Developer: Bungie / Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios / ESRB: Mature (Blood, Violence) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99
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Halo Reach takes place shortly before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. You take control of Noble 6, a new addition to the elite Noble team comprised of a group of six Spartan soldiers. The game has you locked in an all-out war on the planet Reach, which is the UNSC’s main military hub. The Covenant has pretty much wiped out all the outlying colonies of the UNSC and is now focused on Reach. I don’t want to say too much more about the story because I’m afraid I’ll spoil it for you. But believe me when I tell you that Reach does an amazing job building a base for one of the most beloved franchises of all time.
One of the main reasons this game will last for a long time are the upgrades and additions to Forge, which is now called Forge World. You’ll find that Forge World has been completely overhauled and it’s now much easier to create custom maps and games. I hope that more environments will be made available for Forge World via DLC in the future, but that’s just me hoping.
One of the biggest draws to the Halo series has to be the phenomenal multiplayer. Luckily Reach is the best of the best so far. With all the fixings of previous games like Slayer and King of the Hill, Reach also includes brand new game modes that should keep you busy for months on end. Here are the new offerings: Invasion pits two six-man teams against one another, one team plays as Spartans, the other as Elites. The Elites have to complete a number of tasks to win the game while the Spartans defend each of these positions. Headhunter has you competing to collect skulls that players drop when they are killed, and the player with the most skulls at the end wins. And my personal favorite, Stockpile has two teams competing to collect flags that are placed around the map and bring them back to their home base to score points. All of these new modes are a great addition to the multiplayer experience and will really help extended your enjoyment of Halo Reach.
Graphically, Halo Reach doesn’t go above and beyond with anything that’s going to make your jaw hit the floor. The game looks very similar to ODST and Halo 3. While it still looks good, there weren’t any “oh my god” moments for me throughout my play-through. It looks great, just not amazing.
Halo Reach is supposedly the last time Bungie will be crafting a Halo game and that’s a pretty sad thought. But it seems that with Halo Reach they poured every ounce of care that they had for this series into one extremely satisfying and rewarding game. The single-player story does an amazing job setting up the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, the multiplayer will keep you busy for a long time, and the new Forge World will expand the replay value of this game for years to come. Bottom line here is that this game is a must own.