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Thanks to my unexpected voice acting cameo in Halo 3, Microsoft sent me an early copy of the game, which just arrived today via DHL. So needless to say, that was the afternoon. We haven’t had so much fun since, well, Halo 2. Cooperative mode, which was already the best father/kid bonding experience in the world in the previous versions, is even better now that one person plays Master Chief and the other plays the Arbiter. The graphics are amazing, the sets and vistas breathtaking, the vehicles more varied and the weapons…well, there’s a huge mace thing called a Gravhammer that’s worth the price of the game itself. BOOM!
The game’s rated M for Mature, but my view on figuring out what’s appropriate for kids is that the rating isn’t that helpful. It depends on the game and the kid. In the case of Halo, where the enemies are aliens, the blood blue and the setting hundreds of years into the future, I don’t think we’re running the risk of promoting realistic violence. This is very much in fantasy mode, closer to the Power Rangers than Grand Theft Auto. So we played it today with kids aged 7-10 and the only reason I think it’s better for 10 and up is that you need to really be pretty good at first-person shooter videogames on consoles to master it.
Anyway, you’ll read plenty of reviews of this game over the next few days, but I wanted to be the first to look at from a GeekDad perspective. And I’m delighted to report that it is every bit as good as anticipated. Game of the Year, hands down.