‘Reach’ for sky in latest Halo game


There are few games that have been built with obvious, palpable passion. It is this sort of game that tends to be the most successful. Bungie’s "Halo: Reach" is one of those games. "Halo: Reach" is so well designed, and so packed with features that any fan or even newcomer could consider the $60 price tag relatively cheap. Every game mode is integrated flawlessly and easy to jump into.

Lets start with the crux of the game: the campaign. As with most of the "Halo" series, "Halo: Reach" features an engaging and challenging campaign coupled with a dramatic story arc that hopes to draw the player in, as well as add to the "Halo" mythos. For those who play the "Halo" games to enjoy the campaign, you’ll find little disappointment. The gameplay of the campaign is solid, consistently tough and, most importantly, fun to play. The first thing to notice, aside from the gorgeous graphics, is the improved enemies. The enemies, as a whole, are considerably more aggressive than in previous editions of the series and they actively change tactics to hunt players down. Enemies no longer appear in phases, and now tend to come as one homogenous group.. The general zeal with which the enemies have been imbued, make for one of the most challenging "Halo" games yet.

In the campaign, the player takes on the role of "Noble 6," the new "Spartan III" addition to the "Noble Team," and the team is where most of the storytelling problems reside. Bungie games are double-edged swords in that their respective stories are all in the details, forcing players to dig for the flavor, which is definitely there, but too subtle to notice immediately. This issue is very evident in Noble Team. Generally, the characters receive far too little characterization, and even the most likable characters are forced into clichéd roles.

Both the multiplayer and firefight modes are entertaining, and integrated into matchmaking, which makes playing with others easy and exciting. In addition, each game mode comes with a variety of options to vote on, which keeps gameplay fresh. The new armor abilities that "Halo: Reach" boasts compliment multiplayer greatly, lead to unique battles and always reward creativity. New and tweaked weaponry help "Halo: Reach" to stand apart from its predecessors, and keep combat interesting..

Multiplayer is supplemented by "Forge World," a simple yet robust map editor, which provides a creative outlet for tinkerers and the like. In fact, most of the game is customizable, and the easy-to-use file share option allows players to tap into the community’s pool of uploaded content.

To keep players invested in "Halo: Reach," Bungie has added the credit system, a veritable experience pool. Credits add to player rank and, upon promotion, unlock new gear to customize their Spartan. Getting promoted takes a while, but Bungie gives out daily updated challenges that reward large sums of credits upon completion.

For those who may have lost faith in the "Halo" series, "Halo: Reach" tries hard to acknowledge its roots and delivers a hope with a fresh, yet nostalgic experience, and with few disappointments. Overall, "Halo: Reach" is versatile and easily one of the best installments of the series.

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