It's easy to think of Halo: Reach and yawn, imagining yet another Halo game using the same old Halo formula and the same old Halo tech. Listen to Bungie detail Halo: Reach, though, and your optimism may come sneaking back.

Reach is the cover feature in the latest issue of Game Informer, and the piece inside gives us our first real look at Bungie's next "proper" Halo title.

Probably most interesting, to me at least, was the revelation that Bungie's engine - which by ODST had started showing signs of ageing - has been massively overhauled, with big increases in not only the level of fidelity on display, but in the number of enemies and objects that can be on screen at any one time.

This means much bigger fights than you've ever seen in a Halo game, and these major engagements will form many of the game's key moments.

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Another key piece of information is that in many areas the game's been stripped back, to bring it more into line with the original Halo, to which this title is serving as a prequel.

The shield/health system from Halo 1 is back, and both spiked and flame grenades have been removed from the game. Equipment has also been simplified, with a single slot created for power-ups that be swapped in and out like a third weapon.

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One final thing that was buried in the article: the facial animation for all the game's characters has been outsourced to Image Metrics, the company behind that amazing "Emily" clip from a few years back. So expect a raised eyebrow or two.

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[Game Informer February 2010]