If nothing else, Halo: Reach certainly had a reputation to live up to. The fourth installment in the definitive Xbox series made over $200 million within 24 hours of its September 14 release, thanks in part to extensive public beta testing that recruited 2.7 million gamers. So how do Reach's merits stack up from a critical perspective?
While more than a couple of reviewers felt that Reach wasn't quite the series' best - reserving that honor for 2007's Halo 3 - the game remains top quality, unequivocally impressive in its accomplishments.
The single-player was generally considered to be the game's weakest aspect, with noble efforts made in filling the series' plot holes found detrimental to Reach's new cast of characters.
When it comes down to brass tacks - shooting aliens in the face - Reach shines. The clever artificial intelligence of 2002's original Halo returns once again, though there's no doubt that Reach offers most to those that seek online multiplayer fun.
In that respect it's appropriate that the series responsible for selling Microsoft's online subscription to the masses is strongest when played over the web. Hugely customizable in terms of match preferences and map configuration, it's the multiplayer feature set that will give Reach longevity.
Halo Reach (360)
Release: September 14.
Age Rating: Mature (North America) / 16 (PEGI Europe) / 18 (Germany) / MA 15+ (Australia)
Gameblog (French): 5/5 "Sets a very high standard for others to follow"
1UP: A+ " Reach is the Halo that I absolutely love"
C&VG: 9.2/10 "Never has you doing the same thing for too long"
Eurogamer: 9/10 "An encore, a victory lap, a crowd-pleasing last hurrah"
Edge: 9/10 "A fine conclusion to Bungie's stewardship of the series"
Worth Playing 8.5/10 " Reach is fun, but it doesn't provide the same kick [as Halo]"
GamesTM: 9/10 "In conveying the intense cut-and-thrust of battle, Reach is the series' pinnacle"
USA Today: "All about allowing players more than ever to personalize their Halo experience"
Games Radar: 8/10 "The campaign is 'good'. And the multiplayer is 'awesome'"
Wired: 8/10 "Brims with features that few other console games deliver"
The Onion AV Club: B- "the least personal Halo [setting] to date, and by extension, the least interesting"
Price: $59.99 / €69.99
Limited Collector's Edition: $79.99 / €79.99
Legendary Edition: $149.99 / €134.99