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Review: Halo Reach

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Halo ReachGamecrawler reporting for duty, sir!! After all the hype, will Bungie’s final Halo game be one last Ooorah? Or are reasons to buy this (at the right price via us of course!) looking a bit, well, Spartan…?

Unless you’ve been in hyper-space recently, you can’t fail to have seen the buzz and advertising around Halo: Reach, developer Bungie’s final Halo game before the rights go back to Microsoft. But with the big M itself declaring that this is Halo 4 in all but name, can Halo: Reach live up to the hype and deliver one last Oorah for Bungie?

Some big changes and evolutions for Halo this time round – inevitable really, as games have changed since Halo 3 was launched. Games like Gears of War and more importantly the Modern Warfare franchise have raised the bar so much higher. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Infinity Ward must be chuffed that Halo now offers you a more realistic urban setting, customisable payloads, experience points, co-op sniper missions and an array of challenges to enjoy!

halo-reach-screenshot-1Straight out of the box you’re treated to some lush presentation (the menus really are intuitive and easy to navigate), amazing graphics, music and intro movies – but then, this is Halo and slickness is what it does best. It’s an interactive movie – this time with plenty more bonus options. Forge returns, giving you the ability to adapt, edit and create your own levels – as well as a file sharing feature meaning you can record and take pictures of things you find in the game for others to see.

Single player has seen combat evolved too, with you playing as Noble 6, part of an elite team of Spartans defending the planet Reach (this is a prequel to the Master Chief-featuring Halo games). perhaps deliberately playing down the garish colours post-Avatar, we have a more realistic and gritty set of maps and locations – with a step-up in visuals that will make you gaze adoringly at the screen when you should be fragging and jet-packing your way to glory.

Ahhhh yes, the jet-pack. Did you see the cool PR stunt in Trafalgar Square? This is just one of the relatively small but oh-so-enjoyable little features that Bungie has added in this time round . Along with customisable class options like medic (a pimped up bubble shield), sprint (run like the wind, Spartan!) and even a cool hologram (very useful in Firefight) and you can play Halo a whole new way.

There’s ten levels of increasing difficulty and variety. Along with Warthogs and other vehicles, space ships are now part of the mix – very cool and breaks up the shooting on the ground.

halo-reach-screenshot-2Multiplayer is where it’s at in Halo though; always has and always will be. And it’s refreshing to see that the developers have really gone to town with new modes of play (best of all being Headhunter, where players compete for skulls like some kind of intergalactic footy match). Any customisation you make to your single player Spartan carry over into the online world.

Yes the online play is still frantic but it’s also a great deal of fun – and provides a welcome alternative to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as the Xbox party game of choice. Some nice touches here too – you can vote on a variety of levels each round – meaning that democracy rules in multiplay. And people who keep quitting mid-match are banned for 15 minutes for repeat offending. Payback!

An improved Firefight makes a welcome return (one of the few good things about Halo: ODST last year). Based on the popular Horde mode of Gears of War 2, you and your pals face wave after wave of Covenant and the heat sure starts to turn up. It’s great fun and adds yet another way to enjoy the game.

All in all then, a very welcome addition to any gaming collection and an early gauntlet laid down to the forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops which is getting alot of interest on pre-order. This is well worth getting for anyone who’s enjoyed any of the previous Halo games, as the intergalactic mojo is most definitely back. Outstanding, space marines!

Presentation 10/10
Playability 9/10

Platforms: Xbox 360
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now

Review Overview: “A fitting, epic and fun finale (for now) to one of the best franchises in video games. Alot of time has been spent providing a great experience for both single and multiplay with some great innovations. Worth buying straight away to get a piece of the action. “

Overall Score: 9/10

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 at 4:59 pm and is filed under Reviews, Xbox 360. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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