If you’re the father of sons (or some daughters) who are into video gaming at all, then you have almost certainly heard them talk about Halo: Reach. But if you’re like most adults – even the savvy ones – you have only the vaguest idea of what it’s all about.
So here’s the all-important crib sheet on the hottest video game of 2010. Just so you can seem cool in front of your kids.
Halo: Reach is the third game in Bungie/Microsoft’s truly amazing video game series called Halo. It is a classic “first person shooter” (which means you’re looking at lots of weapons, lots of military-style violence and all at a very fast, noisy pace.) It’s available only for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 … and it became available on Tuesday, September 14, after months of ancitipaction and build-up. It can’t be downloaded (at least not legally), so the reservation lists and lines at the game store are the longest anybody’s seen since … well, since the last part of Halo was released. (The other two parts, by the way, were Halo 2 and Halo ODST, the latter released well over a year ago.)
Halo is a science fiction game, set in the middle of a phenomenally detailed interstellar society in the twenty-fifth century that is embroiled in a devastating war between humans and an alien consortium called the Covenant. The main action takes place in a colony called Reach, and the main player is a kind of super-soldier named Noble 6, who is smack in the middle of the final assault by the Covenant. Think of him as the new recruit who suddenly finds himself at the Battle of the Alamo, except with lasers and big, ugly bugs.
There are actually three different editions of Halo: the standard game with the manual, a limited edition that includes a bag of artifacts and a set of in-game Elite armor, and the “Legendary Edition,” with all of the above and a couple of hours of developer commentary (like the bonus material on DVDs), more in-game armors and even a 10-pound statue of Noble 6.
The game — both Reach and the whole series — has received almost universal approval even by hypercrtical gamers. Some cable networks and web sites even held day-long “countdowns” that ended at midnight last night, when the game finally became available. This is a big, big deal for FPS gamer-types.
So if you hear terms like “Halo,” “Covenant,” “Noble 6,” “Master Chief” (the legendary hero of earlier Halo adventures), or “Carter-A259” (leader of Noble Team) … you’ll know what’s going on. And if your child has developed a sudden inability to leave the Xbox even for a few minutes this week … you’ll know why.
The most important thing you should know: the release of Halo: Reach is the greatest game event of the summer. It just happens to have come in the first week or two of the school year.
Check out more information about Halo: Reach here, at the IGN review.
Watch a making-of video with clips of actual game play here, on YouTube.