Welcome to Noble Team

Bungie’s final foray into its Halo franchise may be its best

By Christopher Pike

The fifth installment of the Halo franchise was released last Tuesday and, while Halo: Reach will be Bungie’s swan song when it comes to Halo, they’ve hit one out of the ballpark with this game.

The game’s campaign starts off by introducing you as the sixth member of Noble Team, an elite group of super-soldiers named “Spartans” who fight with the United Nation Space Command.

The Covenant is back in full force in this prequel to the rest of the games in the Halo series. The enemy AI is much smarter this time around, (especially on the higher difficulties) as they try and evade bullets more often while still attacking.

The best part of campaign is the story. While the gameplay is amazingly solid, people will want to keep playing just to get to the fantastic cut-scenes. One thing that will stick out for old fans of the series is the rather easy to follow plot. There is no Flood in this game and very little mentioning of the Forerunners and Covenant religion that littered Halo 2 and Halo 3.

Bungie has also added a lot of new things to the campaign, most notably space combat. As Noble Six, players will hop into the cockpit of a spacecraft and fight the Covenant in the deep recesses of space. Some people might find this a tad gimmicky, but Bungie did a great job making the piloting simple and smooth and the action in space engaging. The only way to describe it is as if Halo and Star Fox 64 were combined for this mission. People will definitely want to play it more than once.

There are also a few new weapons in the game like the Designated Marksman Rifle or DMR, which has replaced the Battle Rifle from previous titles. The difference is that the DMR is single-shot instead of three-round bursts. The Needle Rifle is also a new gun, but is essentially the Covenant version of the DMR.

After completing the single player campaign (which will take you around six to nine hours depending on the difficulty on which you play) it’s time to move on to multiplayer.

Reach’s multiplayer, just like any other Halo game, is wonderful. Firefight is back from Halo: ODST and it’s just as fun. Whether you’re shooting wave after wave of Elites and Grunts with your friends or strangers online Firefight is always fun.

The basic slayer game types are back, as are the objective based modes like capture the flag and veterans of the series will feel right at home with them.

Something new in multiplayer is the Invasion game type. This is Spartans versus Elites in either objective type matches or slayer type matches. This game type adds a lot of new flavor to multiplayer as much as it does fun.

Another addition to multiplayer is Call of Duty style classes with different guns and armor abilities. These armor abilities include sprint, invisibility and armor lock-up, which makes the player invulnerable for a short period of time as their shield recharges.

With all these amazing additions and tweaks to the game it would be hard to pass up the opportunity to play it. Unless you absolutely hate first person shooters or the Halo franchise, if you own an Xbox you should at least rent Halo: Reach before you inevitably buy it.

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