So, as I write this post it is 4:33 in the morning, and take into consideration that I bought the game at 12:01 am, this very same day. I have spent just over 4 hours playing this game, more specifically Forge, Matchmaking, and Campaign. I'll go over my first impressions with the game in that order.
Forge has been substantially improved. Everything that should have been in Halo 3 has been included in Halo: Reach. Users can phase, snap, and levitate pieces to their hearts content. Although it was a bit overwhelming at first, it became more intuitive as I used it. I only spent about 45 minutes in Forge, but I can tell I will be spending much more time on my map editing in the future.
Second, Matchmaking was where I spent the bulk of my 4 hours. For anyone that played the Beta, you can expect a very similar experience. However, there are several noticeable differences from the beta that should be noted. First, in the Beta there were only 4 main Spartan armor permutations, and now a fifth has been added. This fifth permutation enables the user to project a hologram of them, which could distract a sniper, or draw someone’s fire for those few precious seconds. Second, I think that the experience has been refined. To be more specific, splash damage is reduced and increased when needed, the armor permutation controls feel more tight and more responsive. Lastly and unfortunately, many things have been nerfed. For example, the cloaking permutation has been changed so that it is only active when standing completely still, and when you are moving the invisibility turns into a partial invisibility, but make no mistake, you are very much visible to your enemies.
Lastly, the campaign is where I was placing most of my preverbal eggs. I have always loved the Halo Campaign's made by Bungie. Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo ODST all had their flaws in the campaign, but they were all incredibly fun to play and very enthralling. Unfortunately, in the hour and a half or so that I played the campaign I didn't see any deep connections between the characters, plot development, or a deeper and darker underlying plot that would inevitably reveal itself later in the game. Maybe I should replay the first three levels, and maybe I should pay more attention to the acting and animation, but from what I noticed, it really didn't blow me away. However, I do look forward to finishing up the campaign, first on my own on Legendary, and then on CO-OP with four friends.
Look for a more in depth review later in the week when I beat the Campaign and get a chance to try out the Custom Games, Theater Mode, and Fire Fight Modes.