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Voice of the Last Fenix

The Shortcomings of Halo Reach: Part 2

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We now come to, in my opinion, Halo Reach’s biggest shortcoming, It WILL contain spoilers, not only from Reach but from the Eric Nyland novel, The Fall of Reach, as well. If you are yet to finish either of there and do not wish to encounter any spoilers stop reading right now….

SPOILER WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4.Continuity Errors & the Extended Universe: Shooters in general are not know fortheir narrative plot. BioShock being one possible exception to that rule. The Halo game franchise is really no different, no matter how hard the fanboys shout, the plot in Halo 1-3 was loose at best. Halo ODST pushed the story telling of the franchise into a new direction and it was moderately successful. The deep and compelling universe of Halo is largely thanks to the stellar novels, the comics, animated shorts and so forth. It is there fore that I found myself scratching my head as to the main plot of Halo Reach.
· Firstly SPARTAN III’s on Reach during the Fall of Reach and in plain view of not only civies but other UNSC personal who don’t really seem all that surprised. Now anybody who has read Halo: The Ghosts of Onyx will know that the SPARTAN III where basically glorified kamikaze troops made up almost entirely of orphans from planets the Covenant glassed. The entire first company was wiped out after its 3rd mission, there are a couple of exceptions. Beta company, the second group, where sent on a suicide mission at the age of 12 where 99% of them died blowing up a Covenant reactor complex, again a couple of exceptions. However the precence of SPARTAN III’s can, and I am sure will, be explained away by saying that they where there covertly or whatnot.
· Now the fact that the covenant managed to sneak a entire invasion force onto Reach with out anybody noticing is also a bit fishy. In The Fall of Reach the covies storm the plant with a large armada of ships, during the ensuing space battle a small detachment manages to land at the poles and push to take out the reactors powering the orbital super mac cannons, Reach’s primary planetary defense weapons. So unless nobody bothered to inform the SPARTANS that there was a GIAGANTIC space battle happening a couple of miles above the planet I fail to see how Noble Team could be surprised to find the Covenant on Reach. This could also be explained away, but the fact that Reach was the UNSC’s largest military installation in the outer colonies and that once Covenant where discovered in the system every UNSC ship in range was summoned to help defend the planet it makes the idea of Noble Team not knowing of immanent Covenant contact ludicrous.
· During the course of the game players bump into Dr Kathrine Halsey, Mother of the SPARTAN II project, (That’s why Jorge was as nervous as a 12 year old when speaking to her.) in Sword base. What the devil was she doing there? He lab was deep under the Castle base facility… This is also something that is partially explained in the game itself, just before the final mission Dr Halsey and Jun fly back to Castle Base. So maybe she was just there check on the findings of the scientist who Noble found dead early in the game?

But there are 2 fact given in the game that is near impossible to explain away. The first was the AI Dr Halsey entrusted to Noble Six, for anybody not paying attention that was Cortana… Master Chief’s faithful, hot and cocky AI companion… WTF? Cortana was, according to The Fall of Reach, developed as part of the final stages of Project Mjolnir… The Mjolnir Mark IV armor was designed to house a fully functional “smart” AI that would interface with the suit and the wearer, John-117, to further boost his performance. She was made using Dr Halsey’s own cloned brain and programmed with the best intrusion and counter intrusion software that O.N.I could come up with. All this was done to help the SPARTAN II’s on their mission to capture a Covenant ship, pilot it back to their home world and capture a Prophet in order to force a truce. Infact during the battle for Reach the Pillar of Autumn, that ship that leave the ship yard at the end of the game, was on its way out system with about 30 SPARTAN II’s and 1 smart AI by the name of Cortana on board. So if this is the case how could Noble Six hand over Cortana to Cpt Keys when they are suppose to be fighting in a space battle?
Not having the kind of divine energy it will take to wade through the countless Halo related forums, inhabited by all manner internet scum, to try and scrounge up a half way decent explanation say one I read in passing. “Bungie made the games, not the books. So they decided to hell with the books…” This I find very, very, VERY hard to believe. Though Bungie made the games the IP belongs to Microsoft Corporation and since they own the rights to the books, films, comics I cannot see why they would disregard the canon. Secondly every item included in the Collectors edition gives hits to the extended Universe. From a medical record of Kurt, also know as Kurt Ambrose, the SPARTAN II recruited to train the SPARTAN III’s, to maliciously created “Interstellar News Letters” all show a deep and devout level of fan service. All of this adds to the extended universe, a rich and deep universe, to imply that Bungie would just blatantly disregard a vital piece of the Halo mythos is near unthinkable especially when you consider than every time a Halo game fan gets curious and buys a novel or dvd or comic or graphic novel Bungie gets a cut, I would think they would be keen as hell to get every single person who has played a Halo game to go out and get all the books, music, everything…
This apparent break in continuality will hardly matter to any one of the millions of Halo fans who have not read the novels but this seemingly simple fact will stop Halo from becoming the FPS that furthered an already deep universe. Instead the Novels, Comic and short films will now exist in a canonical limbo where nobody is sure if it’s Canon or not and where devout fans will feel a little emptier inside.


None of these points stop Halo Reach from being anything but one of the years best titles. It does however show that even the greats have their flaws.

-Fenix Out-


  1. Tank's Avatar
    as for the continuity errors, it's bungies story and they can butcher it as they see fit.

    as from what i gahtered on the net 343 industries (ms's halo division) have contracted Eric Nylund again to re-write Fall of Reach to make it fit better with the changes that happened in Reach

    although i'd rather see a retcon on reach itself...
  2. Tank's Avatar
    and one more thing.

    I loved the part in the novel where reach falls fast.

    1-2 days tops.

    it's chaos. and from what i'm reading in the game things are slow and drawn out