10 years ago today, Bungie said goodbye to the Halo franchise with one of the best PVE shooters ever made.
Halo: Reach released 10 years ago today on the Xbox 360 and changed my life forever. I had been looking forward to it since the classic Reach ViDoc, the one where Marcus Lehto said "every neuron in my head is firing Reach, Reach, Reach." Terms like "Move up the beach, Noble" were permanently etched into my memory. I remember standing in line at Gamestop for the midnight release, and blasting out round after round of Reach Firefight. I was hopelessly addicted: To this day I haven't played a single game of Reach PVP on the original Xbox 360.
Reach is an immortal game for me because of its PVE and campaign. 4-player Firefight survival is my favorite mode ever, and the armor abilities were just made specifically for this gametype. Add in an emotionally-driven campaign full of somber, sobering moments, over the top chaos, and, for the first time ever for Halo, a spaceflight mission, and you have a recipe for one of the most epic Halos ever made.
Below I've chronicled some of my favorite things about Halo: Reach:
This is the bread and butter for me. Firefight is the entire reason I bought Reach. I played ODST's Firefight like a madman, and Reach took it to a whole other level. The armor abilities are a blast--I still love the bubble shield, but the armor lock shotgun starter leads to some awesome chaos--and the maps are very well-designed.
One of my favorite things is to grab a plasma launcher and a shotgun, and just absolutely wreck shop. Corvette is the best map for this, but you can add in some vehicular fun with Beachhead.
My favorite thing about Bungie's Halo games was how they didn't add preferential treatment to one gametype. Even though PVP was the main pull for most, they put lots of effort into PVE. There was no monetization, no schemes, just a clear-cut progression system that was fun and inobtrusive.
Thematically, Reach has the best campaign. It's better than ODST, Halo 2, Halo 3, you name it.
The campaign is a desultory reminder of what Halo is about: A losing war against an indomitable and cruel foe from the stars. Reach is a story of hope, sacrifice, and survival. A story about duty.
One by one Noble team is picked off, and it feels like a part of you breaks off as they're taken. You feel a connection with these heroes. You feel like you're part of Noble team. That's something Halo hasn't always been able to do, and Reach did it exceptionally well.
Be sure to fire up Reach on Xbox 360 or on the Master Chief Collection to pay your respects to Bungie's legacy and the Halo franchise.
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