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Violent encounters: It’s no secret that Master Chief is a zero nonsense, one-man killing machine. I had little problem with spilling the multicolored fluids of the Covenant and Promethean factions.

Still, I can’t get used to killing those cuddly Grunts (more lifelike than ever), who just follow orders to their death. Watching a Grunt covering his eyes so he thinks he’s hiding from me was outright sad.

As always, Master Chief has a health shields that degrades as he is fired upon and once exhausted, he will fall like a rag doll and temporarily die — and in my case, often.

Read all about it: Marvel Entertainment gave fans an origin overview of the Master Chief by adapting Eric Nylund’s popular novel with the four-issue, sequential-art series Halo: Fall of Reach. The trade paperback ($16.99) compiles the series from 2010 and features the slick artwork of Felix Ruiz.

Pixel-popping scale: 8.8 out of 10. Even with the overtly familiar Halo design elements slathering every corner of the screen, 343 Industries manages to deliver a fresh-looking and surprisingly pretty Halo game, maybe the best eye candy in the franchise’s history.

Overall, Master Chief fights in a breathtaking, active world with multicolored caverns, intense fire effects, vines that gently hang above dense forests, mist that accumulates over a waterfall, and he uses weapons that each load in a unique way with some even venting steam.

I was especially thrilled with the animations of character models such as a Promethean Knight reacting to a plasma grenade stuck on its leg and the beauty of the cut scenes, especially the introduction of Master Chief’s prime adversary the Didact, a guy with the hubris of a Star Trek villain.

Star power: The musical score deserves recognition as it helps keep a player very aware of his plight and impending dangers. Musician Neil Davidge delivers the goods with a somber compositions that reminded me of Battlestar Galactica and The Terminator.

Extras and Unlockables: Waypoint, the online social hub of Halo, continues and provides a one-stop learning shop for a comprehensive look at the mythology.

Its interface overloads with videos, text and photos exploring topics including ships, key events, technology, species, toys and games tied to the Halo universe.

Players also get a painstakingly-detailed breakdown of their accomplishments in screens that deliver enough data to make a statisticians head explode.

Multiplayer: Besides on up to four-player, co-operative campaign, the core of the Halo experience has always been tied to its multitude of online battles and 343 Industries overloads with options.

It’s Infinity concept incorporates living the life of a Spartan IV aboard a massive UNSC vessel with two levels of multiplayer action to keep players sucking the Mountain Dew for extended play sessions.

First, newly created Spartans get the more traditional training in War Games presenting nine game types with 10 maps to fight upon for up to 16 players.

It’s everything from death matches to capture the flag to Regicide (one player is king, can he stay alive?) and Oddball (which team can hold the skull the longest) to fighting the Flood (with the imminent possibility of turning into one). War Games is complete with customized weapons loadouts, support extras, armor mods and plenty of ways to increase experience and collect Spartan Points to upgrade stuff.

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