Halo: Reach is back. One of the more popular titles in the Halo franchise has made a return to Xbox and is now available on PC for the first time. Many people are obviously excited about this, myself included. It means we have access to Forge World and Firefight again for a start.
Although Halo: Reach is a fantastic game, it does have one element that doesn’t quite sit right: the story. Not that the story is bad, but it sort of completely ignores the already excellent story that was in place for Reach. Allow me to explain.
Game novelizations don’t necessarily have a good reputation. Some of them are pretty good, but they mostly fall into the category of poorly put together cash-ins. One exception to that rule is Halo: The Fall of Reach .
It was the first novelization of the Halo series, and it added a lot of depth to the games. The Fall of Reach told the story of the famous SPARTAN program, from inception through to completion, as well as the aforementioned fall of the planet Reach.
As well as giving depth to the world, it also gave some personality to the normally faceless SPARTAN soldiers. When Halo: Reach was announced, I would have expected them to use the plot of the popular book as a basis. But that’s not exactly what happened.
I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with the story of Halo: Reach. It’s a little flimsy because it’s a video game and the plot is basically there to facilitate shooting aliens with lasers. But the characters are interesting-ish and there’s a really great scene towards the end.
The reason that the plot and characters just feel wrong is that they’re unnecessary. The developers decided to have us follow the story of a bunch of SPARTAN IIIs when we already had a group of SPARTAN IIs with specializations and personalities that we could have followed.
I understand the idea that the writers wanted to do something new, but The Fall of Reach’s story was strong and interesting. It would have been infinitely better to adapt that into a video game than it would have been to create a bunch of new guys just for the sake of it.
How much you enjoy the actual story of Halo: Reach is pretty subjective. If you’d never read Halo: The Fall of Reach, then you’d have nothing to compare the game’s plot to and will probably have felt like it did an adequate job. It’s only when you’ve been presented with a much deeper and more interesting plot that it starts to ring hollow.
Personally, I just wanted to play the story I had enjoyed reading. We did eventually get an adaptation in 2015 in the form of an animated mini-series. The series in question was…fine. It never reached the heights of the book, but it was the next best thing to playing it.
It seems like we’re probably never getting a game adaptation of The Fall of Reach. Not that it matters too much. As long as we get to play those ridiculous driving and gauntlet custom maps, then I’ll be happy.