Friday, September 24, 2010

Holy Review: Halo: Reach

Bungie has ridden the wave, and now it's time to move on. Ever since their first mega-hit Halo:Combat Evolved was launched with the original XBox system back in 2001, Halo has been their flagship franchise. Man. Has it really been 10 years since the original Halo was first published? Good god my age is beginning to show. Well, I'm going to have to say, bravo and thank you to Bungie. Wait what? I'm giving them thanks!? I fucking hate Halolololololo. But... But wait... Why do I hate Halo? This puzzles and confuses the Holy.

Goddamnit internet.  Goddamnit.
From a pure game standpoint, the Halo series isn't so bad. Halo has always pushed the edge of FPS gaming on the console level(Until COD4 came along but that's a different story). Graphically, all the Halo games have been up there. Lets be real. The story isn't that terrible. Hey, deep down inside. We all want to be Master Chief. I am greatly going off on a tangent here, lets get to the review.


Opening sequence
Halo: Reach is a prequel to the original Halo:Combat Evolved. For anyone who has been following the series(I'm sure there's more than a few of you) you already kinda know what's going on. You got people, and you got aliens. Aliens don't like the people. People don't like the aliens. Much shooting and being dicks to each other. You already know how the overall story is going to end. Why? Because you've played it already in Halo 3(Or at least you should have. If you didn't, just go pick it up, it's like 20 fucking dollars.) So what does this mean?! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!?!?!?!!?!(Double rainbow zomg) It means that this whole story that's being put together in Reach is going to lead us to the almighty events of Halo. But who are you? And what is your purpose? What the hell happened that set the events of the original Halo into motion!?

Noble Team(Sans you)

You play as the rookie of Noble team, a squad of Spartans(Like Master Chief but not as OP). Your call sign is Noble six. Nobody says what happened to the previous six. Not much is mentioned about your team. All you have are names and skills. Noble 1: Carter, Leader. Noble 2: Kat, chick with robot arm(Oh yeah she's good with computers and stuff). Noble 3: Jun, sniper dude. Noble 4: Emile, token black guy(Wat? Even though you don't see his face, you know he is.) Noble 5: Jorge, big dude with the Gatling gun. There's not a whole lot of "Bonding" or anything. It's mainly business as usual. Shit happened! Kill stuff.

This should look familiar on some level.
The story does take you though a variety of locations. Many are reminiscent of past Halo games. Cityscapes, mountainous terrain, island bases, covenant battle ships. You go through the grinder of familiar, yet not the same, locations. During the missions, you're given a task to check out some.... Stuff.... Which leads to more stuff... Ok, I really don't want to get into it too much. But a lot of shit happens. I hate spoilers as much as I hate writing them out. Which is a lot.

Default Noble Six Armor(You can customize your own)
I enjoyed the story. The way the storytelling is integrated into the gameplay well. There aren't too many times where you'll sit there and watch a 3+ minute cut-scene(Ala Hideo Kojima). I personally like the scenes where the camera is done in the first person of your character. THE IMMERSION! Yes, the story isn't the most "Original" and what not. But hey, we're talking about a First Person Shooter action massive testosterone epeen game. I don't expect any kind of literary genius or industry shaking brilliance. I want something that I can follow, that keeps me in the action, and shows how fucking bad ass my character(ME) is. That is what I expect. Hell, I'd guess that half of all Halo players completely skip the story.

Graphics and Sound

I have always felt that the Halo franchise has pushed the graphical envelope. Reach did not disappoint there. Things looked pretty. And at the same time, most of it felt eerily familiar. As if you've played a game with similar environments before... Oh wait, we have. Halos 1-3 and ODST. But they cram almost all of those environments into a single game. And then some!

Wooh I can accessorize
Many models haven't really changed much since the first Halo. You still got your good ol' Warthog. Covenant still got that goddamn tank. Banshee's still fly around and annoy the piss out of you. Drop ships are still basically indestructible. But these are points of nostalgia. These are the units and figures that make people go "Oh hay that's Halo."

All of the designs in Reach are meant to draw from other parts of the series. The Spartan armors, the covenant forces, weapons, vehicles, all of them follow the styles of it's predecessors. But each unit feels a little more detailed than before. Besides the whole "Change the color of them, that makes them different." variations, more models have been integrated into the enemies. Elites and grunts with different armor configurations and play styles does add to the feeling that you're fighting a more varied army than say different colored dudes all in the same uniform.

For your nostalgic pleasure
While we're on the artsy fartsy stuff, lets talk about the soundtrack. The original Halo has one of the most memorable soundtracks evar. EVAR. You now have that opening screen AHHHHH AHHHH AHHHHHH song stuck in your head now. Reach definitely kept the sound theme the same. That orchestrated with some electric guitar rock band mixed in with choir singing THING. I'd say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's served the franchise so well, I don't see any need to drastically change it to anything really. The sounds and music of Halo also add to that nostalgic and immersive feeling of the game.


It's goddamn Halo. SHOOT THINGS. "RAWRARARARARARARARARARRR!  Bang bang!  I has a gun that I've seen/used for the past 10 years!  I know how to use this!  BANG BANG BANG!  I WIN!" Is what I'd really like to say to summerize the gameplay section of Reach. But there's a little more.

Jetpack + Artillery == Awesome
Lets get to some additions to the game.  Aside from everything we know and love about Halo, Bungie has added a few things to make it more interesting.  Most notably is the armor kits.  Your character is able to pick up certain enhancements to their armor that gives you different abilities.  Your standard is the Sprint.  With a simple push, BAM!  You're off and running like it's COD4.  LOLOLOLO, but nawww it's something that's been way overdue for this series.  What's that?  Tired of sprinting?  Bam!  Pickup a fucking jet pack.  Woosh!  Now you're flying away and shooting things like it's Starsiege:Tribes.  LOLOLO bawwwwwwwww.... I wonder if anyone remembers that game.  I loved it... But that's another day.  Lets dig around in this goodie bag of armor kits.  What else we got.  Active Camo.  I didn't really understand what it did...  You're kinda transparent.  But if you move, you're less transparent.  I guess it's for campers or something.  Armor Lock, it's kinda cool.  You slam your fist on the ground and look all cool with white electricity surrounding you.  You become invincible as long as you have the lock going.  Nice if you're in a super shitty situation and you need that extra time for maybe some cover fire.  The bubble shield is back as well.  It's more of a support shield though.  Anyone inside the shield gains health back as well as some shield recharge time.  Also great for extra cover during firefights.  I think that's all of them.  Some are more useful than others.  Smurf the Active Camo IMO.

Would not have guessed that this was from Halo
There's a few new vehicles for you to dick around with. I think the most noted one is the Sabre. This is a UNSC flying death machine. I thought it was cool. There's an entire segment dedicated to just flying and shooting crap... IN SPACE. Oh yeah, space combat. Makes me feel like I'm playing Wing Commander or The Last Starfighter(Anyone remember this movie?). Fly around! Pew pew! Oh shit space debris! Boom. It was a nice variation on the gameplay. I was not expecting there to be a space combat mission in a Halo game. Well met.

Da Choppa
There's also another couple of air missions where you pilot a CHOPPA. You fly DA CHOPPA around a city and do rescue type things. It's got a Gatling gun for you to shoot, and comes with two Gatling gunners on both sides. You're almost a goddamn flying fortress. You fly around this city in ruins and shoot more things. Occasionally getting out to save people or blow up jammer thingies. But for the most part flying around and shooting at things. Never bothered to find out what that CHOPPA thing was called. The controls of it were kinda weird. It wasn't unbearable like Battlefield 2 chopper controls. But it took just a tiny bit to get used to.

Holy Factor

Hey bro, you play Halo?
Alright. Look, I HATE Halo. But, not as a game. Oh no. As a game I think it's really peachy keen super kewl. Like my hatred for Star Wars, it has nothing to do with the actual content or the object of itself. It has 100% entirely to do with the fan base. I used to love Halo. Ohh man. The days when LANning up 4 Xboxes to blast the crap out of each other. Man those were the days. But then... IT HAPPENED. Halo became big. REALLY FUCKING BIG. Frat boys around the nation were bro-juicing all over it. They began to rape the series, just like they did with Madden. Hey Bro, u play Halo? Oh man, me too bro! Brofist. But... That was just the sad start of it. Eventually, when Halo 2 arrived, I hoped to god that the frat boys would become bearable. But then XBox Live happened. And my nice little Halo world collapsed all around me. Yes, you could still hold nice little private matches with friends. But everyone wanted to play on Xbawks Live. Which was the start of many facepalms.

His reaction to being called a camper
Aside from the retarded trash talking of steroid driven Bro's, a new player joined the field. Fucking 10 year olds. Some jack ass parents that don't know what the fuck they're doing, allowed their young children to play video games on the internet. Granted, they have been able to do this on the PC before. But that would require them to type shit out. Which requires some basic form of, oh I dunno, INTELLIGENCE. With XBawks Live, they can just spout out any form of retard and we are all subjected to it. They screaming... Ohhh teh screaming... And such language for children their age. Add to that the myriad of your usual annoying gamer variety. The rage quitter, the complainer, the hacker, the noob(I don't mind noobs THAT much), the elitest, the camper, the AFKer, etc. etc.

Now they're getting creative
So now, let me take a step back for a second here. I'm going on my record to say I love Halo(All of them) as a game. I think it's a super kick ass game. I can dig the story. I can dig the combat. I can dig the characters. What I can't dig, are the retards that play it online. I don't feel like I'm alone on this. If you've played Halo 2,3,ODST,Reach on XBawks Live, you have probably encountered any of the above. But, it just FEELS like more morons play Halo games online. Yes, other games like COD and what not also have tards. But Halo tards are an exceptional bunch. They rattle me down to my irritated core. Makes me want to be able to punch people through the internet. Oh yeah, I'm not the best at Halo. But this isn't about whining about being bad. This is about playing a game online and not being irritated by stupid shit spouted from the mouths of brobdingnagian rectums.

Holy's w0rd

Not pictured - Reality
The gamer in me, says this game is worth it. From a pure gaming standpoint, the single player aspect and even the functions of the multiplayer are excellent. Great graphics, a story that I can go along with, nostalgic scenarios, same fantastic soundtrack, some cool characters. I like it. Holy gives it a seal of approval. But be warned. If you dare venture online, you will begin to lose faith in humanity.


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