Finished Reach last night and decided to do a short review of the single player portion.
Spoiler Free review (short):
Overall campaign: 8/10
Campaign was a nice change thanks to no flood. Character development was a little weak. Story was pretty cool. Elites and hunters were a little overpowered, even on legendary. The music wasn't up to par with the other games, but was still okay. I beat it on legendary in about 11-12 hours total somewhere in there. Heroic is probably the perfect difficulty to play it on alone. Legendary is doable, but very irritating. Good campaign overall and worth it.
Spoiler Free (Long) review and thoughts compared to previous games.
What was really awesome is that you get to meet Dr. Halsey, who for you not too hot on the halo story, is the creator of the Spartan program and the mind behind of the A.I. Cortana. If you don't know who Cortana is, then, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. I completed the game alone on legendary and it was probably just as difficult as Halo CE on legendary. Halo 2 was way too hard. This is about just right. So do yourself a favor and just put it on legendary, you'll be glad when you get the achievement for beating it alone on legendary. A few hair-pulling parts but nothing that lasted too long. Some parts you just sprint past it all and get a checkpoint after you clear the area. I had very high hopes for the music for the game. I'd give it about a 6/10 compared to other games. Halo CE, 2 and 3 all had great music in the games. ODST's music did not fit the game well, IMO, ODST was probably the worst Halo game ever. The campaign can never beat Halo CE's, but considering the fact that there was no flood, this is the next best campaign next to CE. I didn't like the so called, "Engineers", if you didn't take them out, it made the covenant all have about double the shield strength. Elites didn't die when you stuck them. Their shields didn't completely drain if you stuck them with a plasma grenade, which is very irritating. Elites were very mobile and the higher rank elites dove around every time you tried to shoot them. I liked how they are very hard to kill and were a real challenge to take down. So when you see a group of 5 you actually get a little scared. In terms of teammates fighting, they were very awesome. Noble team actually did something, unlike other halo games. You really need their help on legendary and it was a great relief to have them with you. The music. The music felt like it was missing something, it did incorporate some tunes from the very first game, which was nice. But that was about the best part of it. Some guitar sequences felt completely out of balance, while one in particular felt absolutely perfect. So it was a "oh this is great" to "ahhhhh what?". The majority of the score worked with the story, just some pieces you can tell it doesn't go with it. Halo 1, 2, and 3 are all about equally pleasing and worked much better with the halo story and fit the campaign so much better. I might have to listen to it again to like it more, but from what I heard, I wasn't as impressive as past games. When I sit down and listen to it without explosions and gunfire, I might have a different opinion. I really wish Bungie would put in audio levels for each component. So you can set how loud the voices, music, gunfire, explosions would be. Some games do it and I love it. It would be pointless for most, but some who love the music or those who want no music and all a battle atmosphere can do it all. But yeah, overall it was a fun experience, I am pretty picky about music and some character traits that feel off from the story, but that is just my personal critical eye. If you are a fan of the Halo story, you will not be disappointed by the game. Go rent it and see how the story began.
The Story(Major Spoilers):
If you don't want to rent/play it, just read this. The general story is very basic. The Covenant is attacking the home, training ground and birthplace of all Spartans. At the very beginning you don't really understand what is going on until you come face to face with the Covenant. You meet your fellow Spartans and learn you are replacing a fallen comrade. You begin to fight and attack in missions in hope to weaken the attack and save the planet. Up until the last fourth of the game you realize that you are going to lose the battle and plan the last option. A few missions involved you piloting a spaceship up around the orbital defense system on Reach and assault a Covenant ship and plant a bomb. Towards the last few missions you actually experience a Glassing of the planet happen miles away and are affected by it, which was pretty cool. You run into Dr. Halsey, as she has special orders for your squad. She has "Cortana" in a tube and you are chosen by her specifically to take it to Captain Keyes on the Pillar of Autumn for something unknown that can save humanity. Fellow Spartans start dying in front of you, most sacrifice themselves in order for you to complete your mission. In the end, you deliver the package in time and defend the Autumn from Covenant Phantom attacks by using this huge "MAC" gun that tears up the sky. You watch the Autumn take off and blast away while you stay back and fend of the covenant as the Autumn escapes off. The last sequence is after the credits, it is a scene that you are actually playing as you are completely ambushed. I only lasted about 15 seconds as I was so confused on what was going on. When your player runs out of life, it cuts to a cut scene with your player as he/she takes off the armor helmet and the view you are seeing is the on board camera in the helmet. You are seen defending yourself from multiple elites with swords. You kill a few but are finally overwhelmed and stabbed to death by a couple of elites with their swords. The image you see at the very beginning of the campaign is the same image you see at the ending of the campaign. It is the picture of your busted helmet that shows your sacrifice and what you did on planet Reach. Dr. Halsey is heard giving a prayer to you wishing you were still alive to see what you have done and thanks you for your courage. It was a pretty emotional ending which leads perfectly to Halo CE. Then Master Chief comes in and beats some ass and saves the world, but you know that already.