When Xbox first launched back in 2001 there was really only one reason to buy it, Halo.
Yes, Xbox had great graphics, a hard drive to save game levels, the promise of internet multi player gaming, ports for four controllers but what it really had over any Playstation, Nintendo or Sega (they were still around back then) was Halo and the Master-chief. The futuristic battle saga was really so far ahead of anything out in the market at the time, with superior graphics, game play and story line it was the "killer app" that drove initial sales and made Halo the corner stone of the Xbox platform. Every platform launch has had and needed that one game to differentiate its self from all others. For Xbox it was a remains today to be Halo.
Fast forward to present day and Halo has had it's list of sequels Halo 2 also for the original Xbox, Halo 3 for Xbox360 which really never took advantage of the power of the Xbox360 but does a great job of taking advantage of all the features of the platform. Halo 3 has had its own set of releases as well. An attempt to keep the franchise going in between the very long development cycle... which brings us to Halo Reach.
Well the wait is finally over on Sept 14th what is sure to be touted as the largest first day sales of any movie, album or video game (due mainly to the industry practice of pre-sales) in history.
Halo Reach is by far the most ambitious game in the franchise and will no doubt re-invigerate the platform for the holiday season. Game play and graphics will set the bar for all other games to follow. As an avid gamer, I am excited. As a dad of small children, not so much.
As I have stated before, I just can't see any positive value in allowing my 5 or 7 year old to frag aliens, or get killed in battle, especially with the near photo realism of Halo Reach. Great for age appropriate teens and adults but not for the young ones. In fact I will guarantee nightmares for any child that even watches the game on screen. Would you let your child watch an R rated battle or gun scene in a Movie? Then why let them play or watch Halo Reach?
I am on the fence with my 11 year old. Maybe we'll let him play the occasional multi- player session against his friends but I am even concerned with the impact these graphics will have on him if played in solo mode. Maybe over time - we will have to see.
And for multi-player mode we always restrict play to friends only - the language on those headsets is much too adult for most ears! Yes they can play without the headsets and it's still a lot of fun but sound is a big part of the game, the score, the sound effects, all fantastic, all part of the experience.
Let me reiterate - Halo Reach will be jaw dropping visually, Heart pumping yell at the screen fun - but it will also be so realistic visually that it will for sure be an "after the kids are asleep" game in our house.
Dad said it's OK - to play when you're older