Halo: Reach screenshot
Halo: Reach screenshot

To accomplish it the duo, well, they basically play Halo. Bungie isn't even attempting to rewrite the rulebook, but it is embellishing its regular formula with a few extra details: sloshing a bit more icing on its admittedly delicious brand of cake, if you will.

The effects and the cutscenes have taken the most significant boost. With the series running in full HD for the first time, the opening cinematic to the level is absolutely stunning, with a thundering force of UNSC vehicles streaming across a desert to take on a equally titanic Covenant armada. It's the first time in the series that Bungie has really managed to suitably convey the extent of this planetary war on the screen, and it'll leave plenty of people wishing that the Halo movie hadn't fallen through.

Once it's all finished kicking off (and it definitely does), you scroll down Halo's staple diet of wide, outdoor expanses and take on packs of enemy units. Reach isn't nearly as lush as Halo planets, and the leafless trees, bushes and shrubs lie on cracked, blistering ground - grass, when you get to it, is mottled and dank as opposed to luscious and bouncy.

Reach's aesthetic makes it the perfect home for damp, dark nooks and crannies, and Bungie is quick to capitalise on this natural extension of the planet: walkways twist and turn on top of one another, creating a multi-layered battleground that has a habit of winding around itself. The subtle skill of the level designers shows up here, the architecture always pointing you in the right direction despite it being precariously easy to get yourself lost and disorientated.

The vehicle sequence - and, let's face it, there has to be a vehicle sequence - pops you in a Rocket Hog which is, well, a Warthog with a rocket launcher. You drive around and things - Covenant, scenery, yourself if you stray too close - explode in big plumes of elaborate destruction.

And, yes, after some driving around you find yourself at the AA camps and dutifully dispatch them - letting the UNSC bombers show up in the sky overhead. They literally engulf the sky, and reign down constant streams of fire on a faraway location. That, just so it happens, is where you're off to next - though this is where the demo concluded.

It's not going to win over the detractors, but this chunk of Tip of the Spear looks like some of Bungie's best level work to date. Provided it doesn't pad out the middle sections with fluff (that means no Library, Bungie) then Reach stands a good chance of being the strongest Halo campaign yet. Judging by how many explosions featured in this demo, I think it's safe to say the team at Bungie is going to make sure it goes out with a bang.

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User Comments

omfg-bbq's Avatar


Is it true MS aren't handing out review copies but doing review nights like uk ign podcast said?
Posted 12:09 on 01 September 2010
El-Dev's Avatar


Seen two ads for this during Night Cops last night, was quite stirring.
Posted 12:04 on 01 September 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ draytone

Heh yeah probably not a lot even if i get a fiver off, thats £5 i don't have to spend and a game that i'll never play again off my shelf.
Posted 15:40 on 25 August 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone@ Endless

I bet you get about 50p for ODST :P
Posted 15:30 on 25 August 2010
Endless's Avatar


For me the fact that the 'level upgrades' are not weapons or perks is part of the draw. To have to pile hours into a game to get the perfect set of weapons and perks reeks of WoW-style advancement and phat lewtz systems that I abhor.

Keep the game consistent, someone thats played 50 hours shouldn't have their experience and familiarity of the game to boost their battlefield prowess. Not a better weapon to make the battlefield unbalanced.

Reach is one game i can definitely say i'll be getting, no questions. And right about that time i'll get rid of ODST in trade-in lol.
Posted 14:24 on 25 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar


My first Halo game will be this, pre-ordered it last week. Think quite a few of my mates are getting it as well so some multi-player will be played.
Posted 10:32 on 25 August 2010
scaz2244's Avatar


Better pre order this cz I know I'm going to want this when it comes out.
Can't wait for the co op aswell.
Posted 10:22 on 25 August 2010
Karlius's Avatar


Can't wait to play this 4 player CO-OP great times!
Posted 10:18 on 25 August 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Same, typically I don't get overly excited for Halo games but everything I've seen of Reach make it seem like it'll really deliver a lot of value for money.
Posted 10:02 on 25 August 2010
Wido's Avatar


Nice read. Getting quite excited for Reach, seeing as its 3 weeks away.
Posted 09:09 on 25 August 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 14/09/2010
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 741 10
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