Halo: Reach

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Halo: Reach

Halo - Reach - X360 - USA.jpg

Xbox 360 - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Bungie Studios
Publisher Microsoft
Published 2010-09-14
Platforms Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genres Action, First-person shooter, Shooter
Themes Military, Science Fiction
Series Halo
Multiplayer Simultaneous co-op, Simultaneous teams, Simultaneous versus
Distribution Commercial

Halo: Reach is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 on 2010-09-14. It was later ported to the Xbox One and Windows. It is the sixth release in the Halo series and a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. In 2019, it was remastered in the Windows port of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

The game takes place before the events of the first Halo game and its story is loosely based on events from a the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach which details the Covenant invasion and conquering of the planet Reach.


Own?Yes. On Steam in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Won?Yes. Windows HD remaster port. Normal difficulty.

I never played Halo when the series was particularly popular. I watched the first couple dozen episodes of Red vs. Blue, and saw some brief clips of the game online, but that was it. Knowing that I had missed out on a gaming touchstone, I was always eager to play the game, but not enough to actually buy an Xbox to do so. So, when I saw the Halo: The Master Chief Collection on sale on Steam, I bough the collection. After downloading it, I noticed that Halo: Reach was the first game in campaigns section, and the only game which automatically downloaded with the program (the others had to be downloaded separately). I had never even heard of Halo: Reach and I wasn't sure what to do. I did a quick check online and saw it was a prequel which was the first in the in-game series chronology, so I played it as my first Halo game. After I finished the game, though I enjoyed it, I wished I had played Halo: Combat Evolved first as the developers clearly didn't intend for Halo: Reach to be the series introduction.


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6 7 9 6 8

Best Version: Windows


  • Combat is quite enjoyable. Unlike earlier FPSes, enemies don't stupidly plod their way toward you, they take advantage of cover and try to out-maneuver you. Because of this, you can't just strafe around their projectiles, if you want to live, you have to keep moving, avoid getting trapped, and outflank your foes to hit them in more vulnerable areas.
  • The respawning system is very good. The game auto-saves each time there is a break in combat, so you'll never get sent that far back if you die, and you don't need to worry about manually saving all the time.
  • The graphics are amazing, and even more impressive in the HD remaster. The art of the alien characters and vehicles are also great.
  • The weapons system is kind of nice as well. Instead of having just a few different guns which you try to collect and maintain a stockpile of ammo, there are a couple dozen guns each with its own unique ammo. You will frequently find yourself low on ammo and needing to pick up the weapon of a fallen ally or foe. This prevents players from being able to just use their favorite gun through most of the game, occasionally switching to a bigger gun when the situation calls for it. And, because of this, you're frequently changing your load out which forces you to reassess how to deal with your foes.
  • Dog fighting in space, piloting the helicopter, and riding the various land vehicles gives the game much needed variety.
  • The score, though a bit generic sounding, does a great job at enhancing the game's story.


  • There's very little exploration and no puzzles to solve; nothing cerebral at all. You just kill all the enemies in your area, then work your way to the next checkpoint. Because of this, I felt more like I was just going through the motions of the script instead of making my own path in the world. I much prefer the Half-Life approach to more complicated first-person shooters.
  • I didn't feel like there was enough character growth to make any of the characters feel meaningful. The fact that you're looking at helmets most of the time instead of faces certainly doesn't help.
  • The communications between you and your fellow soldiers are hard to hear, especially the further you get away from them. Having missed a lot of dialogue, I often felt like I was in the dark with mission objectives. Also, if they're communicating to me through radios in their helmets, why does the volume decrease as I walk away?
  • I found the shaky camera and signal loss effects during cut-scenes to be annoying. Rather than increase verisimilitude, they made the game feel less real to me.
  • Like so many other modern games, you're awarded achievements just for playing the game, which feels anti-climatic.
  • The lip-sync with the audio doesn't look very realistic.
  • The story is an overplayed tough-guy wet dream.


  • Though it is sold as a standalone game, it was not created to be one. Halo: Reach assumes the player is already very familiar with existing games from the Halo series. Despite the game being, chronologically, the first in the series, the player is not given any backstory, but plunged right into the action. You're not told what the UNSC or the Covenant are or why they're fighting, you're not even told what Reach is. I can sort of understand this because it's the sixth game in a series — anyone who would buy the game would probably already be a fan. Luckily, I had a vague idea of what was going on so I wasn't completely lost, but nobody should ever begin the series with this game as the Master Chief Collection suggests.
  • The game has a lot of commands and weapon options, but lacks a tutorial or educational game play. The manual from the original release gives you a brief overview of the weapons, items, and enemies, but it's not included with the later ports. There are a couple in-game prompts which tell you how to switch weapons or use items, but you're often expected to read them while being shot at, and the prompts don't give enough information to understand what they do anyway. You essentially have to discover how the various weapons and items work through trial and error in the middle of a firefight, which isn't very enjoyable. I didn't even know the game had a melee attack until I pressed the button by mistake.
  • You're required to have a Microsoft account to play the game so they can track everything you do. You can't even play solo offline mode without one.


Cover Art



Longplay - Xbox 360 - USA.
Longplay - XBox One - USA.


Strong female character?PassKat is both intelligent and ruthless.
Bechdel test?FailWhile there are a couple female NPCs, I don't remember them every talking together.
Strong person of color character?FailAlthough several characters have European accents, none are clearly people of color.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


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