Many of you N4Gers know me as "the worst PS3 fanboy troll on the site". So, as an unrelenting troll, I wanted to give my honest opinions about the upcoming Halo Reach game, based on the videos, articles, and (brief) time I've seen the beta first hand. I believe that Halo Reach may possibly change my opinion about the Halo franchise. I was a big BIG fan of the Xbox and Halo:Combat Evolved last gen, but with Halo 2, Halo 3, and ODST my faith in the series has continued to diminish. However, I feel that Halo Reach is different.
My first recant: "Halo is full of 12-year-olds"
Based on what I have seen, online Halo is no longer the domain of pre-pubescent boys. I believe that Call of Duty has taken that prize and that many of the kids playing Halo have gone away to that forsaken franchise. I wanted to test this hypothesis, so (shock and awe) I asked my friend/neighbor to lend me his Xbox Live account so that I could try out the online modes of Halo 3 and ODST over the past few weeks. What I found was surprising: nary a child in sight. Okay, okay, so there were a few, but instead of the usual griefing and puerile behavior, I actually found some incredibly solid gameplay and - more importantly - an incredibly solid online community. Ultimately, an online game's strength lies in its community, not simply its gameplay. The Halo community has always bugged me, but I find myself having to change my opinion about Halo's online. I've had a great deal of fun over the past few weeks, and to my surprise the community is far less mean-spirited, racist, and...well...young. Instead, the Halo community seems to have grown up a bit.
My second recant: "The Halo campaign sucks"
Halo:CE has the best campaign to date, IMO. The storyline was the most gripping (with no lame cliff-hanger), the environments were the most varied for their time, and it's still a blast to play today. Halo 2's campaign was mediocre, and Halo 3 (dare I say it?) was even worse. ODST wasn't much better than the previous two, but with Reach I feel that same sort of curiosity I felt with Combat Evolved. Even though some of the guns still remind me of a Super Soaker, Halo Reach is the first game since Combat Evolved that conveys the sense of a serious war, not a Saturday morning cartoon. Plus, with the vast amount of customization, I might even play through the campaign more than once, something I have not done since the first game. Oh, and that brings me to...
My third recant: "Halo takes no skill"
The notion that Halo takes no skill is not a new argument. Many shooters have come along that are more tactical and difficult. I have long felt that the Halo franchise was a bit easy. Yes, even on Legendary. That goes for the online, too. But I will say that I have always enjoyed "no shields" in any Halo game when playing online. And with Reach's butt-load of customization, I feel that I'll have access to even more fun tweaks that will take the luck and randomness out of the online modes.
So, there you have it. There have been years of opinions formed against Halo over the years, but Reach may very well change those opinions. I am eager to play games on my PS3 this fall such as Little Big Planet 2, but Halo Reach is something that I'll have to "jump in" for and take it for a ride on the 360.