Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halo: Reach, Campaign Discussion

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THERE ARE SPOILERS INTERWOVEN IN THIS POST


This is a return to my SF video game posts. A new contender had arrived with quite the bang. I finally beat Halo: Reach's campaign, 12 hrs and 6 minutes. Don't you be snickering, because I was defending Reach on Legendary my first time through. Yeah check my Bungie.net profile, I it clocks me getting all the campaign completion achievements, and the all-important "Monument to All Your Sins" in one day. And I have to say, Bungie made there swan song a wild ride. There was so much throwback to the good old Halo CE days as well as references up the kazoo that as a true Halo fan(atic) I enjoyed the game the whole way through. Where to start?
I must say the greatest aspect of the Reach experience is the tragic dramatic irony, what I would call "The Titanic Effect" much like that epic movie, the audience of Reach knows how the whole story goes down, Reach gets thrashed, pummeled, and then glassed. Humans lose the crown jewel of their fledgling empire and are looking down the barrel of extinction. But Bungie still manages to fit hope into the overarching decent into destruction. From cutting down grunt hordes to destroying the spire, victory seems so close in the early levels, especially Jorge's sacrifice.

Then, there is New Alexandria, and the human slaughter becomes unbearable. Bungie's reference to the jewel of the late Egyptian empire also resolves in absolute destruction. Civilians slaughtered, buildings burning, and the shadow of the Covenant ships always present. An unnatural apocalypse.
The greatness of the spiral toward absolute defeat is the way the landscape of Reach drastically changes as the invasion occurs. I applaud Bungie for their most engaging and stunning visuals. The change from green highlands in the first level to the desolation and dirt that surrounds the perched Pillar of Autumn is mesmerizing. There is a sense of the life force of the planet slowly leaking into the depths of space.
And the final, Lone Wolf level? A hellish wasteland. Absolute ruin, landscaped by the carapaces of Noble 6's Spartan brothers and sisters. The mission "Survive" became an obvious lost cause just by seeing the sandstorm and raw earth blowing around. Yet, all gamer naturally struggle and continue to fight the shadows of their Covenant foes amid the swirling sands. Thus, with the final, death cinematic, I understood that I did all I could Legendary mode. This Spartan was truly beaten.

Tune in Next Time for Actual Combat Analysis




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