Publisher: 343 Industries
Release Date:  Nov. 2, 2012
Medium: Internet Mini-Series (YouTube)
Length: 5 Episodes at ~30 minutes each
Rating: 4.5/5

Halo 4‘s critically acclaimed live action series Forward Unto Dawn has come to a close, bringing with it a new age blend of movies and gaming. Gamers around the world tuned in adamantly to each episode, and were excited to see their Spartan hero come to life right before there eyes, kicking Covie ass and saving the last of Corbulo’s Hastati team in the process.

Hasai Squad

Hastati Squad at the very beginning of Forward Unto Dawn.

Forward Unto Dawn chronicles the events that take place in the lives of a team of cadets that make up Hastati squad, a team of new recruits training to be soldiers at UNSC’s Corbulo Academy of Military Science. While the first few episodes start off slow and introduce us to the many characters and their personalities, all hell breaks loose when the Covenant make an appearance and start wreaking havoc and killing everyone on the planet.

The Spartans are sent in–up until now no one has seen or heard of the Spartans, as the time period predates both Covenant contact and knowledge of the SPARTAN-II program–to find and save survivors as well as do what they do best: destroy and wreak havoc of their own.

What makes Forward Unto Dawn most interesting, in my opinion, is that gamers are introduced to the UNSC’s first war between its fractured self: the Insurrectionists (or “Innies”) have broken away from the galactic federation and have started a rebellion, using terror tactics to attack UNSC-held colonies and metropolitan areas. The UNSC responds by declaring war on the Insurrectionists, and it takes the daunting cruelty of the alien Covenant to unite the split factions, or face total annihilation.

Spartan 117

The Spartan survivor himself makes his on-screen debut in Forward Unto Dawn.

The best part of this live-action YouTube series is seeing Master Chief in all of his glory, reigning tall and taking charge. He exudes authority and instantly captures the screen, making gamers sit on their edge of their seat as they marvel in the Spartan’s grace and fluidity in combat. As always, Master Chief is thrown into an impossible situation, and with Lasky’s courage–and blatant stupidity–they come out victorious against a pair of Hunters.

Halo Hunters

The behemoth and fear-inspiring Hunters make an appearance.

The main character, Cadet Lasky, has to face turmoil and emotional loss as the Covenant not only destroy just about everyone he’s ever known and grown with during his time as a cadet, but the story also goes full circle as Master Chief saves him from Corbulo…but Lasky actually ends up saving Master Chief at the end of the series by responding to his distress call.

All in all, Forward Unto Dawn is a mix of drama and action, showing the true terror that the Covenant inspired and the casualties they inflicted during an invasion. Corbulo is just one of the many thousand planets and colonies that the alien brotherhood has ruined and destroyed during the long Human-Covenant War.

The mini-series breathes life into the Halo universe, and for the first time since the Halo Landfall series, gamers get to see one of their favorite franchises come to life right before their eyes. Forward Unto Dawn has it all: drama, action, suspense, humor and delivers an impressively enjoyable experience for any gamer–or non-gamer–out there. It’s signature blend of gaming sensibilities with motion film qualities makes it a unique specimen, and is a huge step from the Halo 3 live-action commercials of yester-year.

Kelly Without her Helmet

A Spartan shows their face for the first time.

And one thing that Forward Unto Dawn does best is ignite your desire to play Halo, especially after being somewhat intimately introduced to Blue Team’s Fred and Kelly as they take off their helmets for the first time and expose their faces…a true jaw-dropping moment for Halo geeks everywhere.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is available on Blu-Ray and DVD  you can pick up your copy today. This is right in time for the holidays and will surely make a great present for the Halo fan in your life.