Halo:Reach. (Xbox 360 Game). (2010). Microsoft: Bungie.

Summary

It is the year 2552, and you are a warrior: a specially enhanced human warrior, sent to the planet Reach to protect it from alien invasion and destruction. But it is not going to be an easy fight, it’s not even going to be a fair fight…most wars aren’t. So what exactly awaits you on Reach? Ambush after ambush, wave after wave of alien floods, smart scientific secrets, and ultimately, death. For only one superhuman Spartan Warrior will survive, and live on to unlock the secrets of the weapon known as Halo.

Critical Evaluation

Halo:Reach is the highly anticipated prequel to the Halo video game series, which started with Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001. It is also the last Halo game to be created by Bungie.  This game will definitely set the bar for future Halo games, yet it does stay respectful of the original.

Stunning, cinematic trailers precluded this visual and auditory feast of a video game, and the graphics, effects, and game-play do not disappoint. Online multi-player features will keep the game alive once the campaign has already been completed, making it a good buy for libraries looking for titles with some replay value.

Some specific features of this game that make it stand out from the other Halo games are the moody sense of danger and sadness expressed through sound and graphics, a sense of realism felt through sound and controller when weapons are used, and finally the option of playing a female character throughout the game. Fans of Medal of Honor and Halo: Combat Evolved will definitely be fans of this game, especially since the game is the most reminiscent of the original in the last few years. Bungie has brought us Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo: ODST, which disappointed for that very reason.

Halo:Reach does include violence towards aliens, and while that is easier to stomach than the pretend violence against humans in other war games such as Call of Duty ( whose animated human figures look more and more realistic every day,) Halo:Reach does still contain violence and graphic imagery, particularly in the cinematic elements of the game. However, the game is rated M for Mature, (17+) and many teenagers may choose to enlist in the military soon after they reach the age of 18. Therefore, for older teens, the game should be considered appropriate.

Reader’s Annotation

What more can one hope for than valor? If you want to learn the true meaning of the world, then try your hand at saving a planet which is destined for destruction. You will fight the alien creatures which have become legend in the world of Halo, the flood, and witness the creation of a computer program which may be humanity’s last hope.

Genre

-First Person Shooter for XBOX360.

-Science Fiction

Curriculum Ties

–          War Simulations

Programming Ideas

Halo:Reach (like the original Halo) can be set up to have huge multiplayer battles by connecting 2 or more XBOXs. This makes for great tournaments, and can be played over and over with different players every time.

-Strategy Sessions

-Build Your Own Uniform Day

Reading Level/Interest Age

17+

ESRB RATING: MATURE– Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Challenge Issues

Violence and warfare, though the violence in-game is primarily towards aliens, besides some depictions of carnage (as a result of war) in the cinematic elements of the game.

If 18-year-olds can enlist in the military, then they should be able to play a game such as this. The game may not be appropriate for 12 year olds, but a 17 or 18 year old teenager may benefit from improved hand/eye coordination, strategy, and socialization promoted by the game.

Why did you include this game?

Collectively, the Halo games have sold more than 27 million copies and have almost single-handedly established Microsoft’s Xbox as the video-game console of choice for serious gamers. Fan dedication to the franchise is legendary. And the games have made Microsoft a fortune. Halo 3, the last full game in the series, raked in more than $170 million in its first day of release. That’s more than double the highest-grossing single day for a movie — $72.7 million for Twilight: New Moon, in November 2009. So Bungie’s final Halo game is understandably a big deal.

Because of the popularity of this game and interconnectivity online, (Bungie popularized the idea in Halo 2, the first mass-market game to take full advantage of the Xbox’s Internet connectivity,) many teenagers 18 and younger are playing this game throughout the country.

There are books based on the Halo series of games, such as the recent Halo: The Fall of Reach, which explains the same story you play in the game, in greater detail as only a book can. Thus, a librarian can tie the game with Halo titles, (see Halo: Evolutions, above) as well as other science fiction titles such as Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, or Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

References

Easterwood, L., & Wesson, L. (2009). Gamers Are Readers. School Library Journal, 55(4), 24-25. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database at persistent URL:
http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=37605342&site=ehost-live

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About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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