Monday, September 24, 2007

"Halo 3" wins high marks from reviewers

"Halo 3", the highly anticipated video game from Microsoft, won high praise on Sunday from game reviewers who gushed over the lush settings, cinematic feel and array of multiplayer features.

The game, the final chapter of a trilogy that began in 2001 with the launch of Microsoft's original Xbox, is a key part of the company's strategy to take a bigger share of the console gaming market from Sony.

Gaming news Web site GameSpy gave "Halo 3" five stars, its highest ranking, saying it was so good that it was worth buying an Xbox 360 just to play it. The Xbox 360 costs $280 to $450 (138 pounds to 222 pounds), depending on features.

"Quite simply, 'Halo 3' is the reason the Xbox 360 exists," GameSpy said.

Since "Halo 3" is the game industry equivalent of a new "Harry Potter" book or "Star Wars" movie, few expected it to be a flop. Specialty gaming retail chain GameStop Corp said the title set a record for advance orders while Microsoft has said it expects initial demand to surpass that for 2004's "Halo 2", which racked up $125 million in its first 24 hours.

The game is set to go on sale on September 25.

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