Review – Halo Reach (Master Chief Collection)
This year has been a surprisingly great year for Halo. We got our first decent look at Halo Infinite with the Chief’s more classic design returning. We celebrated the 10th anniversary of Halo 3 ODST and now we have the return of my personal favourite Halo game: Halo Reach.
Reach follows Noble team as they respond to an SOS about a potential insurgency attack. Once they arrive they realise that it isn’t an insurgency, but rather a full blown Covenant invasion of Reach.
The story is one that every Halo fan knows as Noble team attempts to stop a seemingly unstoppable force, but we all know how it ends. It’s a story that I thoroughly enjoyed despite its predictable nature thanks to the strong writing. The characters are some of the best we’ve had in Halo, so each death is much more impactful.
Halo Reach is almost ten years old. I’ve got to admit playing a Halo game on PC is a very weird experience, but it’s one that is thoroughly amazing. The shooting still feels great and playing it on a keyboard and mouse just feels natural. Whilst the game runs at a stable 60fps on the Xbox One and PC, the latter is able to unlock the framerate and go as high as your hardware allows. Best of all, we have a Field of View slider on PC with support of up to a 120 degree view.
This is the best Halo has to offer. A strong eight to ten hour campaign packed with plenty of variety and some of the best level designs in any shooter. Then we’ve got the same multiplayer offerings as we had before, complete with all the maps and modes. My only complaint is the inability to vote for maps and modes which will often lead to repeating the same games. Regardless of that minor complaint, this is still the full Reach experience with very little compromise.
Not a lot has been done visually to the game. Textures have been slightly reworked to look better, but the game is really starting to show its age. Outside of that, this is very much Halo Reach and is carried by Bungie’s excellent art direction.
The sound design is much more interesting in this version of the game. For the most part everything is intact, from Marin’o’donells stellar soundtrack to the voice acting and more. There are some issues I’ve noticed popping up in my time with the game, specifically with the weapon sounds on the PC build of the game. Hopefully this is something that the developers can sort out because the excellent sound design is one of the major components of the Halo universe.
One of my favourite features of Halo Reach back in the day was the scope of the customisation and how you progress. Every single activity gave you a number of credits that can be used on an increasingly awesome set of armour to deck out your Spartan your own way. You could get what armour set you wanted and it truly felt like you earned it. Granted, the credit and leveling grind was considered a bit too harsh for many and that should have been scaled back.
Instead, the credits have been replaced by the thoroughly unrewarding battle pass unlock system. A bog standard XP grind that will unlock armour pieces progressively. There’s no choice in what you armour you get as you work your way up the tiers. It’s a bit of a shame that this is the best 343 could come up with. Also only matchmade activities will provide XP, so no rewards for completing the campaigns or doing firefight in private matches with your buddies.
Aside from the poor progression, this is still Halo Reach. The addictive core gameplay returns with its stellar campaign and fantastic multiplayer offerings. Not only that, the price of admission is more than fair. When it released nine years ago I thought it was the best Halo and today I still feel the same way.
The visuals may show their age at times, but the excellent art direction is timeless.
Halo Reach played perfectly back in the day and it still does.
A thoroughly amazing soundtrack by Martin’o’donnel mixed with great sound design. Though something is wrong with the weapon sounds in the PC version.
Fun Factor: 9.5
Gutted customisation and progression is the only letdown in this fantastic new iteration of Reach.
Final Verdict: 9.0
Halo: Reach (MCC) is available now on PC and Xbox One.
Reviewed on PC and Xbox One.