The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Reaching the End: A Review of “Halo: Reach”


 By Jimmy Piraino

Photo courtesy of

“Halo: Reach” is the story of the beginning of the “Halo” saga, but truly, it marks its end. With the separation of game developer Bungie and publisher Microsoft Game Studios, another “Halo” game created with the same craftsmanship and quality will likely never grace the Xbox 360 console. With that sobering fact in mind, “Halo: Reach” delivers where all the other “Halo” games fall short.

“Halo: Reach” is the prequel to the “Halo” trilogy, directly preceding the events of the original game. The player takes on the role of a faceless Spartan soldier by the name of Noble 6. He begins the game as an unwanted replacement for Noble Team, an elite group of Spartan soldiers who are no strangers to war.

The story takes place on planet Reach, a heavily defended human world untouched by war. But when Noble Team is sent to investigate an attack by local militia, they discover that the Covenant, an alien race led by religious zealots that call for the annihilation of the human race, is to blame. What is initially believed to be an isolated attack soon turns into a planetary invasion of unimaginable force. What ensues is a battle for the very survival of the human race as Noble Team is sent repeatedly behind enemy lines to save the planet from total destruction.

“Halo: Reach” is by far Bungie’s best work in the “Halo” series, which shows with improvements big and small found throughout the game.

The most noticeable improvement is the graphics. The level designs are spectacular. Bungie used a cross between hand-painted backgrounds and graphic animation to bring a new depth to the world. “Halo: Reach” escaped the confines of its predecessors by using much more diverse color schemes, which make the dramatic sequences pop that much more on the screen.

To help draw the player deeper into the experience, Bungie pumped Noble Team with as much diversity as possible. Each Spartan is entirely unique and the player quickly grows attached to each member. But it isn’t only the team members that get an overhaul; the player’s character does so as well. Several key cut scenes have the player viewing events through Noble 6’s eyes, bringing them so much closer to the action and the persona of Noble 6.

The single player experience also includes highly upgraded enemies. Gone are the days when enemies’ only tactic was to stand still and fire at the player. The enemies in “Reach” are given the same abilities and skill as the player, making the game much more challenging and exciting. Whether they are trying to flank behind the player’s position, or sending in holograms to try and flush out the player, Noble 6 has his work cut out for him.

But Bungie seemed to forget about the intelligence of the player’s allies. On more than one occasion a hapless ally seemed to forget what they were doing, or decided that running the wrong way through a level was a good idea. There were also several instances where the ally seemed to get stuck at an invisible barrier, leaving Noble 6 alone in an enemy-infested area.

Bungie took great care to throw in several new ways to spice up the single player campaign. Flying through space in a fighter jet protecting a space station from Covenant attack, flying between crumbling skyscrapers in a helicopter to rescue trapped Marines, or even dodging enemy fire to fix defensive turrets, Reach is sure to keep players at the edge of their seats with both gripping story and perfected game play.

“Halo: Reach” is available now for the Xbox 360 for $59.99.

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