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Five Things You Need to Know About “Halo: Reach”

Five Things You Need to Know About “Halo: Reach” (photo)

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Today’s the day millions of hardcore gaming fans have been waiting for. “Halo: Reach”–the newest installment of the Xbox 360’s multi-billion dollar sci-fi franchise–hits store shelves today. Except for the strategy spin-off “Halo Wars,” the “Halo” games have been exclusively produced by development studio Bungie. Not only does Reach end a three-year wait since Halo 3–the last tentpole Halo game–came out, it also marks the end of Bungie’s relationship with the series they created. Microsoft’s holding onto the rights for the franchise and recently created 343 Industries, a new division of Microsoft Game Studios, to handle any and all things related to “Halo” moving forward. Meanwhile, Bungie will be will be working on an all-new property in partnership with Activision which will appear on multiple platforms, and not just the Xbox 360.

If you’re feeling under-prepared for the latest wave of Halo-mania, here’s what you basically need to know:

Master Chief Isn’t In This One
The emerald-armored and gold-visored hero of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3 doesn’t show up to say good-bye. Even though he’s essentially become the mascot of all of the Xbox consoles since Microsoft started making them, Bungie opted to bow out with a prequel that takes place on Reach, the planet where the series’ Spartan super soldiers got their start.

This Means War
Each “Halo” title has pitted players against the marauding alien collective known as the Covenant. But, more than any other game in the series, “Reach” feels like you’ve been embedded in a massive conflict. Even after the cutscenes showing the sprawling battles stop rolling, the amount of sheer on-screen chaos during gameplay sequences is enough to make you shellshocked.

“Reach” Offers More Than Just Run-and-Gun Action
Previous “Halo” experiences didn’t do much more than cycle a bunch of awesome weapons through your hands and point you towards an objective. There was some strategy but mostly it involved peeking out from cover and learning enemy engagement patterns. “Reach,” however, features all-new skills called Armor Abilities, which let you turn invisible, drop a holographic decoy or soar through the sky with a jetpack. Combined with levels that sport an openness new to the series, the changes make players feel powerful like never before.

Still, You’re Going to Lose
The Fall of Reach is a monumental but never-before-seen event in the series’ lore. Hardcore fans know that the outcome of the game’s conflict against the Covenant won’t turn out in humanity’s favor. The tone of finality that marches through the game makes the action all the more effective and resonant.

Yet, It’s the Best “Halo” So Far
You play as part of the Noble Team squad in “Reach” and their camaraderie makes the game’s narrative more affecting than the lonely solo journeys of games past. The story-telling’s more assured, the gameplay more varied and the multiplayer more chaotic than anything else Bungie’s ever produced. It’s quicker, leaner and boasts a great ending, too.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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