Depending on your view of blockbuster games with a budget to match a small nation’s GDP, Halo: Reach will fall into one of two camps. It’s either a bloated, mawkish, jock-filled space marine wet dream full of teenagers and man-children cussing each other online, or a fitting, grandiose tribute for a series that has always been highly polished and extremely good at what it does.
However you feel about it, Halo: Reach can’t be ignored. It’s unquestionably the biggest Xbox 360 release of 2010, the last ever Halo title from Bungie, and a vitally important game for Microsoft – and it might even usurp Call of Duty: Black Ops as this year’s must-play online first-person shooter. Today saw the review embargo lifted on Reach, so let’s see what the critics say!
Eurogamer’s Oli Welsh (full review here) says that Reach is a highly accomplished package, though suggests the game is more evolution than revolution:
“Reach captures what you love about Halo, refining it on the multiplayer side and preserving the fluid, dynamic, ever-surprising campaign action that makes most rivals look like clumsy shooting galleries. What it doesn’t do is redefine single-player like Halo did, multiplayer like Halo 2 did, or the network game like Halo 3 did.“
Games Radar (full review here) basically confirms what we all already know about Halo games: for many people it’s the multiplayer, and not the single-player campaign, that is the meat of the game:
“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.“
8/10 (7/10 for single-player, 9/10 for multiplayer)
IGN (full review here) describes it as the “definitive” Halo experience, describing the multiplayer as “beyond generous”:
“Whether you like playing with friends like me or you’re more of a lone wolf, Halo: Reach has evolved to the point where it’ll make everyone happy. It’s a fitting end to Bungie’s involvement with the franchise, one that both references the past and injects new life into a tried and true formula. Newcomers and Halo fans alike will find plenty to love in Halo: Reach.“
The Guardian (full review here) says you’re “an idiot” if you don’t buy a copy of Reach. You hear that? AN IDIOT:
“Halo: Reach, simply, is Bungie’s masterwork, and if you own an Xbox 360, you’d be an idiot not to buy a copy – even if you’re not a fan of first-person shooters, it will still make you marvel at just how good a game can look and feel.”
GameTrailers (full review here) is another critic of the single-player campaign, though fairly points out nobody will be playing much of it compared to multiplayer:
“Now four games into the series there’s no denying that the campaign is starting to lose some of its moxie, yet there’s just enough revelation here for fans to cling to. But let’s be honest. You’re going to decide to buy based on its multiplayer component and this is where it delivers in spades.“