Please note the review is for the Legendary Edition bundle; not the game itself. I’ll put up a review of the campaign once I’m done with it.
INTRO: So what’s all this fuss about Halo?
For what I suspect would be a good number of Halo Reach day one adopters, the journey with the Halo universe began about 9 years ago when the original game was launched. Halo, arguably, defined console shooters and served notice that the PC platform wasn’t the only place to be if you were a serious FPS fan. Of course there was Time splitters and a number of other memorable first person shooters before Halo, but with Xbox Live—Microsoft’s trump card for its then nascent console offering—millions of users could, for the first time on a console, get immersed in the juggernaut that is now online multiplayer; a privilege only once enjoyed by PC gamers.
Once you finished the original Halo campaign, chances are you spent so much time in online multiplayer, that developers Bungie had all but guaranteed themselves a footprint in your memory; one which meant that every Halo game sequel, and—for the more hardcore—every piece of merchandise and media material, would pique your interest. I happen to fall into the “hardcore” category of Halo fan. I bought all three of the games; ditto ODST, even though I hardly class that as a “real” Halo IP; did I fall for the sucka punch of the Halo 3 legendary edition? yes, sadly. However, while the Halo 3 legendary edition and its “limitedness” is now something of a joke in gaming circles, I suspect that the Halo Reach Legendary Edition will remain a gem on many a gamer’s shelf for years to come. The reason for my suspicion is simple: the awesomeness of the Team Noble Diorama included in the bundle.
The purpose of this post, is to explore that diorama in detail.
PART 1: Unboxing the beast.
I got mine a day early and even though the package says not to deliver till 14th September (tomorrow), I’ll move swiftly on as I’m sure tens of thousands of gamers like me also got theirs early. This is just the way the industry works I guess; depending on which retailer you purchased from, you might get the bundle cheaper (£89.99) and early (by 24 hours) like I did; or you might get it for more (£149.99 on the evil bay; ouch!) and on launch day or perhaps even later.
When I heard the doorbell ring this morning I didn’t expect to get the Halo Reach Legendary edition; but I got lucky, and there it was. One signature, a broken ruler (to cut the tape), and a few minutes later, Halo Reach Legendary Edition laid unboxed in all its glory:
The box itself is reasonably heavy; I’d say around 5Kgs. It’s also right around the same size as Sideshow’s Legendary Scale Busts (no pun intended). In fact its almost identical in size to the Black Cat LSB I received late last week; though it’s a fair bit heavier.
PART 2: Team Noble
In all other Halo games, you played mostly solo; even in Halo 2, where you played as the Arbiter, you played either as him, or Masterchief, without teamwork being in that equation. In Halo Reach however, you are an elite Spartan—a Spartan II model, I believe—however, the campaign isn’t about you; it’s about an entire team of elite Spartans, called Team Noble. Team Noble is, to Halo Reach, what Masterchief is to the other Halo games.
Each member of Team Noble has his or her own distinct personality, armour and accessories, and you really get that feel when you look at the diorama; your eyes likely won’t see Team Noble as a motley group of soldiers, instead they are presented as a team of unique individuals that each deserves to be inspected—separate from the rest. Personally, I kept walking around the diorama (or turning it around) because every one of the characters there was badass in their own right and had me reaching out and inspecting the different parts of their armour. The range of accessories, patterns, and weapons on each of members armour is just incredible. Not something you expect to see in a diorama that costs a fraction of the price of Sideshow’s own pieces. McFarlene toys outdid themselves here—the Team Noble diorama is simply fantastic!
The diorama itself is about a kilogram or so and is made of what seems like PVC. The hand-painting shows and adds an additional layer of attention and detail you simply didn’t get with the Halo 3 legendary edition offering. This thing doesn’t just look badass, it feels expensive.
On the back you see a smooth wall with “Noble” and a couple inscriptions etched in; the etched in features are presentable enough to be showcased and suggest that the diorama, if possible, should be displayed in a 360 degree format (like on a pedestal that can be rotated or walked around)
PART 3: Weapons ready
You also get the team’s weapons in a separate sealed bag, as well as instructions to install them onto the diorama, as statues themselves are semi-articulated (mostly the hands and fingers). The weapons included are a shotgun, a sniper rifle, a Gatling gun, and a DMR scoped assault gun.
I didn’t really get to install all the weapons as I want to do that once I’ve put the rest of my statue collection on display! This is one of the pieces that I’ll get a glass pedestal installed for.
PART 3: Final thoughts.
There is no doubt that the bigger studios would love to get their hands on the Halo license; if that happens, we might start seeing some very impressive (and very expensive) Halo statues. Weta did that with Halo 3; Sideshow has already caught on the bandwagon as some smaller studios now sell a number of smaller Halo Reach pieces under its stables. However, at the moment, there is not a single Halo piece out there (in my opinion) that comes close to the depiction of Team Noble in McFarlane’s diorama.
This piece is very well detailed, well posed, well constructed, well painted, and well packaged. As a huge Halo fan, and an ardent collector of the highest quality comic and video game statues in production, I honestly couldn’t ask more from the package; and its all for £89.99!
If you are a real Halo fan that was already sold on the Halo Reach game itself, but was wondering whether or not to shell out to buy the extras included in Legendary edition, my advice to you is buy it; and buy it fast. Because I don’t see too many people letting go of theirs once they have them. Those than wait for these to fall in price down the line may well be disappointed—this most certainly won’t be Halo 3’s “cat helmet” all over again. And forget all the questionable “dioramas” from Kotobukiya studios; this, people, is the shit.
My final grade for the Legendary Edition bundle: A+