Thursday, September 2, 2010

Halo: The Fall of Reach Novel Impression

Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360 releasing this Fall will be an epic and monumental gaming experience that puts gamers on Reach as the Covenant move in. Take up the fight as a member of Spartan Noble Team and prepare for sadness. Sadness? Why, well that is where Tor’s release of Eric Nylund’s masterpiece Halo: The Fall of Reach comes into play. Why is the novel The Fall of Reach so important to the upcoming Halo: Reach video game? Let’s take a quick peek at the story then relay why.

The Story: Spartan 117, John. Not the fastest or strongest Spartan but one blessed with amazing luck and skill. Follow John’s tale as Dr. Halsey and a young pilot named Keyes; discover John on a playground, a scouting mission of children that are to become the hope for humanity. Entered into the Spartan II program with seventy four other children, John distinguishes himself and learns teamwork and how to command as well as follow order. Eventually these children undergo the genetic modifications that will make them physically amazing as they also are introduced to their MJOLNIR armor which only a Spartan can handle. Encounters with Insurrectionist and pirates soon earns John the honor of becoming Master Chief then the Covenant attack Harvest and the enemy changes as does the wars stakes. Master Chief is no put in charge of the remaining Spartans on a specially equipped ship The Pillar of Autumn commanded by Captain Keyes. Introduced to the Smart AI Cortana, Master Chief’s plans take a turn for the worse as the Covenant unleash 700 ships on Reach. In order to save the orbital guns Master Chief deploys all but three Spartans, himself included, surface side to save the reactors from the Covenant but will it be enough? Eventually Cortana, Master Chief and the Pillar of Autumn must flee the system only to find themselves face-to-face with a large ring structure in space. The story of Halo begins but what happened planet side to the Spartans left behind?

Why Gamers Should Care: Last sentence folks. It’s no secret that Reach fell to the Covenant but what happened planet side? The novel covers the action in space as Master Chief takes on swarms of Covenant on a space platform but the action, the fate of the remaining Spartans is not covered. Were they lost? Is Master Chief truly the last Spartan? Learning about Master Chief, John, how he and the other Spartans were recruited, trained and came to care for one another will allow gamers to create an emotional bond with the tragic members of Noble Team. While the overall outcome cannot be changed, Reach will fall; victories can still be won against the Covenant. Gamers should care about the Fall of Reach as no matter how amazing Spartans may be they are not faceless soldiers, they are human a fact Eric Nylund establishes for Master Chief and every member of the Spartan project.

Potential Plot Holes: Timing and personnel. How much time did Noble team have planet side? Where are the rest of the Spartans Master Chief sent planet side? Will Reach follow the events of The Fall of Reach? Will John, Master Chief, be mentioned by Noble Teams members? These are a few potential plot holes that one prays are avoided but just add to the intrigue of reading the novel then seeing how the game plays out.

Overall the title The Fall of Reach is a bit misleading. Yes it shows Master Chief’s role, his events while Reach fell but it does not touch on the planet side events or what happened as the Pillar of Autumn departed the system. Having a chance to experience these events in Halo: Reach makes reading, or re-reading Halo: The Fall of Reach all the more enjoyable. So many questions to be answered from both the game and novel. Can’t wait for Reach then pick up a copy of The Fall of Reach and make the wait all the more painful … in a good way.

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