If science fiction has one problem it's that it
often lacks originality. There's always some kind of government collusion with a
hostile alien race to explode Earth afoot. It make sense though because science
fiction often works with understandable allegories and the idea that it may one
day be made into a movie, TV show or game, so they wind up copying each other.
Halo 2 does not escape this in more
than one but the most readily evident to me is that the Covenant Elite's
acquired their "unique" jaw lines from Red Dwarf's skutter robots.
Be that as it may, the action figure version of the Arbiter -- is a great
translation of the source material into plastic. All the better to "To seek
redemption for his crimes and sins, he must don the armor of
Arbiter - the violent instrument of the Covenant's wrath. Following a tradition
thousands of years old, The Arbiter is given the authority to do whatever he is
tasked with, but at a terrible price. He must obey the whims of the Prophets
until death redeems him."
The major problem with the Arbiter is poor articulation in his neck. There is a
seam joint at the top of the neck and somewhat operational hinge joint at the
base of the neck, which offers a bit of up/down motion. It's definitely a good
try but it needs more mobility in the neck. (In comparison to the rest of the
way the figure comes together it's a relatively minor problem.
The Arbiter stands in relative proportion to the rest of the "regular"-sized
Halo (1 and 2) figures. He features 18 points of articulation and a majority of
them can be put to use to keep the figure "fresh" (i.e. a variety of poses are
available). He has less mobility in his legs, but the trade-off is that he's
stable and easy to keep standing.
The streamlined armor features a lot of the detail found on his game counterpart
and the overall sculpting of the figure is very good. The inside of his mouth
(though not really visible) lacks any interior detail, besides the teeth. The
weapons that come packed with the Arbiter are as detailed as what has come
before in the Halo and Halo 2 lines. The Covenant combine and the energy sword
look good -- the sword is made of frosted-white plastic -- and both fit easily
in either hand. Aping the Simpsons line (from Playmates) the accessories are
cross-figure compatible, which means many of the accessories can be used but the
other figures. As a practicality this comes in handy if you lose and accessory
-- there's always something to replace it.
Acting as a "ying" to Master Chief's "yang", it's a given that the Arbiters will
land on the front lines of hardcore action figure play sessions. Although the
game puts the Arbiter in a quasi-protagonist role, as an action figure he's
clearly a bad guy. He fits right in with the rest of the Halo 2 series and he's
poseable and durable enough to keep up with Master Chief -- lots of play and
diorama options. Parents should be wary of the energy sword because it's
extremely pointy -- there's the possibility of puncture or eye damage.
Joyride hasn't made many missteps with the Halo license and the Arbiter sure
isn't one of them. (Take a look at the Hunter to see what I mean by misstep.)
It's a great mix of action figure functionality and adherence to the source
material. Good stuff.