Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach does some interesting things with multiplayer and communities, so in that sense it is not quite a game I am interested in. I am not sure if the ambition to build some sort of hybrid between a massively multiplayer persistent game and a game with multiplayer matches has lowered the quality of the singleplayer campaign, or if my memory of the older games is getting mixed with nostalgia, but the campaign of Reach feels decidedly less interesting than the other games’.

Looking at the core gameplay, the concept is about the same. The items of Halo 3 have been replaced with self-recharging armor powers, a welcome change since Halo has always benefited from a simple economy, but the powers felt a lot more useful in multiplayer matches than it does in the campaign. Also, dual-wielding sadly seems to be removed. On a larger scale, the level design is somewhat bland and very linear. Now, the level design of Halo games have never been a strong point, but at it’s best it provided the player with an interesting set of battles and gave the player different ways of fighting them. In Reach it is mostly a case of just running up and shooting the enemy, whenever there is a change of pace it is usually forced on the player instead of offered as an alternative. The battles themselves are usually well planned-out and fun (although the plethora of single-hit kill attacks is still infuriating) but when playing the game from start to finish it gets a bit boring. Also, the narrative feels less interesting than the other games, but then again that, too, has never been a particularly strong point for Halo.

Now, I hold Halo games to a high standard because I like them a lot, and Halo: Reach is no exception though it is starting to make me weary of the series. The campaign is of a high quality but feels a bit forced – like no-one wanted to make design decisions that would jeopardize the schedule without them improving the multiplayer. A few years back the concept of “me-too-multiplayer” was infamous, I wonder if we are starting to see a “me-too-singleplayer” since multiplayer only games tend to be unsuccessful.

Then again, this is the last of Bungie’s Halo games so whatever Halo becomes next is likely to be different for that reason.

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Posted on Oct 10/10 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »