Believe it or not, there was a time before I started writing a good deal about philosophical and metaphorical interpretations of games where I simply wrote about my opinions on certain items of the medium. If you would be so kind as to bear with me here, it won’t take long.
I love Halo, and I love Halo: Reach, I want to extend those regards because what I am about to say is such a minor gripe in the scheme of things. Halo Reach had plenty of jaw dropping moments. You once in space, then get out and infiltrate an enemy ship in space. And I thoroughly enjoyed each mission, they timed engagements well in my opinion, and I found each section to combine challenge and fun very well. It was well balanced, and always delivered something new. But there is one piece, one section I find quintessential to the Halo formula that Reach did not deliver in the spades in which it’s predecessors so generously offered.
What makes something epic? The definition has evolved a good bit over the years. To me, however does not have a definition, to me epic can only be described by a feeling. Halo has taken such brilliant experiences that coincide with awe-inspiring stories and are reinforced with the best soundtrack I have ever heard (this does not just apply to video games). Halo is epic. The fact that I can cycle through the levels of Halo: Combat Evolved, or Halo 2 or Halo 3 and know what happens, and what significance that level has in the overall game is quite a feat. I’ve played Halo: Reach’s campaign several times and I simply don’t recognize some of the lesser levels. They are recon missions, and insignificant skirmishes. The later levels are easily on par with the earlier games’, but the overall package lacks some of the incessant epic feeling that previous Halo games would never deny me.
I understand that unlike the earlier games include giant ring worlds that can destroy all sentient life while the fall of Reach is constrained within the boundaries of simply a large scale planetary battle, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that some of the earlier levels feel just slightly under the par set by the previous games. The story is still fantastic, the music is still mind-blowing, and the gameplay is better than ever. Not to mention that the multiplayer is the best I’ve ever played. But Reach slightly lacks one of the best things in Halo. It delivers it graciously, but not quite like it’s elder siblings did back in the day. Reach is epic, it is more epic than any other game of any other series. Don’t get me wrong, it is epic. It’s just not Halo epic.