September 14, 2010

Highly Anticipated ‘Halo: Reach’ Launches

The latest entry in the massively popular Halo video game series, Halo: Reach for the Microsoft Xbox 360, hit store shelves in more than two dozen countries early Tuesday morning, with thousands of retailers around the world reportedly opening their doors shortly after midnight to greet those eager to purchase their copy of the highly anticipated prequel.

According to PC World, Halo publisher Microsoft held launch events at several locations, including the Best Buy Theater in New York's Times Square, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, the Westfield Shopping Center in London, the Spaceworld Megastore in Oslo, Norway, and the Webhallen in Stockholm, Sweden.

There are three editions of the game: a $59.99 standard edition, a $79.99 limited edition, and a $149.99 legendary edition that includes hand-painted statuettes of in-game characters.

According to Reuters, the three previous games in the Halo series have combined for over 34 million units sold worldwide over a nine year span, and 2.7 million people participated in a beta-test of the title back in May. Based on those figures, analysts expect Reach to not only sell well, but also to give Microsoft's gaming system a sales boost as well.

"If hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when Halo 3 was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware," Anita Frazier, an analyst at NPD, told Reuters. "We can expect big numbers to be reported with September results."

"Halo is the biggest video game series in history and as a pop culture icon it's been called the 'Star Wars' for the joypad generation,' Stephen McGill, Microsoft's Director of Xbox and Entertainment in the UK & Ireland, told the Daily Mail during a launch event shortly after midnight Tuesday. "Halo: Reach is the biggest and best Halo game yet with new features that will keep gamers entertained for years to come."

McGill wasn't the only one drawing comparisons between Halo and Star Wars.

Thierry Nguyen, a game reviewer with the website 1up.com, said that game developer Bungie Studios--who will cease working on the series following this installment--"has managed to do something that eluded George Lucas years ago: create a prequel to a beloved sci-fi series that not only simply works, but is at times better than the installments it precedes."

"After spending ten hours with the campaign, and another eight or so with the multiplayer, it's already clear that"¦ the developers at Bungie have crafted a fine sendoff in Halo: Reach," he added.

As of 8:00am Central Time Tuesday, Halo: Reach had a score of 92 out of 100 on Metacritic, a website that compiles and collates review scores from various print and online media sources.


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