Quick Halo: Reach Hands-on Impressions
The Covenant have certainly given humans, both in-game and out of game, a run for their money. As the antagonistic alien group from the Halo series, they have seemingly attempted three times to activate the Halo rings and bring forth Judgment Day for all living species by accidentally releasing the pesky Flood. Not only have their errors almost caused humans to experience genocide, but for the players behind the controller, they have brought forth frustration by promoting aggravating encounters with parasites known as the Flood.
Thankfully, Bungie has ditched a follow-up to Halo 3 and resorted to exploring the canon prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved with Halo: Reach. Not only does Halo: Reach introduce a new character and a handful of elite supersoldiers known as the Spartans, but they have created a world that is more inviting than they have ever created. From the encounters with the new sub-species of the Jackals, the Skirmishers, to witnessing the Gueta, a troll-like mountain beast that tears the Covenant a part limb by limb, Halo: Reach feels much more unique than the follow-up sequels to Halo: Combat Evolved ever did.
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While we can’t go into specifics about the single-player campaign, what we can state is that it’s a long journey that changes up the level formats more often than its predecessors ever did. Whether it’s taking the combat to space or riding gunner on a UH-144 Falcon, Halo: Reach presents itself as a serious contender in the realm of storytelling. Sure, the campaign may feel all too familiar – especially to players who have read the books that involve Reach – and the controls don’t provide any wild innovations, but when fans finally get their hands on Halo: Reach, I doubt they’ll be overwhelmingly disappointed with the story arc Bungie has presented. When it’s all said and done with – and if this is truly Bungie’s last Halo title – there’s a good sense of finality with Halo: Reach that fans should walk away with.
When examining the multiplayer, Bungie upped the ante and have gone hog wild with opening up the options to the gamers to adjust the game modes to their own liking. It’s almost overbearing to dig deep into the menus and customize each and every gametype, although, I doubt this will alienate fans who wanted a greater sense of control from their Halo matches. The newly incorporated Armor Abilities should further the online experience as players mix and match to create a diverse team. Through the many sessions we played, Sprint and Jet Pack offered the best advantages to make the most of as each allowed for quick getaways and the ease of taking down wounded prey. On the flip side, Armor Lock didn’t present itself as worthy of being in the rotation of abilities outside of the slight chance that odds are stacked against the player.
Halo: Reach remains one of the fall’s highly anticipated titles and for good reason. The world and canon is intact; the gameplay and controls aren’t harmed in any fashion; and the graphics have definitely been upgraded in areas to provide a better visual presentation to stay in line with what's currently on the market. Check back in two weeks to read our full review of Halo: Reach and how entertaining it was to drive a semi-truck through hordes of Covenant foes.
If you missed out on the trailer, check out what Bungie is gearing up for release on September 14.