Halo lives up to reputation

Story by Duncan Stanley

If nothing else, Halo: Reach certainly had a reputation to live up to. The fourth installment of the Halo series, Reach, brings several entirely new elements to the game play formula. Notable additions include: Armor Abilities, New weapons, and a new take on the classic formula.

Reach absolutely blew me away. From the moment I slid the disc into the tray, to the moment I set down my controller at the end, I was absolutely in awe. This is what Halo was meant to be. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous. The environments vary from the purple luminescent interiors of Alien Cruisers, to the gritty canyons of a distant human colony world; the graphics team has absolutely outdone themselves on this game.

The enemies, a conglomerate of Alien races known as the collective “Covenant” includes 7 different races. Going back to the original ‘Halo’ formula, Elites, Grunts, and Jackals make up the majority of the alien forces you fight.

The Elites are terrifying and cunning. The Artificial Intelligence was wonderfully done. Racting to your every move, communicating, planning and executing attacks. Even on the “Normal” difficulty, Alien hordes laugh as you cower in fear and punish your every mistake with death…again and again.

This is what Halo was meant to be. You, Noble Six, one of the few remaining Spartan Supersoldiers, fighting against teeming hordes of horrendously hard to kill Aliens.

Moving from Campaign to Multiplayer, I was STILL blown away. The level of character customization is unparalleled for an Xbox title.

There are seven different multiplayer game modes, with several sub-modes for each, leaving you with hundreds of different gametypes. The multiplayer is well-balanced, leaving even the worst players with the ability to gain a few kills, and preventing the extremely skilled players for ruining the game for others. Each weapon and ability can be countered, nothing is over-powered. It is balanced almost perfectly.

Multiplayer map variety is somewhat limited, but Bungie studios made wise decisions in bringing back community favorites Blood Gulch, and Ascension.

What better way to remedy the limited maps available, than to allow the community to make their own? That was the concept behind Halo 3’s “Forge.”

Halo: Reach, took Forge, put it on steroids, and watched it grow. The level of building available in Reach’s Forge is insanely amazing. Two of the maps that were good enough to ship with the game were even built by Bungie using Forge.

Forge, Theatre, Campaign, and Multiplayer all combine in Reach’s final product. I know I’m biased. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m biased. But given the influx of  “Okay, you’re right.” I’ve received about the game, I’m convinced that Reach is the best game engineered by Bungie studios, and one of the best of all time.  This is what Halo was meant to be.