11th October 2009 - It’s been 8 years since we first got our gritty little hands on the mammoth that is; Halo. Yet it still seems like just yesterday that we were first stepping into the large, armored boots of the Masterchief and running amuck with memorable weapons like the Needler and the Plasma Pistol, not to mention the always fun Shotgun and Rocket Launcher. But a lot has changed since then, and we've been given 3 more Halo shooters, plus the dynamic RTS Halo Wars. Halo 2 was popular yet looked at as a bit of a failure when compared to the original, and Halo 3 took the world by storm. The most recent Halo game we have been given was the graphically underworked Halo 3: ODST, which is arguably the best Halo game yet. At E3, Microsoft announced the next game in the massive series; Halo: Reach. What will it bring? How will it deliver? Who will it star? There's a lot of questions out there as the details are scarce, but here at All Age Gaming, we bring you what we think are the 5 most important things that need to be seen in Halo: Reach, in no particular order.
5. Improved Graphics
Improved graphics is an absolute MUST in Reach. Back when Halo 3 was released, its graphics were considered pretty slick, and it stood high with other AAA titles being released around the same time. But that was over 2 years ago now, and when ODST was released not even a month ago, it had the same graphics as featured in Halo 3! That’s two year old visuals and was the main reason some people are having trouble accepting ODST as its own game instead of calling it a mod and an add-on. If Reach is going to use the same 'Halo Engine' as the previous titles did, then please Bungie, update it and give us what we want; improved graphics!
4. A more ‘Adult’ action feel
The entire Halo series really is a little kiddy. The aliens make what are obviously supposed to be cute and fun remarks with their high pitched voices as they run around throwing their hands in the air. Little kids may giggle and laugh at this, but really, you’re playing a super soldier blowing these maniac aliens to bits, it shouldn’t be appealing to kids. To top it off, these said aliens are coloured like a pre-schooler got a hold of a bucket of rainbow paint and was told to splish, splash and finger paint his way to victory. Halo has a large audience, yes, but there are legions of gamers out there who account for a lot of the sales that don’t like this toddler style and look. Bungie, make Reach appeal to a larger audience. Do something fresh. Do something new with the series; make it more 'grown up' and give us adults a world in which we can relate. I mean, in all fairness, the average age for a video gamer in this generation is 30-35, so listen to the bulk.
3. A more realistic slant
How can a game about blasting fluro coloured aliens (see above) with bright coloured energy guns possibly be realistic? Pretending that was possible, let’s change the subject to making the actual gameplay more realistic, not the games theme. One of the reasons Halo has been so great and popular was its generic style and classic shooter layout which featured the stationary HUD and crosshair to the big bright health bar up top. They were mighty fun in Halo 3, but Reach should go in a different direction. Take a leaf from games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, as they are perhaps the best examples. When you run the crosshair should distort. When you try to run and can’t quite make the difference safely, you should be able to sprint. You should be able to go prone. You should be able to sneak up on the unsuspecting enemy. It’s the things like this that really make a shooter, and Halo: Reach should leave the generic shooting genre behind and start its march up the hill of realism. The fans would appreciate it.
2. A longer Campaign
Halo games have always had a short campaign. Halo 3's was a little longer than the others, but still, it was undoubtedly short. The same can be said about most shooting games these days, but Reach now has a chance to be one of the better shooters that doesn’t cut it short. Bungie can, and should for the life of them, increase the games campaign mode play time significantly from previous Halo games. A run through of any Halo game in particular can usually be done in 4 or 5 hours flat. There's not much more to be said about this one, as it’s pretty clear and in-your-face; Halo 1, 2, 3 and ODST were all short. Make Reach, well, make it longer. It’s the one thing no one will have a problem with. I suppose I can name drop just a few great games that feature rather lengthy campaigns like Half Life 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Bioshock and even the all-time classic Goldeneye 007, and just look at their fan base and success. It goes to show; a long campaign gives a long line of success.
1. Better A.I.
This could perhaps be the most important one on this list and the biggest selling point for Halo: Reach. Each and every Halo game has had below average A.I. for both the enemies and your very own marine counterparts. ODST took the enemy A.I. in a bit of a better direction as they knew how to flank and ambush your lowly Rookie, but overall, it was still lacking, especially in your allies. They just stand around and shoot a bullet every now and then, they don’t take cover, they don’t run and hide when one of the more intimidating enemies (like a Hunter) comes running at them. Yes they dive out of the way of a grenade, but usually into either another grenade or right into wall, and still get blown into smithereens. All in all, Halo: Reach needs better A.I. just as much as it needs improved graphics.
Well there you have it, 5 things/improvements that Reach needs to make it the truly great Halo game we've been wanting for years. Sure, there are tons of other ideas we could have put onto the list, like bigger battlefields (which kind of goes hand in hand with A.I.), more weapon choices and the rather common complaint of faster action gameplay, but we feel these 5 were the most important. But until Bungie release some more juicy info, there is no way of knowing for sure what Reach has in store for us. Until then, happy hunting.
Let us know in our comments section below what you want to see in Halo: Reach.
Article Written by John Elliott