Sep 162010
Authors: Ian Hopkins

It may be a little early to make a prediction, but “Halo: Reach” may be 2010’s “Game of the Year.”

Quite simply put, “Reach” is easily the best and most polished “Halo” game to date.

Bungie did an exceptional job fine-tuning the “Halo” series’ game play for their final “Halo” game. This game feels like a brand new “Halo” game, yet it has a nostalgic feeling that everyone who played the previous “Halo” games will recognize.

Plus, I have only been able to find one actual problem with “Reach” –– when the action gets heated and lots of things are going on around you, there are frame rate slowdowns.

The graphics are almost perfect in “Reach.” All of the textures look detailed and Bungie put effort into the smallest parts of the game.

For example, in the opening cut scene your custom created Spartan is used to make you feel like you are Noble 6 and an integral part of the story.

All of the guns, characters and vehicles look vibrant and are flawlessly modeled. Just look at the sniper rifle’s scope, it is a piece of eye-candy that you can look at and see the world of “Reach” in an entirely new and technological light.

As I previously mentioned, the only bad thing about the graphics are the occasional slowdowns during intense game play moments.

“Reach” has a soundtrack that was expertly composed, and all of the music and sound effects fit perfectly.

Every explosion, music change and gunshot intensifies the experience. The audio to “Reach” is tailored perfectly to each experience in every moment of the game, and the transition from intense battle to the aftermath is barely noticeable.

This “Halo” game has essentially the same control scheme that made the franchise so easy to pick up and play when it first came out.

Everything just works and the variations on the control schemes Bungie included in the game let each player finely tune the button combinations to fit what works best for each individual player.

“Halo: Reach” has a new twist to the familiar “Halo” game play. It’s difficult to determine everything that Bungie changed for “Reach” because many of the adjustments were minor.

But even the smallest changes that were made add up to a superior gaming experience. “Reach” builds upon the previous “Halo” experience perfectly, and probably my favorite addition to the game play –– the campaign specifically –– is the wild creatures that inhabit the world of “Reach.”

Game reviewer Ian Hopkins can be reached at

“Halo” Ratings

  • Graphics: 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Sound: 5 stars out of 5
  • Controls: 5 stars out of 5
  • Gameplay: 5 stars out of 5
  • Overall: 9 out of 10 stars
  • Replay Value: Very High
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