Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Halo Reach" a masterpiece, (possibly) a fitting goodbye

There have been few videogame series as good as Halo, and this is a fitting finale (at least for Bungie, the game's developers). It's a masterpiece, one of the best games of 2010, along with NBA2K11.

The game is set a few weeks before the start of the original Halo, when we were introduced to one of the most iconic heroes in videogame history, Master Chief. Only now, dialing back in time, we meet the Noble Team, a group of super soilders, taking control of one of them known as "Noble 6." You never get to see his face. This is Noble 6's story. Master Chief is not here.

The best thing here is you don't know the Halo mythology, you're OK. Everything is explained and makes sense, at least as much as videogame stories can.

The game is set on the lovingly drawn Planet Reach, which is where one of the biggest battles between humanity and an alien species known as the Covenant took place. The Covenant has long sought to eradicate the human race.

We are introduced to Planet Reach to start the game and find Noble 6's team stationed at the center of humanity's military operation. You'll work with other members of the team as you complete missions, getting to know -- and care -- about them. The other members show their faces under the helmets, and you quickly understand that this is a war the humans are not winning.

At times, the costs of war can get depressing.

Like the previous titles, this is a first person shooter and action comes fast. Something new is the ability to use powers you pick up permanently. You can use jetpacks when you want and even give yourself a brief amount of invincibility. I did find that it was hard to use some abilities concurrently.

I couldn't find much to quibble with this game. It will take large chunks of your life to play. It's immersive. It's hard. It's engaging.

It's fun.

I only wonder where Halo goes from here. The guys at Bungie, who have made all the Halo games, are pulling off to concentrate on a new game. Microsoft will handle the franchise's future, if there's to be one.

If we never see another Halo title, though, this is a great way to go out.

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