Halo Reach Review 2: Customisation at Last

After playing Halo ODST I had given up on the Halo franchise, I found the graphics awful, the gameplay poor and I just didn’t want to play as a bloke anymore.  So Halo Reach held no appeal to me. That was until the kids at school started telling me that I could play as a female.

With some of the biggest games franchises of the past few years being first person shooters (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Gears of War, Halo) I’ve always felt that I really should get in to them a bit more but for a long while I’ve been feeling left out of the FPS world.  It’s for a simple and very predictable reason; I have no choice but to play as a man.  I understand many of the reasons “women don’t belong on the frontline”, “it’s integral to the story line that this character is a man” but with stories set in a completely different universe why do we have to stick to such normal ideas of who can and can’t fight.

Maybe I’ve been spoilt in the RPG world where not only can I choose my gender but everything down to the shape of my eyebrows but because of this I understand the extra work that goes into a game to add a playable female character (skeletons, textures, voices, etc).  Nevertheless given everything I know I still can’t understand what damage it could do to give people a choice, especially with online FPSs.

When I first started the game I just jumped straight in, as a man, but with the promise in my head that when I got online I would play as a female and be proud of it.

The game itself seemed great, stunning graphics, easier to control than ODST and a storyline that I could jump straight into.  Playing co-op with the other half on campaign mode was easy and I wanted to get more people in our team because for once I felt like the campaign could handle more than one player. After about and hour we decided to take a break and look at the options in the main menu and there it was, my icing on the FPS cake, to be female and still wear cool armour.

The customisation in Halo Reach is fantastic, for playing you earn credits and with the credits you buy new armour, voices, etc.  The choices span Halo’s history and so it is nice to see some familiar pieces appear again. All of it seems to be able to be worn by either male or female and there is a choice of colours for everything.  The main character Noble 6 has both a male and female voice with unlockable customisations for both.  Now everyone can also choose an emblem and a 4-character code so others can recognise you, I’m LWUK.

It was after I had played around with the customisation I realised that this character was for both online game and the campaign, and at this moment I wanted to play this game all the more.

I know it seems silly, to enjoy a game more just because of a change of shape and voice.  However it for me it has made a massive difference because I feel like now other companies will see that the fanboys won’t boycott their games and this will encourage them to put that extra work in to give us a choice.

I understand that right across the board we have a long way to go, people want to be able to choose their ethnicity and their was even a Monday Musing on Xbox Live calling for a left handed option.  However in my opinion Bungie have finally taken the first step as pretty much everyone can be split down in to two categories, male or female.

So thank-you Bungie for given me a reason to play your final instalment and for showing the FPS world it can be done.

GS Reviewer: Little Witch

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