Halo reaches into the future by going to the past



By Zach Walton

“Halo: Reach” is the best farewell Bungie Studios could give to their fans.

Halo: Reach is the fifth game in Bungie’s Xbox 360 exclusive series but the first chronologically. It follows Noble Team as they fight the Covenant to protect the doomed planet of Reach.

Halo: Reach succeeds where past Halo games have come short by focusing on what’s important to the franchise: epic campaign, engaging multiplayer and community interaction.

The campaign is what most players are going to jump in to play at first and it does not disappoint. Gone are long hallways of nothingness and cramped environments to play host to the infuriating Flood. Halo: Reach takes place for the most outside in the sprawling vistas of Reach.

Reach never bores the player with reused environments. Each mission takes place on a new part of Reach whether it be sprawling grasslands, expansive ice shelves or a neon-infused city. It’s this constant changing environment that makes the campaign such a delight to play.

The other shining moment of the campaign is just the truly epic moments with the members of Noble Team. These guys are not Master Chief, they’re better. Noble Team is the best group of Spartans Bungie has ever created. Halo: Reach truly makes the player care about Noble Team which makes their inevitable downfall that much harder to bear.

Once players complete the 7-10 hour campaign, most will jump into the multiplayer. Like always, the game does not disappoint in this area. Instead, Bungie has fine-tuned the experience to make it more fun for everybody.

The best change to multiplayer is the addition of credits. Every match played earns the player credits which can be used to purchase new armor additions and other customizable pieces for their unique Spartan. Regardless of winning or losing a match, credits are still earned. This is a great addition for those players who may not be the best at multiplayer but have fun playing it nonetheless. Every player has an equal chance at advancing in rank and getting new armor regardless of their skill.

The match types haven’t changed much since Halo 3. All the standard match types like Slayer, Capture the Flag and Infection are still around. Reach also includes ODST’s addition, Firefight, to the roster. The new match type in Reach is “Invasion.” In this mode, one team is comprised of Spartans and the other of Covenant Elites. The goal is to either attack and hold control points or defend said control points from the enemy. It’s a great game mode that fans of games such as Team Fortress 2 will instantly find familiar and fun.

The new community focus really sets Reach apart from other shooters. While Halo 3 had the Forge mode, it was severely limited in scope. Reach removes such limitations. The sky’s the limit now.

The new Forge mode allows players to customize any map to their most far- out fantasies. There are already multiple maps on Forge that create platformers like Super Mario Bros. and other renditions of classic games. Bungie has expanded the creative powers of their players so they can make anything they want.

Reach is a massive love letter from Bungie to their fans. It has the best campaign, multiplayer and user created content tools the series has ever seen. This is the definitive Halo experience and it will be sad to see Bungie leave the franchise. It’s almost certain Halo will never be this good again.

Reach may be the beginning of the story but it’s the end of a nine year era of Halo dominance– and what a wonderful end it is.