Review: Halo: Reach (The Master Chief Collection)

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80%
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As good as it always was

While some areas are changed, not for the better, the core game remains an excellent throwback to shooters of the past.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC) has finally been updated with Halo: Reach, some five years after the original release of the MCC. Somewhat ironic considering the tagline Reach shipped within 2010 of “Remember Reach”. Your enjoyment of this updated version of Reach truly depends on how much you remembered the original game.

In terms of the campaign Halo: Reach in the MCC is the definitive edition. It’s a near-perfect copy of the 2010 game with somewhat updated visuals. It’s a minimal addition but the inspired campaign and level design does not need to be added upon. The game follows Noble Team, a group of six super-soldiers deployed on the planet Reach before its attacked by the alien forces of the Covenant. It’s somewhat trite but the characters in Reach are memorable individuals with differing personalities, and the struggles the characters endure for the planet of Reach are perhaps some of the most motivational and emotional triumphs Halo has ever attained. It’s also refreshing for Halo to strike a middle-ground the overwhelming power of Master Chief as the protagonist of Halo 1 through 3, and the every-man style of the Rookie as the protagonist of Halo 3: ODST. You get the best of both worlds with a strong character, a part of a team that are by no means immortal. 

The multiplayer is blissfully unaware of modern trends, though this is certainly for the better. There is no fast movement, low time to kill, or killstreaks. The game revels in its age by giving players the Halo they remembered from nearly a decade ago, and only changing the visuals and some of the aim assist for those of us playing on PC. There has however been some controversy over the controller’s aim assist in multiplayer, it possibly helping people aim too much, making games unbalanced, but time will tell how important an issue this really is.

However, the additions and changes made to the package as a whole are easy to see as a net loss. Halo: Reach’s epic menu with its music has not been replicated, replaced by an exceedingly 2019 blue background with a boring menu interface. The music remains but it feels almost too exciting and interesting for such a dull interface. It’s serviceable for sure but it combines with other small issues throughout the game. For example, the armour customisation feature has been entirely overhauled, you can no longer buy individual customisation options as you please, there’s a set linear path with new path added every season. To encourage this new system you can only level up and earn these new options through the multiplayer, not through the campaign or solo firefight as you could in the original. It’s by no means a huge problem but somewhat indicative of 343 Industries fixing what was never broken. The only true issue with the game is a lack of local co-op, odd for a game that wants to appeal to the nostalgia of people who played Halo in 2010, as it was in the original game and something people loved. As well as this some performance issues persist on PC, but they will hopefully be fixed in the coming weeks.

However, the availability of Halo Reach on Xbox One and PC more than makes up for any shortcomings (PC especially). The only issue is that for now, the PC version lacks the Forge and Theatre modes available in the original, but they are coming next year, and I believe most Forge maps that have already been made are available in the PC version. But the ability to witness the story of Reach on a PC in 1080p all the way up to 4k is something no true Halo fan should miss. Even if the graphics options are somewhat lacking for PC users.

Halo: Reach is available as a part of the Master Chief Collection on both PC and Xbox One now. 

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