It has been nine long years since we suited up as Noble Six, a member of an elite Spartan squad, in the fifth entry of the @Halo franchise. It was originally released on the last generations Xbox 360 and was also the final Halo to be developed by @Bungie. Serving as a prequel to the original Halo, die hard fans of the series knew this was going to be a tale of loss, defeat and great sacrifice. Now, Halo Reach has recently made its way to The Masterchief Collection on the Xbox One and we can finally play through this incredible experience in all of its enhanced glory.
Noble Team are the heroes of this story with player character Noble Six joining five other Spartans on a mission to investigate and ultimately attempt to save the last interstellar human colony from the invasion of the Covenant. For the first time in the series the player is able to customise how their character looks during the campaign, which is a nice little feature. The approximately six hour campaign is consistently paced, action packed adventure, full of tense and emotional moments. The tone of the narrative feels more isolated and darker than previous instalments, adding a weight that to this day remains as one of the best first person shooter campaigns. It has an unforgettable ending that sticks with you long after the credits roll. It is not just a boots on the ground affair either, various vehicles and even a star fighter are controllable throughout various missions.
It was an absolute joy to relive this campaign nine years later and it feels as good as ever. The control layout can take a few minutes to adjust to when compared to the more recent Halo 4 and 5, but once adjusted the gameplay become fluent and familiar.
There is more to Reach than just a campaign. Halo’s excellent multiplayer modes return and offer an experience that I personally think raised the bar for the franchise. Firefight returns after it was very well received when in launched with Halo ODST. Firefight is Halo’s answer to a horde mode. It is chaotic and wild to play either alone or co-operatively. My personal favourite SWAT mode is just as deadly and fast paced and feels even better than I remember.
The game looks amazing with the facelift it has received on the latest generation of Xbox, capturing the height of graphical innovation it held upon its original release. The score too is as tight and balanced as we remember and the dramatic themes masterfully compliment the more emotional scenes in the campaign.
For those that have played Halo Reach, the experience will be familiar but a very welcome one. New players can expect a fun campaign with emotional stakes and adventure different to any Halo. Playing solo, co-operatively locally or online or in any of the multiplayer modes is an experience that holds up against even the more recent entries. Being bundled in with The Master Chief Collection makes this super accessible from the hub of all things Halo, completing the collection by being the final game in the series to make its way there.
+ Excellent campaign (THAT ending)
+ Holds up visually
+ Solid gameplay
– Campaign is a little short
DAYNE for One More Game