The last Halo game to be made by Halo’s creators, Bungie. Now that’s not to say there won’t be anymore Halo games, Microsoft owns that franchise and will milk it for what it’s worth. They just don’t own Bungie anymore and those guys are ready for something new. They even say goodbye to the franchise and thank the fans in the credits. Do they go out with a bang? Hellz yes they do! Currently sitting with a well deserved 92 on metacritic, I’m gonna go with a solid 9/10. I’ll be talking about single player mode of course. I might go a little longer than usual with this one 😉
The Good – First off, I gotta mention some technical stuff here. The thing I noticed when I 1st booted it up, was how fast it loaded, in comparison to pt. 3 and ODST of course. Those games were painful to boot up if they weren’t in your cache or whatever those guys did. It’s just smooth how quick I’m able to get up and going when I turn it on. Second, that new graphics engine….man, it’s sweet. Halo 3 & ODST were some really good looking games, but IMO, there was something about them, maybe the way they meshed with everything else….just felt, I dunno, out of date. Especially when you look at the Gears games. Now I wouldn’t say Reach looks as good as a Gears, but it holds it’s own with it’s own style, and pushes the fact that we don’t need new gen consoles just yet. Even the cutscenes are all in game, done way better than in the past, all keeping a fluidity to the presentation. Detail is definitely improved, and colors have a more realistic tone to them. There are times when you’re on a cliff, you look over and there’s war going on in the distance, it really gives an epic feel to the situation.
With Halo, or any other game for that matter, you come for the presentation, then stay for the gameplay. Yeah son, it delivers big time. If you’re a long time Halo fan, then you’ll feel right at home. Bungie took the ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach for the most part, like usual. Though they did add some improvements. Riding the Warthog feels so much smoother than it did before. Since you don’t dual wield in this one, they put the reload button back on X, and they put melee on the RB, which feels just right. Grenade switching with the B button is a little weird though. Honestly, I don’t miss dual wielding, the lack of it worked fine in ODST and here as well. Sneaking up on foes and holding melee provides a damn satisfying stealth kill with a knife. And as with any new Halo game, some new weapons are thrown in for good measure. As m’man Jamie mentioned in his previous post, the weapons list is ridiculous, so I’ll just highlight a few that I really liked. The concussion rifle, the covenant’s answer to a grenade launcher, makes short work of anything in it’s path, it makes me feel safe when I have it. The plasma repeater, I’ve always loved the plasma gun, this is sort of bigger brother to it, unfortunately it became a bit ineffective towards the end for me, but I’ll get to that later. There’s a few more goodies there too. Throughout the campaign, I felt they mixed up the selection pretty well, so I was able to get a good feel to most of the weapons this time around. It kept the action fresh for me.
The power ups. What. an. improvement. Seriously, they introduced these in Halo 3, problem was, they were weird icons where I didn’t know what did what. I dunno if I’m alone on this one, but I pretty much didn’t use them cuz in the heat of battle, I don’t have time to figure out what the apple core looking thing does. Here, it’s all money. Huge color specific icons when you go to pick them up, that show a pic of what the soldier does. If it’s fast running, there’s a dude running, if it’s armor, there’s a dude crouching in a huddle position, if it’s a jetpack….well, you get the idea. Speaking of jetpacks, how can you not love those things. There’s an awesome strategy thrown in, in which the powers are for a limited time, but do recharge quickly. Which means you can’t just fly through the whole level, but it gets you to some spots easier than just running up there, or my favorite, in the heat of battle. I can’t tell you how many times a Brute would come rushing at me with his 1-hit kill hammer, I would boost away, shooting while looking down, screaming at the TV as he keeled over. It’s pretty awesome. No matter how you cut it or slice it, this is Halo 4 with a prequel story. This one definitely has my favorite gameplay and fighting out of all the Halo games. And it’s definitely the best Halo package well worth the 60 bux I’ll put down on it. Sorry, I really dug ODST, but it was an EXPANSION to Halo 3 that should’ve been cheaper, they lied and charged full price. But anyways, I can go on all day about how cool it was to do this, or do that, but the gushing has to come to end folks. Time to touch up on what I feel are some of the flaws.
The Bad – As with most games, I like to play on normal mode, for I feel this is how I think the developer wanted the player to experience their creation the first time through. A solid challenge is what makes a game fun to play to me….do you know what doesn’t make it fun? When that challenge becomes ball-punching abuse. Reach’s campaign is crazy awesome fun, then at the last couple levels, things get knocked a little out of balance as you’ll get to areas where you’re too overwhelmed with enemies. You’ll get to sections with Hunters where instead of a fun battle, they’re just a pain in the ass cuz you’ll die so much, yes I know they were always toughies, but you will unload MANY clips. Some of the elites come flying through with frickin almost invincible armor. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but when I have to reload more than twice, and their shields still aren’t down, it gets annoying. I know it’s supposed to be the last hurrah and all that good stuff, but there’s other ways of making a battle feel epic without just making enemies too strong.
There’s a space ship flying section…..which is actually pretty cool, but there are times there, restarting a checkpoint for a 6th time, just pissed me the hell off. I felt the game took maybe an hour or so to really get going, I mean, I’m all excited when I 1st fire it up…..then I sit there like, ok, it’s Halo….basically, some of the new stuff could’ve been introduced a little quicker. The story, ah yes…..titanic syndrome, since much has been made about the book Reach is based on, we know the planet goes down in the end. So no surprises there…..while the cutscenes look awesome, again, maybe I’m alone in this, but I can’t tell you what the hell just happened…they didn’t exactly engage me, it’s like, ok, get me to the next level. They shoulda brought some of that cool storytelling style from ODST over. Some of the new weapons aren’t really given a chance to flesh out their potential to gameplay…..how many times did we get to use the target locator? Halo’s own hammer of dawn, once I think?
The Ugly – There are some dark moments in this one….when you first come back to the planet after the covenant has ravished everything….buildings burning in the background, bodies all over the place, it’s a creepy site. Either that or I ran out of steam and didn’t know what to put in this section 😉
I’m no stranger to really cool collector’s editions of games that I really like, yes, I have the Master Chief helmet from Halo 3(quit laughin at me Jamie), but it don’t fit :-\ Obviously I’m joking, it’s not meant to….we’ll see if my witch doctor has anything to say about that though…..Anyways, I’m not one to jump on any collector’s console bundles, most don’t look that special in my opinion, see-Modern Warfare 2 bundle, and who can afford em either. But this Halo: Reach set just looks downright sexy to me. While I wasn’t too big on the 360’s new look, there’s something about that sleek greyish look on this one that I can’t keep my eyes off. Especially the controllers…..I WANT ONE!! Check out Kotaku or your favorite game blog for more upcoming pics….now excuse me while I pull out my Halo fanboy card that I’ll wear proudly when Reach drops.
*Comes out September 14th at $399
Coming 2yrs after the release of Halo 3 is this tight little expansion, Halo 3 ODST. If you’re a Halo fan, you know what to do, if not, this game won’t change your mind…..8/10.
The Good – More Halo, that’s really good to me, which means top notch console first person shooter action. The storyline is a fresh take on the usual formula, you get to see different takes from different character perspectives. It all takes place during Halo 2, basically experiencing a portion of what went down in New Mombasa. Tight, intense gunfights that keep you on your toes, are quite exhilarating. There’s a very cool semi-open world aspect that lets you approach enemies from different angles on some levels. Enemy AI is as smart as ever in a Halo game, no two battles are quite the same, even approaching a gunfight multiple times yields different, if even slight, experiences. Nighttime scenes have an air of creepiness. The graphics engine still looks good two years later. Audio is as good as it gets on the 360, high quality effects, well designed surround direction, and some pretty incredible music all add to another awesome Halo experience. The new Firefight mode is supposed to be pretty fun, along the lines of Gears of War 2’s horde mode, haven’t had the chance to try it myself, but I trust it’s a blast with friends. The multiplayer portion comes on it’s own disc with all the previous Halo 3 DLC maps with 3 new maps as well.
The Bad – The campaign is kinda short, it should’ve lasted at least another hour and a half since the main game is maybe 6-7hrs. While I’m happy to shell out for a new Halo game, there’s a reason why it’s called “Halo 3 ODST”, it’s just an expansion of Halo 3….not a new Halo game, probably should have been 40$ instead of 60$. Sure you got some expanded multiplayer, but it’s still Halo 3’s multiplayer, and I’m not an online multiplayer anymore, so that 2nd disc is gonna go to waste for me. You’re not Master Chief, and the characters you do play as are nowhere near as cool as he is, they’re pretty bland actually. While the overall graphics engine still looks great, you would think they’d update the face tech, the characters without their masks look pretty bad. I can be wrong, but I always remembered Halo autosaving, you have to “Save And Quit” to do this here, so if you turn off the box in mid game, you’re screwed.
The Ugly – When you go into the map/objectives screen, the game doesn’t pause, which means if you’re looking at the map, reading objectives or what have you, you can still get hit by enemies…..umm, hello? Pause?!?
The homies that run the very awesome kotaku.com is reporting on a new 360 bundle. Slated for the PAL territories(european I guess), it looks like they’ll be getting a box full of wonderful which would include a 360 Elite, copies of Halo 3 and Halo 3:ODST, and access to the Halo: Reach beta, that would be the next Halo title that we know nothing about just yet. No word yet as to whether this sweet bundle of joy is hitting here in the states.
As promised, I’m throwin up some more info on ODST’s multiplayer(now that we know more that is). Joystiq cleared the air, thanks to Bungie being at Gamescom this year. Here’s what the Bungie guys had to say “It’s all the multiplayer maps we released with Halo 3, then all of the DLC we’ve released since then, along with three new maps.” Halo 3 ODST will be 2 discs, the 1st being the single player campaign(holla), and the 2nd being the multiplayer component. Great idea if you ask me, I can’t wait, already got my copy on pre-order 🙂
If you hop on over to one of the blogs we heart, Kotaku, you can check out some footage of 3 new Halo3 maps in action. They’re gonna be on a separate disc that will come with Halo 3 ODST(Xbox360). I assumed ODST would ship with the Halo 3 multiplayer component and all the previous map updates….I guess I’m not so sure now :-/….well, ODST is due out in a little over a month, so we’ll know for sure soon. Man, Halo online still looks fun as hell….
I know rich posted this jawn but I wanted to put up another picture of the Halo ODST wireless Controller. Boom. Will you look at that.
Coming this fall, nearly 2yrs. after Halo3 came out, the been announced expansion to Halo 3, ODST, finally drops, quick description from destructoid “ takes place a few weeks before the events of Halo 3. The ODST soldiers are in the City of New Mombasa, Africa where parts of Halo 2 took place in. The ODST soldiers have some new tools at their disposal that the Master Chief never got such as sound suppressed weapons and a low light vision mode to help them see in the dark. We’ll also see a brand new pistol that fans of the original Halo will really dig. ODST will also have a brand new co-op mode called Firefight.”….it also comes with a beta for Halo Reach, which we don’t know much about yet, but destructoid had this to say “If you didn’t read the first book in the Halo novel series, the Planet Reach is a human military planet where the SPARTAN II’s were trained. The Covenant eventually find the planet, and like the rest of the human colonies, destroy the planet. The events of the original Halo actually take place moments after the the planet Reach is attacked.” Here’s to hoping for some more awesome Halo action.
*Update* Kotaku reports of a 99$ Collector’s Edition with this snazzy lookin controller, as Rick James would say “give it to me baby!” :-p