Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Review!
Overview:Systems: XBOX 360
Pros:Scouring for terminals scattered about the Halo ring proved to be rewarding, discovering installation history.
Cons:Running through certain levels on campaign became annoying, reptitively backtracking through identical hallways and rooms.
Since Halo 4 releases soon, please refrain from salivating. Instead, prepare yourself with knowledge of the installations and their mysterious engineers. Access terminals, discover the forerunner history. Halo Anniversary shares librarian 343′s ominous past. Chief and Cortana are dusted off from the classics shelf, sporting clean graphics and nostalgic warfare.
Superstition aside, an accountable experience of deja vu has occurred. Marking the tenth year since Halo Combat Evolved has released, 343 industries has faithfully remembered our gamer-developer Anniversary. As much as we appreciate them giving us new worlds to destroy covenant on every year, they were kind enough to re-imagine our first love for the Xbox platform. The campaign/story has not been tampered with at all, aside from a difference in textures and lighting that were obvious. Pressing the skip, or back button, changed your HUD into classic mode. After the screen displays 2000-esque processing power, you can press back again and notice a massive difference. Terminals and skulls that are added throughout hidden areas allow those who have never played the original to get a chance at truly learning the lore of Halo. Understanding the beginning is an essential step of “finishing the fight.”
The Covenant; an advanced and vast group made of several alien races lead by Elites and ruled by a hierarchy of Prophets. This enemy has now discovered the existence of the Human race that now walks upon their deities’ “Holy Lands”. Believing this to be a desecration of land (Reach) that does not belong to humanity, they declare war immediately and without warning. Captain Keys had taken command of the UNSC vessel The Pillar of Autumn, accompanied by a highly advanced AI known as Cortana. Keys had previously made a slip space jump away from defeat during a massive attack on the Spartan’s base planet, Reach. Escaping just in time to get their cargo safely aboard, a few remaining Spartans made a last stand between the genocidal covenant. This is where the story of Halo begins, on the other side of a randomly coordinated Slip-Space jump. Waking up from cryogenic sleep, Master Chief is called upon by Captain Keys after the Autumn comes under attack. For the sake of crucial information, whereabouts of earth, and knowledge of the human race, Cortana is put into a micro chip then inserted into Chief’s helmet. In the cosmos before them, spins an artificial ring-planet, Halo; orbiting its own navigated path. Key’s decides to crash land the Autumn on the ring evacuating the majority of the crew to the life boats. Along with marooned squads of marines, you are set upon an alien world terraformed to mimic earthly weather patterns. After regrouping with more marines, you rally against the covenant forces after discovering the true potential of the ring you landed on. The covenant soon discover something horrible beneath the surface and unleash devastation upon themselves and your fellow soldiers. It is up to you to survive and keep Cortana safe throughout the campaign.
Being an older title, the game-play was ahead for it’s time, although, the movement of the character was almost too smooth, as if you were sliding on ice rather than walking. Another noticeable difference is that, unlike today, the screen gives a bit of a jolt with each step you take versus a slight wobble of the weapon. Thirdly, shield and health bars were unheard of beforehand, this changed the way we play games and how they are developed. Now, almost every game gives you that second chance to let your character catch his/her breath, or in this case, recharge their shields before going into the line of fire again. As far as weapon sets and the pace of action, there is never a point where you get stuck for twenty minutes looking for a key-card then end up running in circles trying to find it. Besides, Halo has always given the instant gratification of firefights and moments where you hold your breath after a grenade lands near. That feeling of glory still remains after bashing in an elite’s head with his own weapon, ditching your own because the magazine count hit zero. One may find their self chuckling madly while grunts flee screaming directly after seeing their officer slain. Terminals and skulls were a nice touch, although trying to find both to complete the collection may prove tedious to some. Terminal clips from 343 Guilty Spark shed an immense amount of light on how the installations came to be, also giving useful information about the Forerunners and what had happened to them. On a different note, nothing compares to repeatedly unloading an assault rifle after finding the Rambo skull, you may find yourself knee deep in spent casings by the time you finish The Library. With these power ups along with your infinite plasma grenades, no amount of flood will cause you to take a step back.
Visually, Anniversary closely resembles Halo reach, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After switching back and forth to classic view and the HD view, the ultimate version of Halo CE has been created. Mechanics were all the same as before, this really gave it away that a few layers of wire-frame were all that separated old from new. Also taking a minute to appreciate the remodeled architecture of each level took the eye of an original fan to perform, otherwise, someone pushing the back button.
Audio has been preserved from the original. Aside from Terminal videos, the sound is virtually the same. The soundtrack has made a name for itself, sort of setting up your imagination for the landscapes and environments you’re brought through. In account of special effects; Bungie made their weapons and grenades set a standard for other developers to grow from, since 2001. That sweet snare-like drum roll of an assault rifle with a sixty round clip, made an impression on gamers. Each gun, whether it be covenant or human had a signature noise; in this remake, they kept their autographs.
For what it is, I think Halo Anniversary has been preserved properly to satisfy those who have never played it before. I think to them it was a surprise, and for those too young to truly see halo when it first came out probably understand it a whole lot better. Compared to other games of that time, it was cutting edge. I, on the other hand, was impressed by the Reach-like graphics and the information the terminals had given. Although, Multiplayer disappointed me deeply; perhaps this is because I choose Halo’s Campaign over the multiplayer experience. I felt as though I had been given a DLC for Halo: Reach rather than a complete, separate Halo game.
Written by Guest Reviewer: KHUFU