Halo is what Microsoft couldn't have dared hope for - a run away, sell consoles by the bucketload, super success. Its combination of cutting edge gameplay and killer graphics sold more Xbox consoles than any other game, and it is still the only "must have!!" title available. It has sold millions of copies and Microsoft can reasonably expect to sell millions more - the franchise is even set to expand, with details now trickling out about the imaginatively named sequel, Halo 2. But Halo 2 is not exactly gonna make it by Christmas - chances are good we won't even see it by next Christmas! Gamers don't exactly sit around waiting, even with something as good as Halo to keep them company.

Up steps Brute Force.

While Brute Force isn't an FPS (opting instead for a third person perspective), its hardout action and impressive array of weapons combine with dazzling special effects to create that same "wow!" reaction in gamers. In addition to your standard shooter gameplay, Brute Force adds something that was definitely lacking in Halo - AI squad members.

This isn't a solo mission, you aren't alone out there. You are part of a team and if you want to survive, you better figure out how to leverage that to your advantage. You can replace your 3 squad members with real people too, if you have that many friends, for co-op gameplay. Like Halo, this should prove to be a huge boost to popularity - there's nothing quite like blaming the guy right next to you for your recent untimely demise!

The co-op multiplayer mode takes a new and exciting look at how games are played. Playing along single player and a mate pops over? Without even pausing the game, they can pick up (or plug in) a controller and enter the fray - just like that! No need to create a special game or exit out of your current scenario, just whack start and in you get!

Developed by Digital Anvil (a Microsoft company) and published by Microsoft, Brute Force is expected to make it to PAL territories in early 2003. We'll have our more in-depth preview closer to release.