Guest Author - James Shea
A prequel in the long-running Halo series, "Halo: Reach" delivers more of the same basic gameplay that's been present since the original "Halo: Combat Evolved"...and not much more.
Essentially, Halo: Reach is the same game as previous incarnations of the Halo series. The basic gameplay - a first-person shooter with vehicle elements - is intact, albeit with some minor changes. These changes include new abilities (though only one can be "equipped" at a time), some new guns (most of which are functionally identical to older ones), and a few short sequences in helicopters or spaceships. Playing the actual basic game feels almost exactly like playing old Halo games, with basically the same weapons, vehicles, enemies, etc. Because it's a prequel, they couldn't really add anything substantial - not that this stopped them from putting in a few new guns and vehicles that never show up in later installments.
One of the things that is, in a way, "new" is the customization of the main character. Previous Halo games have had customizable characters for multiplayer, starting with picking a color in Halo 1 and developing into different helmets, shoulderpads, and so on in Halo 3. In "Reach", the option has become available to pick a female Spartan (this option technically existed in Halo 3, but only affected the character's voice). In addition, the changes made to the model reflect in single-player, as well, since the Master Chief is no longer the main character.
A lot of the multiplayer modes from Halo: ODST have been brought over, including the cooperative Firefight mode. Other than that, it seems to be the same mix of multiplayer modes found in previous games - deathmatch, CTF, and so on. It's not bad, but it's not really original, either. ODST at least tried to do some new things with the hub concept and so on. Halo: Reach is just a retread. While this might not be bad, necessarily, it just seems like a lot of effort to go to make a new game with no real new characteristics. Even the voice actors seem bored at this point; all their performances are flat and dull, with hardly any emotion put into it.
There's an easy way to determine if Halo: Reach is a game that you, the consumer, will like. Did you like the previous games? Then you will like Halo: Reach. Did you dislike them? Then you will dislike Halo: Reach. It's almost more of an expansion than a new game. It's not a bad game in terms of design or graphics, but it's the same game as previous installments.
We purchased Halo Reach with our own money from a gaming store.
Buy Halo Reach from Amazon.com