by Zack Anderson
I just finished the campaign in Halo: Reach. As the Pillar of Autumn proceeds slowly toward the floating ring world that gives the series its name, I must say that it certainly has been one helluva ride. Ten years, five games, (I don't count Halo: Wars, and you shouldn't either) and countless dead Covenant have passed over my eyes and ears, and it has all been exciting and challenging.
Buy Halo: Reach for Xbox 360
That being said, I still don't know what the hell the story is really about, other than the simple one: "The aliens want to kill everyone. Kill them first." I've been told that the books fill in the story, so I guess I should check those out if I really want to know what's happening.
If you're looking for a balls-out victory in which you save the day and retire to your Tuscan villa at the end, then Reach is not for you. This is the story of a doomed planet overwhelmed by endless enemy forces, and your mission is one desperate gamble after another. This is the 9/11 of the Halo universe, and the bleak tone prevails throughout the whole campaign.
The shooting is as solid as ever, but I could have done without the new space combat and the helicopter stuff. It felt tacked-on and unnecessary.
So far I have only been talking about the campaign, but Halo is known more for its online play than anything else. In this arena, Reach shines. There are a ton of maps and game modes, and options to make your own games and maps, should you ever get bored. You can specify what type of gamer you are: skilled/noob, chatty/quiet, team player/lone wolf; which helps to level the playing field so you can have a more balanced experience. I found this very helpful because most of the time when I go online I get my butt spanked.
One thing I have noticed at my job at a large video game retailer is that Halo and Call of Duty fans don't seem to mix. It's usually one or the other. COD fans tell me that Halo is "cartoonish", and Halo fans say they're just not into COD. I am a Halo man, and Reach hits all the right notes.
Halo: Reach: come for the campaign, stay for the multiplayer. I give it three hot dogs. (I really should come up with a real rating system...)