HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 2
Noble Team complete: Carter, Kat and Jorge join the fray. GIVEAWAY inside!
One lucky winner will take home the entire set of 6 Square Enix Play Arts Kai Halo: Reach figures including the entire Noble Team - Jorge, Emile, Noble 6, Carter, Kat, and Jun - while six second prize winners will each take home 1 figure from the series. Giveaway ends on Friday, April 22.
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Where we last left off (see our review HERE), half of the super soldier squad known as Noble Team was struggling to fight back the invading Covenant forces. Lucky for them (and the human race), reinforcements have arrived. Please give a warm salute to Carter, Kat and Jorge; Square Enix's second assortment of Halo: Reach Play Arts Kai action figures.
Recently released in the U.S. priced at a SRP of $50 each, Halo: Reach Play Arts Kai Series 2 comes brilliantly packaged just like the first assortment. A large closed window box adorned with "splash damage" stylishly mimics the rugged feel of the game while still providing a clear view of the figure inside.
The figure is further represented on the side panels - which look great lined up if you're a MIP collector - and the back, the latter which shows off the character in dynamic action poses along with the rest of the assortment. The entire package is collector-friendly; the figure and its gear stowed inside on a reusable plastic tray. Simply slide it out and let the battle begin...
As covered in our first review, Play Arts Kai is a new 9 inch tall premium action figure scale. Highly detailed, accessorized and articulated, Kai is in a league all its own with a collectible size that, in my humble opinion, is absolutely perfect for display. Size aside, it's the nice and firm ratchet-like joints on a Kai figure that make playing with them an immense pleasure. Twisting, turning and *clicking* for amazing, solid poses has never been more fun.
Let us take a closer look at the characters that make up this Kai series starting with Chief Warrant Officer Jorge-052 - the hulking powerhouse of Noble Team and my favorite Spartan of the squad. It's all about his modified M247H Heavy Machine Gun, a devastating machine gun typically mounted stationary or on a vehicle. The fact that Jorge carries it around like a puny rifle just screams badass, like the minigun-toting Arnold Schwarzenegger in T2 or Jesse Ventura and his "Old Faithful" in Predator. I'm also a huge fan of Jorge's MJOLNIR Mark IV Grenadier helmet and customized armor. The color scheme is bold and in your face while the heavy-duty shoulder guards - Grenadier for the left shoulder, EVA for the right - show that Jorge isn't afraid to get in the thick of it. He's also got a frag grenade in case the going gets tough.
It goes without saying that Square Enix captured Jorge's cool look with incredible detail. The sculpt works very well, despite early fan concerns that the Kai body was too scrawny for Jorge's massive build. It all boils down to how you display him. If you have Jorge simply standing there with arms at his side, then yes, some of Kai's framework does come through. The thing is, who's going to pose him like that? With his Heavy Machine Gun firmly gripped with both hands, Jorge's appearance is tank-like meaty. It's also worth noting that Jorge stands a good half inch taller than the rest of Noble Team, another concern fans had that can be laid to rest. He's big, like in the game, and the figure has some serious heft to it. My only complaint is that my particular figure had loose leg connections at the thighs; a ball joint that "pops" into a socket. Luckily I remembered a handy toy trick: work a small amount of superglue into the joint, all while moving the joint slowly back and fourth so the glue doesn't set. Once in place, you should have a nice, firm connection. This appears to be a random production mishap as my friends have had zero issues with Jorge. Still, it is something I hope Square Enix addresses with tighter quality control. As a premium series, Kai should be perfect or close to it.
And perfect the rest of Halo: Reach Kai Series 2 is! Aside from Jorge's weak legs (hey, carrying a huge gun can wreak havoc on the knees!), Carter and Kat came out stunning. Commander Carter-A259, as his name implies, is the fearless leader of Noble Team. The coolest trait about Carter is his MJOLNIR Commando armor, particularly his helmet. It's a super slick design that reminds me of an ace fighter jet pilot. Tactical doodads on his chest, wrist and lower back enhance his armored look, while the series debut of the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle shows this soldier has skill. Accurate and deadly, the DMR is a players best friend and it looks awesome in toy form - especially in this scale. Carter also carries a grenade for quick crowd dispersal.
Carter's rank and UNSC loyalty further come through in his patriotic color scheme. A dark navy blue, Carter's armor is embellished with a slew of logos including the military crest on his right shoulder guard and the pop of red and white on his chest. Like the three figures in Halo: Reach Play Arts Kai Series 1, Carter features a combat knife on his front armor that can actually be removed. While it looks killer sheathed, I find its scale a tad too small for my liking in his hands. Still, great to see Square Enix include all the bells and whistles.
Lastly we come to Lieutenant Commander Catherine-B320, better known as Kat, the first female Spartan seen in the Halo franchise. I'll be right up front: I didn't expect Kat to be that great of a figure given her smaller proportions and lighter attire. Boy was I wrong; she's an absolute blast to play around with. Everything about Kat is streamlined, the less being more in terms of freedom of movement. Posing Kat firing her M6G Magnum Sidearm two-handed never looked so cool.
Kat's robotic right arm is also a real showstopper in this scale. The thin bionic appendage is rendered in great detail, Square Enix even adding flexible wiring, something absent on the smaller McFarlane figure. To make up for her smaller size, Kat also includes an additional weapon: a bonus MA5 Assault Rifle as seen with Series 1's Noble Six. Along with a frag grenade, Kat packs "grrl power" with the largest arsenal of the group.
However, as Halo: Reach demonstrates, weapons are meant to be shared! With all six characters in your collection, mixing and matching firearms becomes an experiment in fun. Kat with Jorge's big honkin' machine gun? No problem! Jorge with Kat's pea shooter? He may disagree, but it can be done.
It took awhile to get here, but finally all of Noble Team is together in fantastic Play Arts Kai form. The Covenant forces don't stand a chance. Square Enix has done Halo fanboys right with what is without a doubt the coolest collection of Spartan action figures made. While far from cheap, these $50 collectibles pack alot a value - worth every single cent - and I'm saying that with my obvious bias for the license in check. Pick one up and I dare you to prove me otherwise. Heck, I dare you to stop at just one... collecting all of Noble Team is one mission you will want to see through until the end.
Square Enix's Halo:Reach Play Arts Kai Series 2 is IN-STOCK now at Square Enix's Online Store, BigBadToyStore.com and ToyWiz.com.
Better yet, enter our Square Enix Halo: Reach Play Arts Kai Giveaway for a chance to win all six! One lucky winner will take home the entire set of 6 Square Enix Play Arts Kai Halo: Reach figures including the entire Noble Team - Jorge, Emile, Noble 6, Carter, Kat, and Jun - while six second prize winners will each take home 1 figure from the series. Giveaway ends on Friday, April 22. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Samples Courtesy of Square Enix