So, it’s finally happening. After years of answers like “we’re definitely interested” and “maybe” whenever they were asked, 343 Industries has finally announced that Halo: Reach will be added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection later this year. It’s a announcement many of us (myself included) thought would never come given that the Halo compilation game is now going on five years old. It really is happening though, and I couldn’t be happier. I think I said many times that Halo 3 is my favorite of the series, and that’s true. However, I spent much more time with Halo: Reach, so it’s really exciting to finally have the chance to return to it after all this time.
Like many Halo fans at the time, I had my problems with Halo: Reach when it first came out. I didn’t like the absence of Master Chief; I didn’t like the lack of a Battle Rifle; I didn’t like the fact that Sprint existed at all, and don’t even get me started on Armor Lock. I also remember being disappointed by the shortage of vehicle-oriented maps like Halo 3’s Sandtrap or Valhalla. Even so, most of those complaints went away once I dug in and really started playing the game. It wasn’t Halo 3, but Halo: Reach was still definitely good in its own right.
If I had to choose which game had the stronger story of the two, I’d probably have to land on the side of Halo: Reach. It just had a bit more emotional oomph to it, and thus inspired a bit more thought and reflection after everything was said and done. We’re not Spartan John-117 this time around. We don’t have his strength, nor the help of an AI companion, nor even his extraordinary luck. Instead, we’re just a faceless Spartan-III: a tool created and conditioned for the sole purpose of fighting the Covenant, even dying in the process if it means achieving our objective. It’s not a tale of saving everyone against all odds, but rather the most pyrrhic of victories bought by a river of blood and sacrifice. It’s something closer to the reality of the Halo universe rather than the bright and shiny version seen in the other games. Absolutely worth playing.
As for the multiplayer, it had its own flow to it. One had to be more adaptable to the flow of battle since power weapons weren’t the only pieces on the board anymore. Noting your enemy’s load out and testing for weaknesses before engaging decided battles just as much as weapon skills did, perhaps even more so. Firefight put your PvE skills to the test, while Invasion attempted to answer the age-old question of whether Spartans or Elites were the better fighters. I found the game’s signature DMR weapon to be even more usable than Halo 3’s Battle Rifle, and even the armor customization was better. Hopefully this will all be preserved in the re-release.
Halo: Reach may or may not have been as good as Halo 3, but it was still an excellent Halo game. It’s a little odd to see it coming back after all this time, but I’m certainly not going to complain. As you might have guessed, my attitude is very much the opposite. I love the unique twist Halo: Reach brings to the formula, and it’s amazing that other gamers who missed out the first time around will get to see it for themselves now. Halo: Reach is back, baby!
Are you psyched to see Halo: Reach returning? Did you miss it the first time around?
Lede image by Flickr user: commorancy