Halo: Reach for the Stars   An Xbox 360 Game Review

The good ole Assault Rifle that comes with every Halo game without the word ‘Wars’ in it. Now bundled with extra Marines to help you out

Halo: Reach is a killer game.That is all that you need to remember. Now, this review is not meant for the converted. If you’re a hardcore Xbox first person shooting (FPS) fan, or have followed Halo since the very first ‘let’s double the stages by reversing them’ game, you would already have played the solo campaign to death — pun definitely intended — and are now skirmishing nightly on Xbox Live and religiously scanning the Halo Waypoint portal for new challenges and what not.

This review is aimed at the half-hearted, or the ones who have never experienced the mythology of Halo in the previous FPS games (two on the old Xbox, two on the Xbox 360) or even the real-time strategy of Halo Wars. (Let’s not even get into the books or toys or anime that you may have somehow missed).

Welcome to Halo: Reach, taking place on a planet with a fantastic view to die for. In this prequel to the original Halo trilogy, the alien Covenant has accelerated its extermination campaign of the human species — and the odds are stacked against humanity.

Halo: Reach is proof that prequels don’t necessarily have to suck — and yes, I’m looking at you, Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. This Halo prequel essentially shows how Master Chief became the de facto last of the Spartans, by reliving the last days of Reach before the Covenant overran the entire place. Actually, you don’t even get to play as Master Chief at all. But fret not, there’re more Spartans here than there were useful Jedi in the Star Wars prequels, and your character is way cooler than Jar-Jar Binks.

 Halo: Reach for the Stars   An Xbox 360 Game Review

You sure know how to drive a hard bargain!

Spartan surroundings

You are cast in the starring role as the silent newbie — ‘Noble Six’ — joining Team Noble, a team of enhanced and armoured super soldiers who wield cool weapons and can take quite a fair bit of damage thanks to their limited invulnerability. The Noble team of Spartans are THE special forces of all special forces, fighting with superhuman fervour against a limitless legion of super alien aggressors.

Note though, that the Spartans are not totally invincible, as their — and your — personal force shield can be overwhelmed by, well, overwhelming enemy fire. As Noble Six, you are answering the call of duty by undertaking what some would call Black Ops — the type of special forces missions that basically take no prisoners. Granted, you get to wield a host of conventional projectile weapons like assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns and grenade launchers.

But unlike the Call of Dutys or Battlefields of this world, Halo games also feature a vast array of exotic alien weaponry that could have come out of any Star Wars movie. Some, like a gravity hammer, makes short work of multiple enemies in one convenient swing. Furthermore, the Spartan armour you are wearing can be fitted with special abilities — and who can say no to a Jetpack or a secondary force shield bubble that protects you from heavy enemy onslaughts?