If there’s one thing I can’t stand in the video game world, is the current influx of “realistic military shooters”. I can’t explain why, but they just bug me. They all feel like the same game in a different package. It’s just soldiers versus more soldiers. It feels like if you want a first-person shooter with zombies or robots or aliens, you have to go with either the Halo series or Half Life series… and only one of those is getting new games at regular intervals… Still, the one that IS getting frequent games has some pretty cool-looking aliens, especially the ones you can play as.
First introduced in Halo 2 (to a certain degree), the Elite Ranger is the Covenant’s jetpack trooper. These are the guys you’ll see harassing you in Firefight games or guarding Zero-G sections of Covenant Battlecruisers. I’ll have to say they’re one of my favorite armors for the Elites, if only because it looks so different from the regular armors. I like the lack of exposed mandibles. One would have to wonder why a warrior race would leave their mouth so exposed in their armor…
Appropriately, the new mold for the Elite towers over the Spartans. It’s big and heavy and the blister certainly reflects that. I really like that McFarlane managed to keep all of these figures at the same price point, even if it means paying the same for a Brute as you would a Grunt. However, I’m not entirely sure I like the new Elite mold more than the one from Halo 3. While the hands are much, MUCH more manageable, they really falter when it comes to the legs. The lack of a ball joint in the hips combined with the construction of the feet make them sort of difficult to stand properly, and the added weight of the torso doesn’t help much, either.
I love the design of the Elite Ranger’s helmet. The mask is translucent but almost opaque, so at a distance it looks like you can’t see his face, just like in the game. However, I think the mask is glued in, so you can’t really get a good look at his face.
One thing that I was surprised that the figure included was a jetpack. I figured it was going to be a case of the Air Assault Spartan where you had to buy the jetpack separately. The Elite Ranger actually has a specialized backpack included with only this figure. I like it more than the regular Elite Jetpack because it feels more natural on his body—heck, I didn’t even notice it until I opened the package!
Weapons include a plasma grenade (of course) and the ever-irritating Focus Rifle. Getting the focus rifle into his hands is a bit tough at first since it might require the use of some warm water or a hairdryer. I can’t get it completely into his hands, but it stays. Still, it looks pretty cool, and he can hold it well enough in both hands. One has to wonder how a human would hold this weapon, however…
I can’t say I’m disappointed by my first foray into Reach’s Covenant figures. He’s cool, but not perfect. I do recommend him, as he’s probably the coolest Covenant variant on the market currently. Halo figures average at about $15 at FP, so if you want yours don’t hesitate—this guy’s proving to be popular!