Before the discovery and destruction of an ancient alien ringworld, before a teeming parasitic enemy threatened Earth, before a soldier called John-117 made a new name for himself, humanity fought to defend the planet Reach. And though Halo: Reach is a prequel to all the Halo games that have come before, it represents the evolutionary pinnacle of the series. From the expertly tuned combat to the expansive level design and from the innovative online integration to the robust creation tools, all the pillars of Halo’s success are in top form here, tied together seamlessly by an elegant and intuitive menu system.
UK REVIEW-After shooting through scores of Covenant and Flood soldiers in three Halo first-person shooters, the United Nations Space Command’s story rewinds a few decades in Halo Wars. The game grants you command of both the human UNSC forces and their archenemy, the theocratic alliance of the Covenant. Halo Wars offers quality cinematic presentation and a simple control scheme that makes the game easy to pick up and play, but the limited amount of units, short campaign, and dearth of multiplayer modes make it ultimately feel stripped. Halo Wars is a fun playthrough for casual real-time strategy and Halo fans, but there’s not enough depth to win over hardcore strategy buffs.
The answer: It’s still really, really good. The campaign tells an intriguing story full of fluid action, fierce enemies, stirring music, and thrilling moments. The overhauled visuals look great; flipping between the classic and remastered presentation modes not only makes you realize what a thorough and faithful job the artists have done, but it also makes you appreciate how well the original art design stands the test of time.
Halo 2 was released on the Xbox back in 2004, and as you’re probably aware of by now, it was a huge success. The first-person shooter added online multiplayer to the proceedings, and despite a universally reviled cliff-hanger ending, it was really something special on the Xbox. Three years later, it’s now available as one of the first Vista-only PC games. It’s still easy to see why this game was so loved on consoles in its day, but when you put it in direct comparison with recent PC shooters, it loses a ton of its appeal, making it best suited for Halo fans who want a good way to play or make custom maps.
Halo 3, the long-awaited sequel to one of the most widely praised, most influential first-person shooters ever created, has a very tough act to follow. Fortunately, it’s built on a foundation that’s as strong as they come. The game’s success was preordained-publisher Microsoft tallied more than 1.5 million Halo 3 preorders in the weeks leading up to the game’s release, which demonstrates just how confident Halo’s fans are in the sequel’s quality.