Reaching For The Stars
Halo Goes Out With A Bang
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Halo ODST was a mistake. No, it was a HUGE mistake. Marketing a five hour campaign with recycled maps in a $60 package alienated a lot of gamers like myself, and even a few Halo fanboys as well. But I'm sure those same fanboys thought it was ok, after all, Halo Reach was on the way, and ODST would hold them off for a while.
Sure I knew Reach was on the way, but I still was reeling from the ODST debacle. I didn't expect much from the game, nor did I expect it to be any good. Was I ever wrong, as Halo Reach is not only good, it actually made Halo an enjoyable experience again, and like Episode III of Star Wars (the only GOOD movie of the new trilogy) it brings the whole Halo storyline full circle.
We all heard the stories about the Fall of Reach, and now after nine years we experience it first hand as a member of Noble Team. We witness the start of the invasion, the evacuation of Reach, battles even in space outside of Reach, and all the way to the last stand.
All of the action is seen from the eyes of "Noble Six," the newest member of Noble Team, and it almost feels as if you're in the same setting as the Master Chief, unlike the perspective shown as an ODST trooper. Like Master Chief, Six not only is able to carry two weapons, but also can equip a special perk such as a stationary shield, faster running speed, or my personal favorite, a jump pack.
Much to my surprise the action does not just take place on the ground. One amazing mission even goes as far as boarding a starfighter and taking the fight to the Covenant in space. THIS is what I enjoyed most in Halo Reach, as it brought back classic memories of Wing Commander and Freespace. The only problem is it is only available as one mission, and not available in multiplayer. If Microsoft ever decides to release this as a full package, I'll be first in line to get it. I'd even get the Legendary Edition!
The ending of the game is also amazing, as it involves delivering a certain artificial intelligence well known to the Halo franchise to the Pillar of Autumn, the ship where the first game begins.
It ends up turning into a final stand reminiscent of the end of 300, and is even capped off with a well written thank you message from the staff of Bungie. It is a wonderful ending to a great franchise.
However, not everything in the game is perfect. As I said earlier, the excellent space combat mission is only that, just one mission. If only there was more. Not only that, but you really don't get to attach yourself real well with Noble Team. It's almost like they were designed to get killed off during the game.
But for one character I will accept that, and her name is Kat. By far she's one of the most irritating characters in the game, and all she did was mumble different comments, almost like Cortana did in the trilogy. Of course, not having any subtitles in the game (cutscenes only) makes it very difficult to understand what she says. Even more, she constantly got in my line of fire, and I couldn't wait for her to get off. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed with her demise, nor was I with the full ten hour single player experience.
I know it's not official, but to me, Halo Reach feels like Bungie's way of saying "we're sorry for ODST." If this is their apology, I fully accept it because Reach is more like redemption. It's an excellent way to complete the series and bring everything full circle, and provides an exciting 10 hour experience that Halo fans have been clamoring to get for a long time.
Pros: Redeems itself for the ODST mistake. Excellent story provides closure to the Halo series. Space combat...
Cons: ...that only lasts for one stage. If only there was more of it, or if it was available in multiplayer. Kat is so ANNOYING, and suffers from Cortana's "mumble mouth."
Todd Hargosh is GiN's Product Testing Manager. He enjoys any game that gets his adrenaline pumping. Todd can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org.