Halo: Reach, released in 2010, was a first person shooter released by Bungie and is a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. The game takes place on a planet called Reach in the year 2552, where humanity is at war with an alien organization called the Covenant. You play as a soldier called Noble Six and fight along five other Noble team members to try and push back the Covenant threat. The gameplay gives you an assortment of options that let you choose how you want to fight the enemies. You have the ability to fight with a diverse amount of weapons you can access, or plenty of vehicles scattered around the map. The multiplayer is excellent as well with plenty of game modes like slayer, capture the flag, invasion, forge where you can create and play your own maps, and much more.
Reach is a planet that was settled by humans with different landscapes, cities, and scenery. The game tells the majority of its story from the setting instead of its characters. This is very neat as it’s very rare when storytelling comes from the setting instead of dialog from just characters. The game has little to no dialog in a majority of levels but the game explains what is going through the player’s head through the scenery and actions you take.
As you progress through Halo: Reach, you’ll come to realize that humanity is losing the war, no matter how many battles you win, Covenant enemies you kill in the game, and objectives you take. There will be plenty of moments in the game where you will witness the scale of what’s happening around you and be shown how little impact you are having on the war as a whole. You can fight through a few buildings and save a few civilians but the sheer number of Covenants spread out across the city really reinforces humanity’s defeat. You will watch your fellow soldiers gunned down from a distance, manned vehicles destroyed and carriers full of civilians shot down prior to landing. The game will build you up constantly as being a super soldier but tear you down to what effect you are having on the planet as a whole.
The characters you will fight are fairly generic but they help push the plot forward and really add to the despair of the losing war. Carter is the leader of a Noble team and is the most caring and supportive of the team, always putting others and his team before himself. Kat is the brains of the group, and is always gathering information for the team. June is the joking quick witted recon sniper of the team, always staying behind and sniping from afar. Emil is the fearsome close quarters specialist in the squad. George is the large weapons expert and heavy armor on the team with a very gentle personality. While these characters have more generic personalities, you grow very fond of them as the missions go by, but as the game progresses your squad will get picked off one by one leaving you to yourself. While the fate of the Noble team can leave you feeling with despair they are all also fairly ironic. Carter is the captain of a Noble team that ends up going down with the ship he is on. Kat is the brains of the group that is shot in the head, Emil is the close quarters specialist that dies from an energy sword, a close quarters weapon. June is the sniper that runs away. Noble 6, the character you play, ends up fighting and dying alone.
In conclusion, I really recommend Halo: Reach especially if you are a Halo fan. It takes you out of the shoes of the Master Chief where everything happens to go right for your character and puts you in the shoes of a squad that fights so hard for something so little. While the story may feel pointless and hopeless to some it really is a nice change of perspective in a video game, by the end you will become really attached to the planet Reach and Noble 6 where you’ve been fighting so hard to protect. By the end, you deliver Cortana, the Master Chief’s AI which helps win the war later in the timeline.
Written by Sebastian Henningsson, Lethbridge College
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