Community: Halo Reach

Ahead of today’s Destiny reveal, Low Fat Gaming community member Rory Mullan takes a look back at Bungies last title, the divisive Halo: Reach…

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Reach was EPIC.

When I first saw Halo: Reach, I was blinded by it’s majesty.

The campaign is a masterpiece. It has amazing design – from the beautiful futuristic cities to wide expanse of mountainsides – inviting, reactive gameplay and stunning atmosphere. Every level is titanic and gorgeous, and invites a new experience, with reactive, intelligent AI that has identifiable and enjoyable characteristics. These levels are large, exciting play grounds with many alternate paths and locations.

When one level of Halo: Reach is larger then the collective levels in many modern games, that’s when you’ve got the appreciate the scale.

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People DID miss Master Chief.

In Halo: Reach, Bungie have managed to condense a remarkable selection of impressive features into a complete, awesome and extensive title. Features such as file share and custom game types encourage interaction between players, and the armour progression system both entertains and motivates. They invite you to spend hours and hours with your friends – both old and new – testing, creating, playing or comparing. You can create entirely different experiences in Halo: Reach, and Bungie invite you to.

Forge is extensive, appealing and volatile enough to produce truly brilliant and exciting creations. You can create pretty much anything you desire, and when the sandbox is so gigantic, these can often be massive. You can design entirely new ways to play Halo too, with the Custom game type feature you can create entire maps to support your own style of play. This is a tremendous refinement to what we saw in Halo 3 and ODST, and it evolved to a point were it is almost ridiculously fantastic.

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Bungie’s last hurrah was a crowd-pleaser.

Halo: Reach succeeds in my mind because of the constant effort that was throttled into the game. Bungie has improved, refined or reinvigorated nearly everything in this title, from the once infant, primitive Forge and Firefight, to the stunning, complex features they now are.

The game has a dark, engaging atmosphere. It compels and fascinates, and is great motivation for continuing and playing through the title. The amazing visual style and design adds to an almost perfect example of immersion. You truly get the feeling that this is something that is happening, and the transition from an optimistic, aggressive approach to combating the invasion to a darker, depressing tale of sacrifice and dread is extremely fascinating and very well executed.

The Multiplayer is a great example of less equals more. Bungie have kept the simple, equal playing field, with only minimal combat advantages. Fights are reactive, engaging experiences, with skill often being the deciding factor.

There are very little one kill weapons, and these can often be out maneuvered or countered, so it never places the player in a state of perpetual gamble for survival we see in many modern mulitplayer modes. When fights aren’t always decided by the amount of players on the opposing sides of an engagement, you know you have something special.

The multiplayer maps are large, varied battlegrounds. Bungie have avoided the linear, corridor – and often corruptive – design, and it pays off. Players are often trying new things, experimenting with strategies and working together. You aren’t locked in endless fear that someone is going to kill you with attack dogs or are confined to staying inside because someone might kill you with an unavoidable missile strike, because these elements thankfully simply don’t exist in Halo: Reach.

It is a shame that Halo: Reach could be considered to derivative. While it’s easy to criticize for not throwing a massive amount of new ideas at players, we must consider what has been accomplished with the title. It entices, engages and appeals simultaneously, and these accusations of no-innovation are made obsolete by the sheer quality and genius of the title.

Tell that to the Covenant.

– Rory Mullan

Do you agree with Rory?  Let us know in the comments below or come and tell us your opinions on our Facebook page (search for Low Fat Gaming) or Twitter ( @lowfatgaming ).

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