Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Halo: Reach. When it launched in 2010, The Xbox 360 game instantly became one of the most popular entries in the Halo franchise. As the last installment developed by series creator Bungie, fans have a special place in their hearts for the title. Especially when the subsequent 343 Industries Halo games have received a mixed reception.
This month, Halo: Reach arrived on PC and Xbox One for the first time. Part of the comprehensive Halo: The Master Chief Collection, this version of Halo: Reach is the most complete ever. An entire new audience of players can experience what many consider to be the best Halo game.
But what makes Halo: Reach so good and why is it often said to be the best of the series? Let’s look at all the things Bungie did right with their last ever Halo game. Here are seven reasons why Halo: Reach is the best Halo game ever.
Bungie took everything they learned from past games
Bungie revealed that they were splitting from Microsoft in 2007. This allowed the developer to become an independent studio again and work on new franchises. The only caveat to the deal was that Bungie would have to release one last Halo game.
Wanting to go out with a bang, the studio put everything it had learned from the previous four Halo titles into action. This meant that Halo: Reach combined everything that worked in its predecessors while remaining faithful to the series. The end result was a game that fused all the best bits from the franchise into one package.
Halo: Reach introduced players to new Spartans
Up until Halo: Reach, players had only experienced one Spartan in the form of Master Chief. The new game changed all of that by introducing fans to six new super soldiers that made up Noble team. While they are not quite as powerful as the hero from the mainline games, they are still interesting characters. Being able to see other Spartans in action and how they function as a team was a very different experience. It made you feel part of a team rather than a solitary fighter.
Halo: Reach’s story is easier to follow
One of the main complaints that many players have had with Halo games is that the campaigns can be confusing. Often the plots of earlier entries were complex and had lots of backstory that was only explained in novels. Halo: Combat Evolved also started at a point where players were essentially thrown into the action without any explanation. It was impossible to know exactly who you are or what you are supposed to be doing.
On the other hand, Halo: Reach follows a more linear story. The single-player campaign also expanded on important story elements that were missing from the original games. Without super weapons and grand wars, the plot can focus on the characters and setting. Ultimately, this gives Halo: Reach the chance to tell a somber and emotional story.
Firefight and Forge were overhauled
Firefight and Forge are two modes that have become standard in the series. While they were not technically introduced in Halo: Reach, the game did overhaul both systems.
Firefight was expanded to have extra options along with online multiplayer. This made it far more accessible to players.
Meanwhile, Forge was greatly expanded. Players could create huge maps in a simplified system, which led to some incredible fan creations. Both of these have not be topped since in any subsequent title.
Halo: Reach is simplified and focuses entirely on the best bits
At first glance, Halo: Reach might seem like a very simplistic version of a Halo game. There is no Flood, Cortana isn’t around to give you advice, and the Prometheans from later titles are not present. Instead, the focus is entirely on the Covenant and its mission to wipe out humanity.
Without those distractions, Halo: Reach can focus entirely on the best things from the franchise. This approach helps the title to strip back unnecessary gameplay mechanics and content. What’s left is an experience that is consistently good, more so than any previous Halo game.
Halo: Reach is far grittier
Everything about Halo: Reach screams that this is a more mature game. Most Halo titles are colorful affairs that take you to fantastic environments. Conversely, Halo: Reach is set on an Earth-like planet under bombardment from the Covenant. These alien creatures mercilessly slaughter civilians.
Even the opening sequence and epilogue convey a sense of desperation and emotion not present in any other Halo game. The world design also helps a lot. Instead of the vibrant locations from earlier titles, this entry feels more daunting through the gritty environments you find yourself in.
Halo: Reach has more customization options and abilities
Customization has always been a major part of Halo. Even the first games allowed players to switch their armor colors. However, later games introduced complex armor permutations.
Halo: Reach is the culmination of this. Players can swap out separate parts of their armor for dozens of different models. Armor effects are also available in addition to special voice modifiers.
Furthermore, Bungie introduced armor abilities to add more depth to combat. Skills such as sprinting and armor lock are present for the first time, providing players with more strategic options.
With all of these improvements, Halo: Reach is clearly the best Halo game of all time.
Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments below!