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News from the Playbox
One Halo of a Month
...and There's Way More Going On

Wow. Is it really September already? Apparently so. Well, that’s good news for Halo fans, because that means the long wait for Bungie’s big farewell to the Halo franchise is finally here. Yup, Halo: Reach is (supposedly) Bungie’s last Halo game. They’ve moved on to a partnership with Activision, so if there are to be any more Halo games (and come on, with the money they make, you know there will be) Microsoft will have to turn to someone else to make them. Meanwhile, fans get a chance to go back to the beginning of the franchise even as Bungie comes to an end with it. Halo: Reach takes place before the first Halo game and tells a story most fans already know. Just what kind of experience will it be playing through a story where we all know it ends badly? We’re working on that answer, so look for our full Halo: Reach review very soon. 

Of course most people will be more concerned with the multi-player aspects of the game, which admittedly look pretty cool (uh, jet packs are awesome). We’ll also have plenty of coverage of what to expect in the multi-player as we share stories in a new feature called Halo: Reach War Diaries. I have a little more experience playing shooters online then I did way back when Halo 3 arrived, but will I do any better in the Halo-verse? There’s only one way to find out.

Although it may seem like it sometimes, Halo isn’t the only game releasing this month. In fact, September is packed full of new releases, and while they might not be quite as big as Halo, they still want to make their presence known.

If you’re interested in a more tactical approach to warfare, Ubisoft’s R.U.S.E. may fit the bill just right. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a sequel to End War instead of an all-new RTS from Ubisoft, but this game has some intriguing elements all its own. To win you not only need to have superior strategy, but you need to make good use of deceptive tactics (Ruse’s, as it were) while trying to guess what the enemy is up to. We’re excited to get our hands on this one, so look for our review in the coming weeks (just as soon as we get our GameFly copy).

Or if you’d like a bird’s eye view of war, take to the skies once again in H.A.W.X. 2. (Why all these war games are acronymic names is beyond me). This time around you’ll have more airplanes, more missions, and more weapons at your disposal. You’ll even get to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Actually, truth be told, the demo left us a little underwhelmed, but we had so much fun with the first game, we’ll give HAWX 2 a chance to prove that it’s more than just more of the same with a new paint job.

Spider-Man takes another stab at redeeming his videogame legacy with Shattered Dimensions. This time you don’t play as just one, but as four different Spider-Men in four different dimensions. This opens up some intriguing possibilities, but like so many super heroes, Spider-Man has a hard time living up to his full potential in the gaming world. We’ll see if it turns out any differently for him this time.

And if all of that isn’t enough, we’ll also try to squeeze in some time for Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a colorful, vibrant looking platformer based on the popular animated show. We’ll also try and see what happens when The Lord of the Rings franchise goes kiddie with Aragorn’s Quest. Of course all of that assumes that we aren’t spending too much time getting pwned in Halo: Reach. And that’s just the beginning of gaming’s busiest season. October and November promise even more gaming goodness to enjoy, so get ready to spend a whole lot of time in front of the TV.

For all of you PS3 fans, Mike is working on getting his hands on a Move controller. Hopefully this month we’ll be able to let you know if it’s anything more than just “Wii HD.” Also, don’t miss some of his recent PS3 reviews, including Uncharted 2 and Lost Planet 2.

Speaking of motion controls, I know many of you probably have questions about Kinect for the Xbox 360. Truth be told, so do we. However, it is $150 bucks, so no guarantees on us getting our hands on it anytime soon. When we do, however, we’ll let you know how it measures up to the others.

Also don’t forget to keep with WWTD. We’re following the Denver Broncos this season with Madden 11, but we’re trying to find out what might happen if Tim Tebow were starting. Can virtual Tebow put up better numbers than real Orton? Is Madden 11 realistic enough to predict how the Broncos might do if Tebow was the starter? That’s what we’re aiming to find out each and every week now that the NFL season is officially under way.

Well, that’s it (as if it weren’t enough) this month from the Playbox. Game on, everyone… game on.

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