First Impressions – Halo: Reach
Halo: Reach - out today - is to be the last Halo game made by Bungie, the game studio that created the series.
And what a way to go out. After last year's introverted Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach is an extroverted and bombastic end to the Bungie years.
In many ways it's a 'best of Halo' - focused exclusively on the epic battles against the Covenant alien forces that made the series so popular (the Flood are noticeable by their absence).
The solo campaign is a prequel to the first Halo game. It tells the story of how the human-populated planet of Reach was invaded by the Covenant and building up to the events in Halo: Combat Evolved.
And it's great. Yes it does stick to the Halo formula and offers little in the way of innovation, but when your formula is this good why stray from the template?
Then there’s the multiplayer options, the culmination of Bungie's efforts to create the ultimate online gaming experience. With so many options to choose from, there's little doubt people will still be playing Halo: Reach long after completing the solo missions.
A triumphant exit for Bungie then and a reminder to the studio that will inherit the series of just how high a bar they will need to reach.