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Inside the Halo Reach Collector's Edition box

The impressively produced documents inside the Halo Reach Collector's Edition just might be worth the extra $20.

Halo: Reach Collector's Edition: worth the extra cash?
Scott Stein/CNET

We're not huge fans of "collector's edition" game boxes, truth be told. More often than not, the extras included just seem silly. It's to our great surprise, then, that we unwrapped the monolithic box of the $80 Halo: Reach Collector's Edition, the deluxe version of the imminent Xbox 360 prequel, and found items inside that were actually both beautifully produced and fun to explore.

You won't find action figures or extra DVDs here--statues and helmets are reserved for the $150 Halo: Reach Legendary Edition. Instead, you'll get the core of what's also included in that edition--namely, the box. Inside is the game, of course, but also a mysterious bubble-wrapped book with a note. It's a diary, but also a lot more, with a level of detail that reminds us of exploring the old video game Myst. There's also a DLC code for special Elite multiplayer armor.

Considering that the Collector's Edition costs $20 more than the regular game, you can consider the art/artifact book a $20 item. Is it worth it? Actually, I'm not even that big a Halo fan, and I think it is.

Check out the pictures and see for yourself. Halo: Reach arrives in stores tomorrow. For once, we might have actually seen a collector's edition that has better-made swag than the already impressive press kit.