Halo: Reach PC Review

With Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie made video game history. Not only did it revolutionize first-person shooters on consoles, but it also put the original Xbox on the map, giving the console a killer app right out of the gate. The success of Halo saw Bungie work on the series for nearly a decade straight, releasing the final Halo game in 2010 before moving on to create the Destiny franchise. 2010’s Halo: Reach was Bungie’s final Halo game, and for nine years, it was exclusive to the Xbox 360. But now Halo: Reach has become part of The Master Chief Collection, seeing its release on PC in first time in the process.

Halo fans on PC have been waiting for Reach for nine years, and they should be mostly satisfied with the experience. Reach delivers one of the most emotionally powerful Halo narratives in the entire series, serving as a prequel to the events of the original Halo and depicting the fall of the planet Reach to Covenant forces. Instead of taking on the role of Master Chief, players play as the rookie Spartan Six, who joins the Noble Team in an unwinnable battle against the Covenant.

Halo: Reach’s campaign takes a few levels to really get going, but the second half of the story hits all the right notes. Even though anyone who has played other Halo games will know the Noble Team’s fate going into the game, it’s still a powerful, emotional journey and one of Halo’s more engaging stories. Any die-hard PC gamers who have yet to experience the Reach campaign should make it a point to do so.

With that said, Halo: Reach on PC has some performance issues that the Xbox 360 version of the game doesn’t have, mainly in the form of occasional lag and stuttering during cutscenes. Halo: The Master Chief Collection used to be known for having a lot of technical issues, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the Reach PC port didn’t quite live up to the quality that fans might remember, but it’s likely that these issues fine in future updates.

Aside from the occasional technical issues, Halo: Reach has a solid campaign that can be played with friends and is quite enjoyable. However, the real meat and potatoes of the game is its multiplayer component. Playing Reach multiplayer on PC is a revelation, with the added benefit of a mouse and keyboard setup that makes it feel like an almost entirely different game. Reach’s multiplayer on PC runs as fast as it can, with fast-paced action, a selection of great maps, and plenty of game modes for Halo fans to try out.

Playing Halo: Reach Multiplayer on PC is a blast most of the time, but it still has features that might not necessarily appeal to all Halo fans. Halo purists may still be unhappy about the armor abilities, which are still in the game despite being controversial when it was originally released in 2010. To remove the armor abilities of Halo: Reach is the initial change to way the game plays, so it makes sense that they’re still there, but it may mean that some fans don’t spend nearly as much time in Reach’s multiplayer as they would in other games’ multiplayer modes of Halo.

Unfortunately, population seems to be a problem with the Halo: Reach multiplayer experience on PC. While standard 4v4 matches are easy to get into, we had a hard time finding games for other match types, like free-for-alls. It’s possible that this is due to some sort of server issues, which wouldn’t be out of character for something tied to The Master Chief Collection, but it also might not bode well for Reach’s multiplayer longevity when it comes to the PC version .

The other thing that hurts the Halo: Reach multiplayer experience on PC is the lack of support for split-screen multiplayer or co-op. Split-screen has been a staple of the Halo franchise since the beginning, with only Halo 5 doing away with split-screen and getting a lot of backlash for it. Many PC game ports abandon split-screen support for one reason or another, but it’s especially disappointing to see split-screen not included in a Halo game. The lack of split-screen makes it more difficult to play through the campaign in cooperation with friends or join a friend for some multiplayer battles.

The lack of split-screen also makes it difficult for players to fully appreciate Halo: Reach’s Firefight mode. Firefight, for the uninitiated, is a co-op mode similar to Gears of War’s Horde, first introduced to the series in Halo 3: ODST. Firefighting in Reach can be a lot of fun with the right group of friends, although they’ll all need their own PC and copy of the game to play.

screenshot of halo reach

On the bright side, it shouldn’t be too difficult for people to play the game. Halo: Reach is part of the Xbox Game Pass program, meaning those interested in playing the game on PC can do so without buying it at full price. As such, Halo: Reach’s lack of split-screen is mitigated somewhat, as at least the game doesn’t have a significant price barrier preventing people from playing together (assuming everyone who wants to play has access on their own PC, that is).

Halo: Reach’s lack of split-screen in the PC version means it’s not as fully featured as the Xbox 360 or Xbox One game. Reach on PC also has some performance issues not seen in other versions. However, Reach on PC generally runs well and the mouse and keyboard controls will make it difficult for anyone to go back and play on console. For some Halo fans on PC, Reach may be 10 years too late, but others will have a great time playing through the campaign, battling it out in online multiplayer arenas, and teaming up with friends to conquer Firefight.

Halo: Reach is out for Xbox 360, as well as PC and Xbox One via Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Today Technology reviewed the game on PC.

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