Halo is one of the biggest video game franchises around. One could even argue that it’s the best, but that is a topic for another day. Despite the newer Halos taking a step back and not being quite as good as the first three originals, it is still a mega player in the video game market. Even with its success, there is one Halo game which gets overlooked too much: Halo Reach.
Reach was the final Halo game developed by Bungie before the company decided to shift its focus to other avenues.
The game is a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved and takes place on the planet Reach, which is being invaded by an overwhelming Covenant force. You take on the Spartan of Noble Six, the newest addition to Noble team and grown accustomed to your team along the way. The team consists of Carter, the team leader who is a fierce warrior, but also pretty by the books. Jorge, the big guy with a soft side who always carries a chain gun. Kat, the brains of the crew. Emile, the borderline psychopath of the group who is fascinated with sharp objects. And, finally, Jun, the sniper of the crew who is the stealthy killer.
The different thing about this game is that, spoilers ahead, you and your team all die. Contrary to what you might think, it’s a nice change of pace and the game introduced new elements to the gameplay, such as special abilities like sprint, jetpack, active camo or the drop shield. Not to mention, it expanded the weapon sandbox to include new weapons such as the DMR and the focus rifle.
What really makes the game is the story and the emotion it emits to the player. Despite knowing how things turn out, it keeps you engaged from start to finish. And, even though you do not play as the Master Chief, the game still executes a great feel of making you feel like a legitimate Spartan, the supposed peak of human evolution. It is also a great send off for Bungie, as the game ends how the whole Halo saga began; a look at the Pillar of Autumn in space.
Bungie did a great job taking enough risks in this game as their final Halo project and actually capitalizing on them (take notes 343.) While it certainly had a few flaws like any video game (a couple underdeveloped characters, some favorite vehicles taken out), the pros of Reach certainly outweigh the negatives and at least warrant the campaign for one playthrough for any novice Halo fan like me. For these reasons, Halo Reach is the most underappreciated Halo of the franchise. I kept this short, because if you do not know what I am talking about, then you MUST go play this game.