (I don't often play online and this didn't convince me to do so more often.) What this did was deliver a single player/co-op campaign that moved me and drove me to want to play it over and over. I don't bring the multiplayer into consideration when scoring this, because I could happily replay the campaign over and over. There is also a firefight mode, which some people rave about, but I can't get past the story mode. It is that fun and involving.

I enjoyed the single player of Halo: CE. I loved playing it with friends split screen and going through the story together. The characters weren't that engaging and fully fleshed-out but the story covered all the good archetypes of a solid epic drama - heroism, sacrifice and tragedy. I was committed to the few characters who had survived so far, and because throughout the campaign you experienced various firefights that could be either with companions or without, depending on how you performed and protected them, when it came to their demise, I fought over and over, in the vain hope that I could save them.

On a similar note, did anyone else replay the last mission of CoD4 to see if they could keep fighting and fighting, and kill all the enemies and stop that cut-scene from appearing?

This is what you feel when you play Reach. This is new ground for Halo. Ish. After being the solo tank in 1 and 2, and only having marginal assistance from the Arbiter in 3, it is refreshing and in some ways a relief to have your squadmates in Reach. And they play like spartans. They carve through enemies like you want to. And you wish they could be with you on all your missions when things go bad. When things go wrong, you have that emotional tug that makes you want to make things right, or kill all the enemy you can in retribution. It's a fairly moving game, as games can go.

The controls are tight (after taking some getting used to from some changes to the Halo standard and the other FPS). The weapons are satisfying and the scenarios beyond open-ended and approachable from many different angles. You can play through the whole game more or less using any weapon or avoiding using any vehicle as all playstyles are possible if you're skilled or smart enough.

In short: you should expect the quality of gameplay that this delivers because it's a Halo game. This matches this comfortably (I'd say it exceeds it in various aspects of vehicle combat and this version delivers a fantastically balanced selection of weaponry). You should expect the graphical clarity to stand in awe at various moments as you explore the game. This game delivers, for me, a more amazing sense of storytelling and drive to play and succeed than you experience in any Halo game or many others. This is why I give it a 10.

In giving this a 10 I recognise the level of perfection that score alludes to. I do not know if I could score it a 10 if I only played multiplayer games. But if you loved Halo: CE (which had no online multiplayer) and you love single-player/campaign modes, then this is 100% deserving of a perfect score. I give this full marks, and I could honestly say if I could only have one game to play over and over, this would be ideal.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/12/12

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

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