I have had the pleasure of buying and playing through every Halo game to date. I know gamers who absolutely adore it and I also know of those who despise the game. Personally as far as the game is concerned, I find it enjoyable for short periods of time. Online it is probably my worst game as far as skill goes. I am easily frustrated by the 10 year old teabaggers and the unbelievable no scope deaths from a sniper rifle (that I suck at using). The campaign is enjoyable yet I cannot regurgitate all of the storyline or give anyone intricate details on the planet names, characters etc.
Halo Reach is not important to just fans of the series however. The repercussions of the game "reach" far greater than the Halo fan base. Whether you like Halo the game or not, Bungie is a developer that should be a role model to other developers in the future.
The Web Factor: Heading over to Bungie.net will leave your eyes bleeding from all of the content and features that the Halo Website offers players. Check your game stats, achievements, learn everything about the Halo Universe, purchase merchandise and much more. Bungie has done a terrific job of staying in contact with their customers and providing loads of information in the form of Podcasts and Bungie Weekly Updates. Interacting and staying in contact with your fans is something other developers should take note of.
Ban Hammer: Leaderboards on most games are usually topped off with illegitimate stats and known glitchers and cheaters. Bungie is one of the few developers I have seen to take such drastic steps to ensure cheaters are perma-banned and glitches are almost obsolete. This is one game where you will never get messages from kids wanting money to boost your account. Cheaters ruin so many games online, and the majority of the time developers just turn a blind eye to the problem. Developers take note, you put in hundreds of hours creating your game - don't let some jackass ruin your work so they can be at the top of a leaderboard that means nothing. Halo Reach is going to take things to the next level and deal with those players who are chronic quitters when they start losing. Would love to see this implemented more in games!
Matchmaking: How many multiplayer games have you seen where all you want to do is play with your friends and you are left with frustration? The matchmaking in Halo is one of the best gamers can experience. Want to search games by skill? connection? Want to party up with strangers who seem cool after a game? Whether you have a party of 2, 4, 8 - doesn't matter. There is a playlist that you can enjoy the game with your friends on. The entire multiplayer experience is based off your interactions with other human beings. Why can't other developers learn that matchmaking is such a huge component of multiplayer games and learn from Bungie. On top of the matchmaking system lies the playlists that are constantly monitored and updated to kill unpopular playlists and add new ones with different variants to keep things fresh and feeling new. Halo Reach will be implementing a new matchmaking system for co-op campaign. Co-op FTW!!!
Theatre: How many times have you been playing a game and had a moment that you wish you could relive, or see how in the world your opponent was able to kill you? Maybe you had an unbelievable game and want to simply share it with your friends. The theatre feature in Halo lets players relive these moments in game and allows one to save and share these moments with their friends. This is a fantastic feature and it looks as though other games are starting to take notice. In a recent trailer from Call of Duty: Black Ops, they showed a screenshot that suggests Black Ops will also have a built in recorder functionality.
Forge World: Multiplayer can really only stay as fresh as the variety that a game can allow. Playing the same maps and game types day in and day out will eventually wear on the majority of the population. When Forge was introduced to Halo, it allowed gamers to take their imagination and run wild. Players can build their very own custom maps and game types by using very simple and easy to use tools. Designing a level has been taken from an office building and delivered into the homes of millions of gamers. Not only does Bungie allow users to create new maps and game modes, but players can also share those creations with their friends. Halo Reach is going to even incorporate some of these great creations in new playlists for the community. How much life could have been pumped into a game like Battlefield 2 if you were able to create your own maps by using a similar setup?
Without even talking about the in game mechanics, armor customizations, ranking system - at the end of the day, the bottom line is SUPPORT. Throughout the years, Bungie has supported the gamers and that's why so many gamers support Bungie. September 14th, I will be picking up Halo Reach and I know that I will be buying a game that will have support from its developers. Whether you are a Halo fan or not, let's hope that more game creators start paying attention to why certain games succeed and take notes on how to support their customers.