Well, September 14th has now come and gone and Halo: Reach is amongst the masses. I hope everyone can understand why I have not already posted, but as you can imagine I’ve been a tad distracted, apparently so have millions of others. I thought I would take a few minutes and give my first day impressions on the various aspects of Halo: Reach. After all first impressions last a life time, and Bungie has made sure that this game welcomes us in like a hug from your mom, and gives plenty of reasons to come back for more. Keep in mind this is not a full review, I simply wanted to get my initial impressions off my chest.
Welcome to Noble Team spartans, after tromping through the first half of the campaign it is made very clear that this game was looking to carry a much different tone compared to previous titles. From the second you personalize your spartan to the first time you see yourself in the cutscenes, this game screams personalization. This may seem like more of a multiplayer feature, but the sense of immersion created by watching your own character work along side noble team is something that is hard to explain and needs to be experienced. This feature stood out to me at all times, you don’t feel as if you are helping other characters through the game, it’s more of an ownership or responsibility that you have.
The set pieces and action sequences are fantastic and filled with fresh but familiar gameplay, if you have been playing Halo for ten years you will catch many similarities from the whole series. Not because elements were more hashed out but more or less because they make sense to be there. Environments are huge and there are many ways to approach enemy encounters. The campaign is a true example of practice makes perfect. There is plenty more to be said but I am trying to keep this spoiler free. On a side note, being able to earn credits through co-op campaign is very gratifying and gives a whole new reason to invest time into character creation and the campaign itself.
I have been a fan of firefight since ODST, but I imagine this is the version that Bungie had always intended on releasing. This mode is a perfect blend between co-op campaign play, and the strategic team work of online multiplayer. With great new environments, infinite customizability, daily challenges, matchmaking capability, and polished gameplay this is a must play experience for all Halo fans (even all you MLG fans) . This was actually the first thing I tried upon playing Reach on day one. It was a quick way to experience all the new game elements, and not spoil or rush through campaign while screaming out awesomeness with my friends list. This mode feels intense, fun, and becomes of perfect example of Halo gameplay. The experience is completely flushed out and will easily become a fan favorite in the years to come, this is the perfect warm up tool to get prepared for all that online multiplayer has to offer.
Oh multiplayer, we go way back, all the way back to 1V1’s on Blood Gulch in Combat Evolved (sheds a tear). This is where the heart of Halo fans live, after the campaign is beat on Legendary the world of multiplayer is what keeps us coming back for years to come. Well let me just say the experience has been close to perfect so far. There truly is something for everyone, whether you’re casual or hardcore there is a mode and game type just for you. Bungie has also done an excellent job with stream lining the whole menu and party system, similar to the Y menu from Halo 2. Invites, parties, and matchmaking are all at your finger tips and playing and joining friends has been made much more efficient. As a matter of fact, online multiplayer has been playing the cleanest amongst all game modes crossing the whole disc. Halo has never felt so crispy and balanced, there have been very few of those “what the hell, he should be dead” moments. Things just seem to make sense through all elements of gameplay, once again practice makes perfect. Matchmaking is fast and intuitive and keeps the matches rolling one after another, no more 5-10 minute in the social slayer lobby. The experience has been great considering we are one day after launch, it just goes to show the value of a public beta. The only problem I have run into so far….are the quitter.
You are ruining the game for everyone, you realize when you’re down by 5 kills there is still plenty of time to turn the game around with the team you’re about to bail on. This will be getting better thanks to the time outs for quitting, but until this starts taking place it will continue to alter gameplay and overall fairness. At least player performance is now tracked on an individual base, and not if you team wins or losses (its tough when you’re short handed, hence the quitting).
In closing…..go buy this game. Its great in all ways, even if Halo hasn’t got your motor running in the past, there is a lot here to offer for all gamers. Thanks for reading our impressions here at IGX and be sure to check out a full review this weekend. See you online!