If you didn’t already know that Halo: Reach is out, then you probably don’t play games. I have been playing the game for a few days now and thought I would share some of my thoughts. Overall, I enjoy it, but some aspects of it are downright frustrating. The campaign in general is pretty lackluster and boring, but the multiplayer is a lot of fun.
Maybe it is just me, but I have played through the campaign of every Halo game at least once or twice, and I have no idea what is happening in Reach. The only thing I have figured out after playing the campaign for 4+ hours is that the planet we are on is called Reach and the Covenant are invading. I think the biggest problem with the campaign is that the game almost never gives you clear objectives, except when you are defending a spot. Most of the time I found myself driving around trying to figure out where to go and then realizing that I drove past my objective because there is nothing in the game that tells me where I am supposed to be going.
I guess that some of the characters in the game will say something from time to time to tell you what you are supposed to do, but if I am in a party and talking with people, I’m not paying attention to what a character says. I think Bungie was trying to make the game less linear and didn’t want to have you just run down a corridor like previous titles. Having a larger area to explore can be great, but without a a clear objective, it is very easy to get lost and not understand what you’re supposed to be doing.
On the multiplayer side of things, this game is great. I have been playing some matchmaking and some private match games with a few different friends online and I’ve been having a blast. The multiplayer definitely feels faster than the beta for the game, which is a good thing. There could be more maps, but the game makes up for it with the large amounts of different play modes and all of the custom settings that you can change as a player. Back when I played the beta, I couldn’t stand the game, because it had more problems than I can count. But Bungie came through in the end. Playing Reach now makes me remember why I liked playing the Halo 3 multiplayer so much when it came out.
I am on the fence in the visual department. The game definitely has more detail than previous Halo titles but it sacrifices smooth frame rate, crisps images, and smooth edges for the level of detail. The amount of frame blur the game employs is noticeable to me and gets a bit annoying. Also, jaggy edges are one of my biggest pet-peeves. Most games have them, but Reach seems to suffer from aliasing more than normal. Call me crazy, but I would rather have a game like Halo 3 or even Dante’s Inferno where everything in the game looks crisp and clean, rather than having more “stuff” in each frame. Fortunately, I haven’t seen any screen tearing in the game, so that is good to see.
All in all, it’s a good game. Like I said, the campaign so far is pretty “meh”, but the multiplayer is the best work Bungie has done.