I played the beta and enjoyed it, so I’ll be picking this one up. It’s Bungie’s last Halo game, and it seems that they really have come full circle and gone back to Halo’s roots, both in terms of the story and some of the gameplay decisions (no dual wielding, health packs, etc).
The new gameplay additions seem okay… I like the jetpack, although I’m not sure how useful the other additions will be. It seems that they’re packing every mode from the previous games into this installment, as well as some additional modes, so there should be something for everyone who enjoyed Halo 1-3 and ODST.
Despite the fact that I’m looking forward to Reach, I’m glad that it’s the final Halo game from Bungie. The series will go on no doubt, but hopefully the developers who inherit this franchise will breathe some fresh life into the series. That may simply be new weapons, enemies, and a fresh storyline or something radically different. As for Bungie, I look forward to learning more about the new ten year franchise they’re working on for multiple platforms.
I’m getting it, but more for the “completion” of the series than for the game itself. MS is doing a brilliant job marketing and hyping the thing, but from what I’ve seen/played of the beta (don’t have it myself, just played it at a friends), it really just felt like “moar Halo.”
Now, that isn’t a horrible thing, mind you. I just was hoping for more than that. I’m sure the jetpacks and stuff will change up the gameplay more than I’m expecting (didn’t get to play around with those), but I can see why Bungie wants to move away from the series for a while - it’s hard retaining the soul of a franchise while also moving it forward in a way that keeps it fresh.
Curious to see how it turns out. No doubt it will be a solid experience. I just hope they’ve kept something from the previews that will blow everyone’s minds away.
I don’t think I’m going to bother getting this game, the Halo franchise just went downhill for me ever since Halo 2 and like Abadd said Halo: Reach just seems like more of the same. Admittedly though I might just be tired of playing first person shooters altogether.
For anyone wondering why Bungie has made Halo Reach an evolution of the existing series than a revolution: they considered creating a sequel to Halo 3, following the further adventures of Master Chief in a new scenario (possibly without the covenant). But this would have opened up a whole new story arc that they wouldn’t have had time to complete in one game. So they opted to create a standalone prequel instead. So from a story perspective, at least, it would be difficult to create anything too “out there” without it not fitting in with the existing games.
This game is Incredible, its just like the best possible remake of HALO . Everything that made the 1st game so very special is here just in stunning High Def and using the NextGen to add to the overall experience, and I mean everything . The brilliant AI, The Sniping mission in the Dark (on the 2nd level) and then the be and end all silent cartographer style level, with just increasable sense of scale and all out war.
Overall it’s a solid experience. I’m not surprised in the least, given the quality of Bungie’s previous Halo games (although I found ODST to be a bit of a letdown). From a gameplay perspective it’s easily the most polished Halo game.
BUT, the problem with Reach is that it isn’t necessary. As with Halo 3: ODST, there isn’t time to immerse the player in anything other than a simplistic story. We’re introduced to a bunch of new characters, but they haven’t been developed enough to make the player care about what happens to them. Admitably, Halo has never been about strong character development, but over the course of the trilogy I gained a certain fondness of characters like Guilty Spark and Johnson.
Halo Reach is a game for the fans. If you enjoyed Halo 1-3 and want to play more, you can certainly do a lot worse than Reach. But if you don’t play it, you’re not missing out on much other than a more defined Halo. I’d still recommend the trilogy over this due it’s better story and characters.
I pretty much agree with what you said, Solo. It’s a very good game, polished, beautiful, epic in scale, but it’s too short. Like almost all games these days, and specifically FPS, it’s just over far too quickly. Whatever happened to the good old days of long FPS games like Marathon, Half Life, and Far Cry? Take Reach, make it as long as any of those three games, and you’ve got a lot more time for character development and making the player care.
From a Halo fan’s perspective, it’s a pretty disappointing addition to the canon. It throws sections of the Fall of Reach out of the window, makes entire sections of the book illogical… and how such a large Covenant invasion fleet would be able to enter the atmosphere undetected is just plain stupid.
TL;DR, if you’re a casual gamer it’s a great game, if you’re a Halo fan, it’s disappointing.
Yeah, if you compare just Halo 1 to Halo Reach, the story had significantly more time to develop. I think Cortona’s narration helped a lot too.
Shadow: The shortened length of games probably has a lot to do with keeping games fresh the whole way through. I don’t mind games cutting out filler, but it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t turn the game from a journey into a series of action sequences. It needs to feel like you’re in the character’s shoes, even if that means some down time between the exciting parts.
I must admit I didn’t notice the plot inconsistencies, but it’s been a long time since I’ve read The Fall of Reach. I’m surprised that Bungie didn’t consult the novel more when developing Halo Reach. Any official statement on the matter?
I’ve never ever played FPS games for the story at all, its far more about the gameplay (like with Platform games)
Also I don’t get people knocking its a short game, I rather play a simply brilliant short game, than a average long drawn out game . So give me ICO anyday of the week, compared to FF 13
Not having read any of the Halo books, I actually think the story in ODST and Reach (so far - about 2/3 of the way through) is actually better than the original Halo series. Now, I’m not taking anything away from the characters in the main Halo story, but you have to admit that without supplemental knowledge of the Master Chief, it’s really hard to care about him as a person, rather than just an empty (albeit badass) vessel for the player. As the Master Chief, you simply know you’re there to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Cortana and the Arbiter were awesome characters, but the story itself was convoluted and, at times, outright bizarre.
In ODST and Reach, the team dynamic automatically bring certain things to the table, having seen/heard about military teams and the brotherhood that forms. You know how close they are and while you might not care about their feelings, per se, you certainly begin to care about the unit as a whole and the camaraderie.
The atmosphere and story in ODST and Reach, IMO, are a great evolution of the style that was started in the original Halo series, but to be honest, it still feels like it’s lacking somewhat in the “wow” department. I’m having a lot of fun with Reach, but given how the bar has been raised by other FPSes (in regards to large set pieces), I wish there were more moments where more epic action was happening while you play, not just in cutscenes.
(Just as an aside, though I liked the characters in ODST, I hated the gameplay. Was too dark, the city sections all looked similar and were so empty that exploration was dull, etc.)
The Master Chief represents the hegemonic masculine ideal that many players desire to become, if only as a form of escapism. The Chief’s personality is deliberately kept simple, his face masked so that the player can “become” him. Similar to how Gordon Freeman from Half-Life never talks, the Chief maintains a simple personality… it’s just that the badass part is explicit. However, if you give the protagonist too much personality you create a game where you’re watching the journey play out, rather than participating in it.
That’s said, I’m all for deeper characters in FPS, but ODST and Reach didn’t fill this gap either. The secondary characters lacked the development of those in the trilogy. The camaraderie in ODST was nice, but at the expense of story complexity? I’m not sure that the trade off, if you can call it that, was worth it. I found the complexity found in the Halo trilogy’s story kept me enthralled - what was the purpose of the Halos, what was Gravemind planning, etc. It wasn’t your simplistic “achieve objective X” FPS story.
Anyway, this comes down to preference, and if you’re like Team Andromeda and play FPS for gameplay or atmosphere, that’s fine. But I like to think that the real time story telling from Half-Life, and continued with Halo, should continue to take on a primary role. Maybe one day we’ll experience a FPS where the story comes first, where you really feel that you’re in the character’s shoes in the same way that a quality novel or film emphasises character and plot development as much (if not more) than the action sequences.
I think its more level design and AI that can make or break a FPS, more than a story . Duke Nukem 3D story is almost non existent, but the game humour and more so inspired level design makes up for it . Its just the same with Exhumed/Powerslave it has a story, but its the almost prefect level design(and at the time great AI) that truly makes the game for me (and it still remains my fav FPS) .
To be honest the story in RE4 made no sense to me what so ever, but I still love and enjoy the game, but that said I enjoy Code Veronica the most, due to its better story and character development.
I should own up to never playing a Panzer game in English until Saga, it was the gameplay and Art that made love the game, more than the story.
I think games like Riddick did a great Job of that already. There are quite a few FPS where story comes 1st , Like Half Life, Dues Ex
Completely agree that gameplay, art, level design, and AI are all important factors in a first person shooter. They help to build the experience. The graphics are important too, contrary to what some gamers might say.
I see the future of video games as a fusion of all these things, with story as a central connector that gives reason to the behaviour of the AI, that consistently explains the level design, and gives purpose to gameplay rewards besides numbers going up and down. I see games such as the original Halo: Combat Evolved as a stepping stone towards this form of interactive storytelling.
Regarding Panzer Dragoon: the first two Panzers were impressive for their time, as was Saga. There’s a reason why Saga is often considered the best in the series; from a story perspective it undoubtably has a more developed scenario than the first two Panzers (and Orta). If there’s another Panzer game I’d like to see that emphasis on storytelling implemented in a more interactive way. The excitement of the Panzer shooters combined with the depth of Panzer Dragoon Saga’s storyline.
Oh, I understand the silent protagonist and its role. I was just emphasizing the difference for comparison’s sake. My problem wasn’t with MC specifically, it’s just that the rest of the characters (aside from Cortana and the Arbiter) never had enough meat to them to latch onto. People came and went. I did appreciate that the team didn’t feel the need to give us the complete history of each character, but I’m also not convinced that the was a terrible amount of focus on character drama.
As for the story, my point was that I had no idea what the Gravemind was and I felt like I was never given enough of the pieces of the puzzle to figure it out (or even care). For me, and of course this is just personal taste, the best parts of Halo were always the beginnings of each game when it was MC vs the Covenant. Every time they introduced the Flood, the feel of the gameplay and the story completely unraveled to me.
Perhaps you got more enjoyment out of them because you read the novels? (I’m assuming you did.) For me, the story and atmosphere in ODST and Reach were more grounded and relatable. I actually really liked the concept of Reach, too - following the last team of Spartans in their final battle (and really living up to the name “Spartan”). Was any one of Team Noble as badass as MC? Probably not. But it gave a glimpse as to what the Spartans actually were and how they acted as a team. Hell, there’s one scene in Reach where you’re with your whole team and you’re storming a beach. That was one of the single most empowering moments in the entire Halo franchise, IMO.
As to which Halo game is the best… I couldn’t say. Each has points that I think are better or worse than others. I just wish the series had evolved more than it did.
Characters: Agreed about most of the characters in the Halo trilogy. The Halo series in general has never been hugely character driven, but that’s something that should certainly be improved in future installments. Take the team-based approach from ODST and Reach but develop the characters more (like Cortana). Perhaps even reduce the amount of central characters in the squad to three or four so that more emphasis can be placed on developing them. Perhaps ODST and Reach are an evolution forward in that respect, a stepping stone towards something grander.
Story: I’ve only read the first three books. The only one that I really recommend is The Fall of Reach, simply for the background information about the Spartan program and war in general. But you don’t need to read them to understand the Halo games.
I always assumed that Gravemind was the intelligence behind the flood. The forerunners built the Halo rings to contain the flood (perhaps keeping some alive for research purposes), and Gravemind wished to escape from the rings and spread the flood throughout the galaxy. Not giving away the full story behind the flood and the forerunners was one of the story’s charms; as with Panzer Dragoon’s Ancients, shedding too much light on their true identity has the potential to lead to disappointment.