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Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary [X360]





Age has been very kind to this legendary shooter, even after 10 years

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Worth playing"

Summary

In 2001, Bungie released a shooter for Microsoft's new console, the Xbox, that would change the way we play first person shooters with a controller. That game was, of course, Halo. Known for its enjoyable campaign and an even better multiplayer mode, Halo was an amazing experience for its time. I still have memories of going to LAN parties where we did nothing but play the original Halo for hours non stop. Since then, the Halo franchise became a worldwide phenomenon offering billions of hours in multiplayer and revolutionized the genre. Now, 10 years later, 343 Industries decided to celebrate 10 years of Halo with a remake; Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, a recreation of the game's famous campaign mode. Does this 10 year old game stand the test of time even without the new graphic engine? The short answer: yes.

In case you are not familiar with the story; you are the Master Chief, aka Spartan 117. You and your army of UNSC (United Nations Security Console) marines have just escaped on the Pillar of Autumn from a losing battle on the planet Reach to the Covenant, an alliance of various alien life forms that you are currently at war with. However, the Covenant have pursued you and your army to a ring world called Halo. After the Pillar of Autumn is attacked, you, as the Master Chief, are forced to flee to this ring world and find out what Halo truly is and why the Covenant want it.

The campaign itself still remains to be the best of the series. Most of the game is, of course, on Halo except for the first level on the Pillar of Autumn. The levels vary from a huge canyon, inside a ship, on an island, etc. making the levels fun and engaging. The only complaint I have is some bits of the last 3 levels are rehashed from earlier stages but they offer plenty of new challenges to keep you interested. The enemies you fight include grunts (the smallest and weakest enemy), jackles (about as weak as grunts but they have shields), elites (the stronger enemies you'll face as they have rechargeable health like you) and occasionally hunters (would be the toughest and scariest if they didn't die with one pistol shot). Co-op is a ton of fun too and makes the campaign all the more enjoyable.

As you'll notice, the biggest thing this game offers is 343 updated the graphics and shows you what this game would look like today. Surprisingly, the new graphic engine alone makes this game worth paying for and playing through again. The environments are colorful and lively without losing that Halo feel to them. While the environments do look better, there's a few problems with the cut scene graphics. The main problem is the humans, who's lips are completely off synch in most scenes and their faces look a little odd. Other than that, the graphics do make an old game look new again and if you want to see how big of a change the new graphics are, you can press the back button and switch to how the game looked back in 2001. Other than that, nothing else has been messed with so all the physics, mechanics and even glitches are still there.

There are more additions to the campaign other than making it look prettier. There are also skulls and terminals to locate. First of all, the skulls work like they did in Halo 3; look for them throughout the campaign and each one unlocks a bonus such as making the game harder by eliminating checkpoints or making the enemies stronger, give you an advantage like the new bandanna skull (infinite ammo), and skulls that are "just for the lolz" like the infamous grunt birthday party skull. These skulls, as always, change up the campaign so you can play it slightly differently than you did 0 years ago. The other extras to look out for are the terminals. Unlike Halo 3 where they were just a bunch of words, or ODST with the still images with voice overs, these are told in actual cut scenes this time. There is one in each of the 10 levels and each one tells a tale of 343 Guilty Spark, the monitor of Installation 04, as we delve deeper into his character and purpose on this ring world. I won't spoil anything, but these are the best terminals out of any Halo game and the backstory is interesting (and it even hints at some events in the upcoming Halo 4.)

Unfortunately, the original Combat Evolved multiplayer that we have all come to know and love is not here. Instead, we get a new map pack for Halo Reach that comes with 6 maps based on old favorites in the series (Hang Em High, Damnation, Prisoner, Battle Creek, Timberland from Halo PC and Headlong from Halo 2) and a new firefight map called "Installation 04", based on the second level of the Combat Evolved campaign. Even though the CE multiplayer isn't here, this map pack is a great addition to Halo Reach and you don't even need a copy of Reach to play them. That's right, all 7 maps can be played via matchmaking on the CEA disc, though you are only limited to certain classic playlists. Speaking of which, the settings for the classic playlists have been altered to resemble the old Halo formula. Although not 100% CE, it's pretty close. My only complaint is it would have been nice if there were more maps, but this is a great map pack regardless.

10 years ago, Halo changed the way we play first person shooters and has evolved into one of the biggest and most renowned franchises in the gaming industry. Now, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary is here to remind us what made this series so great to begin with. The campaign is still top notch like it was years before and the new graphics, terminals and skulls give you enough reason to play this unforgotten classic again. The lack of original CE multiplayer is a bummer, but the anniversary map pack and the new playlists feels close enough to the original. This remake is impressive, and it brings back so many memories that will make any long time Halo fan smile.




One of the best game I've played. Even though, the game is 10 years old, the Anniversary vs looks like a currente gen.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

I've played all Halo games, but not when it was launched. The first one was on PC (Halo 2), then Halo 3 when it came out for Xbox 360...

When I saw for first time the trailers of Halo series (like 5 years laters they were lauched), the soundtrack knock me out. I thing that Halo series, specially this Halo, has/ve the best soundtrack out there so far. I downloaded all the soudtrack, I am used to listen them frequently.

The story is something I think, is the one of the best out there. I recommended you to watch the Anime of Halo. It will tell you in a few minutes what it is the story about. And believe me, you are going to ge stuck in it. Wow. Excellent.

The graphics and sounds feel like a current generation game. Similar to Halo 3 and Reach. 343 Studio did a very good job doing the remasterisation.

I played this game in Normal difficulty, which I think is Hard becuase I died several times in the way through. The lenght is great, It took me like 12 hours to be the game, considering all the time I died.

I haven't played the multiplayer so far. But it should not be different from Reach.

For me, this game is a collection that every gamers should have and a good reason to buy the Xbox 360.

Thanks for reading.









Halo is still Brilliant, but expect no surprises. 343 have only changed the textures, sometimes with sloppy clipping.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Been there, done that"

Summary

This is simply an excuse to play Halo without people looking over your shoulder and complaining about the ancient visuals of the original.
A worry is that even a simple cosmetic paint job has proved too taxing for 343 studios... I found a part of the map on 'library' where you could walk right out of the map! you could'nt fall off though as the original code was still solid. 343 just wall-papered over the door.
The gripes don't end there as this offering is severely lacking in options. Don't expect, for instance to be able to adjust different sound options. You will not be able to hear in-game speech clearly at times because of this.
Finally the Kinect functionality is tacked on and useless, there are voice command thrown grenades for gods sakes, use at peril of losing your sanity.
In Summary I actually have enjoyed this paintjob of a game... despite the lazy lip service 343 has bestowed on it. I just hope Halo 4 will be executed with 100% more respect and attention to detail.




Loyal to Combat Evolved to a fault, Anniversary still succeeds due to the original's brilliance.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Solid"

Summary

The Good:
- The game plays identically to Combat Evolved, which is good and bad. It's good because, despite being a bit outdated, the gameplay still provides an incredibly fun experience.

- The new graphics are quite nice. They don't stack up to, say, Crysis 2 or Battlefield 3, but they are vastly improved from the original, the lighting in particular. Switching between old and new graphics at the push of a button never ceases to amaze, and the new graphics have even allowed me to find things that I had never noticed in the first game.

The Bad:
- Since Anniversary plays identically to Combat Evolved, it also inherited all of its flaws. In particular, the AI is quite lacking. Had 343 been able to maintain the gameplay of the original but incorporate Reach's enemy AI, the game would have been astronomically improved. As it is, enemies will still do idiotic things on occasion, leaving your head shaking.

- The "remastered" soundtrack is actually worse that the original. It is difficult to put my finger on what exactly makes it thus, but there is no denying that much of the mystery and awe inspired by O'Donnell's original score is gone here. Fortunately, the game gives you the option of using the old music.

Overall, Halo: Anniversary is worth the purchase since it is not the price of a full game. 343 Industries did the minimum they could to ensure that the game would be a success, but that did not require an overt amount of effort on their part since Combat Evolved was so brilliant. They could have done more to enhance the experience, but on the whole it is a solid effort.




343's goal was never to make an amazing game better, but to honor what shouldn't be tampered with.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Underappreciated"

Summary

This game is the same as Halo Combat Evolved for the Xbox. Same game. Just going to clear that up now. For all those so called "hardcore", "real", or "devoted" Halo fans out there, stop dissing on this game. By dissing on this, you diss on the very fabric of Halo. This game is fantastic. Amazing. Beautiful. The new updated music. New graphics. Same GREAT story. Excellent A.I.. And the great times you have with your friends at 3 a.m. trying to past the Library in 30 mins or less on Legendary (One of the new achievments), this is an excellent game. For an in depth review of this game, look at my Halo Combat Evolved for Xbox review. On this surface review I'm only discussing the new features (considering its the same game as the original except new features). The new graphics look awesome. I respect the old graphics, but the new graphics are simple gorgeous. The water looks so crisp, the mountains in the distance look so real... The new achievments 343 added is good as well. Just the right mix of easy and insane. Terminals are new and show good teaser trailers supposedly showing secrets to Halo 4 and Installation 04's past. Guess what, the skulls are back on Halo one. Most of them are new and never before used in a Halo. Like a skull that makes grunts explode in a huge plasma blast after death. All the old easter eggs are here, the old glitches, old bugs. Everything here, just looks a little different, a little newer. Alot newer. So don't bag on this game saying they tried to make it better but failed. That was never 343's plan. This game in my opinion is a game any Halo fan should play. (Especially with a friend/s) :D
8.0

Superb
8.2
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