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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Halo: Reach,’ whatever they were reaching for, they reached it

Published: September 23, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

The Halo trilogy may very well be one of the most iconic series exclusive to Microsoft’s X-box systems. Bungie (the developer of the main games) has ended its time with the franchise on a high note in terms of game-play but a sad note in terms of story.

Bungie announced that the prequel “Reach” would be its last planned adventure into the world of Spartans, Religious Crazy Aliens, the life consuming Flood and the mysterious ring structures built by the Forerunners (a society that predated humans).

“You picked a hell of a day to join up” are the first words your commanding officer says to you as you arrive at base-camp. You play as Noble Six, a new member of the elite Noble Team helping to defend the planet Reach from the Covenant invasion force (consisting of crazy religious Aliens). Since this is the prequel, you know from the first Halo game that this is a doomed effort. But even so, a doomed defense makes for one hell of a fight.

Set before the events of “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “Reach” begins with most of Humanity’s colonies lying in ruins and Reach, a massive military base, as the next world in the Covenant’s cross-hairs. Unlike the main trilogy, in which John-117, a.k.a. the Master Chief, is the only known member of the Spartan soldier program still on Active Duty. This game sets you as the sixth member of a team of Spartans. creating a new element of game-play. Instead of being the inherently superior fighter on the human side, you are part of a team of equals.

The game retains similar game-play, with armor based power ups instead of item based and customizable armor allowing for a more personal campaign and multi-player experience. That being said, Bungie has greatly expanded the forge map creation system along with the modes of multi-player available. While standard arena death-matchs, referred to as slayer, remain new, games such as invasion and firefight are also featured.

There are a whopping four options when it comes to purchasing this game, a standard edition disc ($60), a limited edition with some bonus content ($80), a legendary edition with everything from the limited version including a statue ($150) and a limited edition xbox bundle ($400). Regardless of which version you get, you will be playing the same awesome game.

One thing keeps you committed to the efforts of Noble team is remembering that the planet is fated for annihilation. A key element of the game’s mythology is that “Spartans never die; they’re just missing in action.” This gives hope that characters that may have survived may appear in future installments.