As for the rest, the aesthetic is human architecture on another world: a hospital looks like a hospital, for instance. There are very few ornate alien artefacts to unearth, although the surface of Reach offers plenty of variety and a distinct look far removed from the lush playgrounds of those elusive Halo rings.
Bungie perfected their 'thirty seconds of fun' philosophy iterations ago, and by the time we're traipsing around the shiny, Apple-esque city of New Alexandria there's the leering sense the developer is basically phoning in the level design: have some grunts run around for a bit, a few elites pop in and then, bam, a couple of hunters every other level to cause all kinds of problems. We've seen it, been there and, if you've ever had a look at the clothes selection at a branch of Gamestation, probably bought the t-shirt.
Again, though, it's hard to begrudge these familiar sequences when they're so technically accomplished. It's the usual Halo story, but it's easily Bungie's best campaign to date, though the later levels are guilty of existing in the slipsteam of the early game and the grand finale could have been a little more, well, grand.
Still, it's a clever balancing act on Bungie's part. The central conceit to the plot of the game is that Team Noble are, for the most part, powerless to stop what's going on around them. Whereas Master Chief would be running and gunning through Covenant high command, probably to blow off the finger of the person in charge of killing the planet before he hits the switch, Team Noble are thrown into the epicentre of the conflict, forced to see colossal events unfolding without the aid of briefing screens, intel or a friendly A.I. for exposition.
Still, some bits come across as slightly odd. A lavish, first-person scuffle with an Elite, which follows a sequence that's perhaps the best use of night vision since the Paris Hilton sex tape, puts you so close to your enemy you can see the slime on his quadruple-hinged mouth, though this is very near the start of the game and kicks off a trend that's never repeated.
It's also telling, perhaps, that Bungie has trimmed off much of ODST's (and gaming in general) superfluous features. The screen is never graced with an Achievement tracker, and Reach's surface isn't littered with a bounty of collectible audio logs. It simply focuses on the campaign, and Halo: Reach is all the better for it.