Game Review – Halo Reach

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Arrrgghhh! Let’s me tell ye all somethin’ about Modern Warfare 2.

Full o’ mutinous, landlubberin’, bilge rats who blow th’ man down at the’r broadside or poop deck wi’ the’r gunwalls – real shipmates swashbuckle bow t’ bow!

Aye, but th’ game be like grog an’ honey t’ me, e’en now ‘t got me in its siren song.

Halo Reach be supposed t’ be me deliverance, an’ show all th’ American Main true code o’ conduct o’ th’ swashbuckle. Sadly Halo Reach only bring a spring upon her cable, ‘t wasn’t th’ jolly rogership o’ lore more like a cog o’ disappointment…

The tale o’ Halo Reach doesn’t belong t’ Master Chief nay; this yarn be about a lad named Six. Six’s swabbieality be about as potent as a flog made o’ fluff, but his skills wi’ a cutlass be unmatched. Arrrr, on accoun’ o’ this he became th’ newest hands o’ a privateer crew known Noble Squad. They be true Swashbucklers me hardies, each one a Man-O-War in armor, sent by th’ (space) marines t’ scuttle any scallywag that dare threats humanity. Wi’ th’ young Six in tow th’ Noble crew set sails t’ th’ port city known as Reach t’ find ou’ what corsairs be pillagin’ th’ lass’ an’ make them keel haul th’ plank. Woe be t’ the, on accoun’ o’ they found the’r enemies: Th’ Covenant – wi’ an army so large’t makes th’ Spanish armada (cheap pop) look like landlubbers fresh off th’ teat. Will th’ Noble crew survive th’ storm or become Davy Jones’ newest catch o’ th’ tide?

Avast that worry buckos, Six be nay light weight after all, he (or she) can handle a clap o’ thunder an’ then some. A straight shooter if erethere be one, he can handle a dreadnought o’ weapons, from flintlock pistols an’ musket shotguns t’ th’ amazin’ an’ exotic Nest o’ Bees. As a Buccaneer after me own blackened heart Six can e’en plunder arms from th’ Covenant an’ use them t’ blow many men down. This lad-O-War’s tricks continue wi’ a king’s ransom o’ seadogin’ skills: like runnin’ wi’ th’ force o’ th’ sea, becomin’ clear as th’ purest lake, resistin’ e’en th’ sharpest blades an’ th’ like. A force o’ nature that one, but wi’ th’ one o’ many shipshape vessels in th’ game Six can keelhaul th’ Covees like Hades hisself.

Now don’t be gettin’ too full o’ nelsons folly an’ foolin’ yourselves o’ th’ strength o’ th’ Covees. The’r hands be vast an’ widely known as th’ Scourge o’ th’ Se’en Seas in th’ four corners on th’ galaxy. First be th’ grunts, scurvy wee bilge rats yeller bellies that be cannon fodders fer th’ Covees. Then thar be th’ Jackals, sea weed crossed squids wi’ a spyglass eye fer snipin’. Hunters be large, kraken-size monsters wi’ a cannon on one arm – they take six pounders jus’ t’ hurt’em beware. Brutes be tough, strong, an’ live by dead men tell nay tales; th’ only savin’ grace be they’re as smart as killick. Finally th’ Elite be ever’ bit as weathered an’ resourceful as lad Six hisself sharin’ many o’ his strengths an’ very wee aliments. Separately they’re dangerous, together they dance th’ hempen jig t’ ever’ marines in th’ sea – includin’ ye mate.

Aye me mates, this transcribin’ as a seafarin’ hearty be floggin’ tough, be ‘t enough t’ cause a mate t’ grog blossom. T’ continue th’ review in this fashion would be fool hardly (plus I’m out of time), so when th’ rooster crows I’ll finished me tale fer now I wish ye all a good eve.

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(09/26/10)

Ahoy mates and welcome back to the crew review of Halo Reach, Arrrr! I and I been chopin ‘ta bit to finish me tale… Hold on lads.

*Ack!* *Cough!* *Ahem!*

Sorry about that, all that pirate sticks with you for a while, but that’s all over for another year and now it’s back to business as usual – that being today the synopsis of the game. Halo Reach is very similar to the play styles of all the Halo games that came before it but still has a few changes that players should be aware of. One of which is a health bar, sure  Spartans still sports some sophisticated shields (try saying ‘Spartans still sports some sophisticated shields’ three times fast) but they don’t charge as fast as previous games which leave player’s health up for a pounding. Also players have access to new abilities that surviving battles a bit more likely. Six always starts off with Sprint (also is the multiplayer default ability as well – more on this later) but throughout the game players with find more skills to use like the drop shield from Halo 3; only this time it heals people inside it as well as being portable cover. New (or somewhat retooled) weapons and vehicles are found in Reach as well, each with their own little quarks about them. Some are all propose, middle of the road while others are only effective in headshot situations; but truthfully the weapons on the Covenant side really put the Spartans’ arms to shame.

Which is the final difference between Reach and all other Halo games: the Covenant will mess you up.

I’m not kidding, from the scrubby, but numerous, little ‘Grunts’ to the aptly named ‘Elites’ each and every enemy you will encounter will make your life just that much difficult to live – which won’t be for long, get use to that 3rd person ‘you are dead’ camera pan out. And whether you have CPU helpers or your available friends online (more on this later) it won’t matter in the long run because their out for blood and they will get it.

Halo Reach looks like Halo: Combat Evolved from a graphical standpoint. Which isn’t bad per say, but everything looks (outside of Spartan/Covees armors) looks a little dull. The Sound isn’t much better in fact, a lot of it is caned FX from games of Halo’s past – which again is not a bad thing just not something to write home about in an email either. I will say the voice acting is solid, but five out of the six members of noble squad are the classical stoic soldiers’ archetype (with small degrees of difference); which means character development wasn’t part of their training at basic. Six (the player character) hardly talks and the assortment of people outside of Noble squad don’t bring anything to table either.

In short the audio/visuals here are very decaf.

In life, my friends, true perfection is rare, this is true for video games as well. When I review games and find problems, that’s just part of the course in my line of work. However the problems I found here were not only bad, but they were truly disappointing coming from a pedigree series like Halo and on Bungie’s swan song game no less. All of these problems are found in one place – multiplayer.

Let’s start with the health bar – why Bungie, why? Why would you create a perfect health recovery system for FPS years ago (a system which is still being used today) only to tack this ‘get a health kit now or your die’ crap! I don’t want to survive a dogged battle on multiplayer and recover my shield just to end up dying looking for a freaken white & red box on the wall! Halo doesn’t work like that at all.

Next up stock weapons and abilities – If there’s anything I’ve learned from Team Fortress 2, Transformers: War for Cybertron, and yes even Modern Warfare 2 is that I like choosing what weapons, gear, and abilities I bring to the fight. This ‘here’s two generic weapons (Assault/DM Rifle and a pistol), good luck finding better stuff on the field’ stuff is not acceptable anymore – it’s downright archaic people. Those who played the game are now saying: ‘we do get to choose different weapons and a ability through the selection of classes’. I retort: ‘not always’ – depending on the game type, map, and sometimes race (Covenant I mean) the game may ‘give’ players the choice of selecting a class load out or it will give you whatever it wants and the default ability of Sprint (which by the way the ability to run slightly faster than normal isn’t an ability – it’s a cop out). I what my Spartan to be a reflection of my playstyle, not some front line failure who died because I couldn’t get the rocket launcher fast enough.

Voting for match types – This one’s really annoying. People, I like the unpredictability of deathmatches, never knowing what’s around the next corners. Or capture the flag: preventing the enemies from taking my flag while at the same time trying to steal theirs. Or even King of the Hill where only the strong stay alive for more than a minute and score the highest time. I love them all because no one person or group of people has an advantage – not even I.  Even Halo Reach screws that up too, because during the startup phase in multiplayer the game gives the players in the match the choice of voting for a general match or three other options. These options aren’t a change of venue, but a change of match type like all rockets, SWAT (no shield, no radar, and DMRs), and other various match types. Now say you want a straight up deathmatch and vote for it, however the clan you’ll be facing wants all rockets. How do you think this is going to end? Bungie, I don’t like getting shoehorned into match types I don’t like, don’t play, and/or give an advantage to my opponent just because I got out voted. Worst still I can’t even leave the lobby and find a new one until the game I’m in starts (or I leave the game entirely). There should be separate lobbies for different game types, There should not be a voting crapshoot thrown together just because someone got lazy!

MIA co-op campaign – Ok, while it is true that you can play the co-op campaign with your friends on this game, the good people at Bungie decided to leave out the co-op campaign matchmaker for Xbox live as a whole til October. Why? Because they didn’t want the people who finished the single player to ruin it for the people who did not. Total BS… I don’t know what the real reason is, but because of this shortsighted blunder or outright lie I have to consider this game incomplete now…

For really what it’s worth Halo Reach is not a bad game; I like how the story ended up, I like the various ways you can customize your armor, and they’re firefight mode (their version of the Horde mode in Gears of Wars) was the one single oasis in multiplayer’s desert of discontentment. However it couldn’t outweigh the simply phoned in features, looks, and overall progression of a series that once launched a 100,000 Xboxes (not an exact number, just a figure of speech). It is truly a disheartening game from Bungie – in my opinion they didn’t go out with a bang or a boom but a whimper in the darkness. Whoever takes over from here has a lot of work to do.

Ranking: Sliver

3 Comments

  1. […] Now I know I ranted about this into the ground at the time so I won’t pick over a scab, but from what I hear the multiplayer has improved slightly and can now get free online players to help others in co-op mode. Quite frankly the majority of people still liked this game even before the improvements and that mystifies me. I stand by my assessment of this accursed game and my only real regret is that an excellent series had to end in this wet fish title. […]

  2. […] people, I know what you’re thinking: after your tirade on the pure dreck that is ‘Halo: Reach’ there no way you’ll going to play Halo 4 right? Actually, no. Like I said before on my Armada E3 […]

  3. […] sequels they reached their peak around Halo 3, what comes after are experiments and straight up lazy titles that shouldn’t have the Halo name on it. As for Halo 4? Well 343 Industries did well with the property but it’s time to face facts: Halo […]


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