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The Play's the Thing

Even before Halo 3 arrived in stores on Tuesday, Microsoft, the game's publisher, had received advance orders for 1.7 million copies, and gamers are expected to snatch up more than four million copies in all this week. On the first day the game was released, Microsoft reported $170 million in sales, which the company boasted was a record-breaking number for a video game that also tops the biggest opening weekend of any blockbuster movie. Halo 3's commercial success is matched only by its critical acclaim. Most reviewers have given it near-perfect scores.

Yet some gamers already feel a familiar emptiness, a gnawing suspicion that once Halo 3's initial thrill wears off we will be left with a vague dissatisfaction, and once again we will ask ourselves, Is this really as good as video games can be?

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