So the Halo: Reach campaign is "good." And the Halo: Reach multiplayer is "awesome." What does that make the game as a whole? Well, scroll down and see – since both halves are of equal importance, but not of equal quality, we've split the difference on the score.
Please use the structure of this review, however, to gauge your own personal score. If you're in search of an amazing single player adventure this fall, and don't plan to spend that much time competing online, then you'll probably be somewhat disappointed with Halo: Reach and want to subtract a point. If the campaign is usually nothing more than an appetizer to you before devoting endless days, weeks, months and possibly years to the multiplayer, you should go ahead and add a point. This is the Halo game you've waited for since 2007.
Halo 3? No. While Reach excels at multiplayer, the campaign surprises – and soars – only occasionally. Halo 3, meanwhile, was the entire package. Epic missions, filled with a ton of epic moments, and the best, most robust multiplayer we'd seen so far this console generation. In fact, some of the most innovative stuff in Halo: Reach, like Forge World, has just been built on the foundation of what Halo 3 already innovated.
Halo 3: ODST? Yes. Okay, so Reach feels a lot more like ODST 2.0 than Halo 4, but trust us, that "2.0" is not awarded lightly. The single player is at least two to three hours longer, with meatier missions that are far more memorable. The story is still a spinoff, but the connection to Halo's original trilogy is stronger. And the multiplayer is way, way better. Armor abilities, experience credits, Invasion, a full set of brand new maps and modes. Even if you really liked Firefight… well, that's been improved here, too.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2? Depends. The two franchises are now surprisingly similar, with single player that is good, yet instantly forgettable compared to the outstanding multiplayer. Both offer specialized classes. Both include a fleet of diverse vehicles. Both reward you with experience points. You could always choose based on your preference for realistic modern warfare or escapist sci-fi slaughter… or based on how much you like coordinated team combat. That's all Battlefield offers, but it's near-perfect. Halo: Reach is a little less polished in that department, but has plenty of new and old deathmatch modes as well.
Do you buy Halo mostly for the multiplayer? Then Reach is everything you'd want and expect from Bungie's final contribution to the franchise – perfectly polished familiarity with exactly the right amount of fresh features and bold risk-taking. If you're counting on an epic, sweeping and satisfying campaign story, however, you might want to keep waiting for Halo 4.
Sep 11, 2010