Games Review: Halo: Reach

WITH its intense firefights, epic storyline and memorable cast, Halo: Reach is an atmospheric first-person sci-fi shooter.

WITH its intense firefights, epic storyline and memorable cast, Halo: Reach is an atmospheric first-person sci-fi shooter.

A prequel to the original Halo game, it’s set during the fall of Reach – one of mankind’s last outposts – as an alien collective called the Covenant overwhelms the planet’s defences.

Joining a team of elite Spartan soldiers, it’s your job to take the fight to the alien interlopers, but there’s an air of desperation about it all, especially as you’re battling insurmountable odds.

The single-player campaign is spread across 10 chapters and lasts eight to nine hours on normal difficulty. That’s fairly short, but there’s a lot of replay value as none of the missions are overly scripted, with the outcome dependent on tactics, difficulty level and whether you’re playing solo or with friends.

To help in your battle with the Covenant, you have access to a hangar full of military hardware, including a target locator that can summon orbital airstrikes and a grenade launcher that spits out bouncing bombs. You can also collect power-ups, including the ability to sprint, turn invisible or use a jetpack.

In addition to standard Halo missions, there are a number of unexpected challenges, including an on-rails section and space combat. Defending a UNSC space station from enemy space fighters never gets old, especially when you’re accompanied by three wingmen in four-player co-op.

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As good as the single-player campaign is, online multiplayer adds some much needed variety. Firefight mode returns as players take on wave after wave of bad guys, and you can customise almost every aspect of the game. Our favourite mode is Headhunter, a game in which you collect skulls dropped by downed opponents and have to deliver them to a collection point before you become a target yourself.

A prequel might not have been the obvious choice for the next Halo game, but it certainly packs an emotional punch. You really feel like you’re in the middle of a global conflict and it’s a heart-breaking experience watching the planet get torn apart by the Covenant, but a hugely entertaining one too.

Publisher: Microsoft

Price: �49.99

Format: Xbox 360

Age rating: 16+

Score: 5/5 STARS

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