Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... a precedent as to what can be done and how to do it. I was honestly expecting more butchery from Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries, b... more
10 year Anniversary HD remake of the best Halo game
Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Member Name: DonPaolo
Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Faithful to the original, Halo in HD, good graphics, Xbox Live co-op
Disadvantages: Some of the quirks and faults of the original remain - but that's endearing, limited multiplayer
<<< Happy Haloversary... >>>
It's 10 years since "Halo: Combat Evolved" burst onto the scene, changing the first-person shooter (FPS) genre forever. As a launch title on Microsoft's original Xbox, Halo showed the world that it possible to produce a well-rounded, fluidly controlled FPS for a console. 10 years on, consoles have actually become the primary tool for playing this kind of game. And now the original Halo is back!
Since this is a remake, you should be able to pick it up for £30 or less - personally I believe£20 - £25 would be most suitable!
<<< R-R-R-R-Remix or Remake? >>>
After the release of Halo; Reach, the games studio Bungie announced they were leaving the hugely popular Halo franchise behind to moving n to new projects. This was closely followed by the news that 343 Studios (assembled by Micro$oft, and featuring several former senior Bungie staff) would be continuing the franchise with Halo 4, but not before releasing an HD remake of the original Halo game.
This was met by much excitement and scepticism, primarily regarding the reason for the remake (a money-spinner by Micro$oft?) and how faithful to the original any remake would be...
<<< Single Player Campaign >>>
The way games are played has changed significantly in the last 10 years. In the days when Halo was released, there was no such thing as Xbox Live, and the multiplayer online shooter genre was almost exclusively reserved for PC gamers. As a result, Halo's single player campaign was the primary focus, and was a real powerhouse.
I am pleased to say that 343 Studios have put a great deal of time and effort into crafting an almost exact replica of the original campaign, albeit with updated HD graphics and sound design. The graphics are brilliantly done, and it's surreal to play through levels which I have played so many times over the last decade, and to still look at them in a new light. For a handy comparison, at any point in the game you can press the 'back' button to the left of centre on your controller, and be transported back in time to view the original graphics. This is a real eye-opener of how far game graphics have progressed in 10 years, especially bearing in mind that the new graphics are nothing special by today's standards.
The original game's exact level layout, weapon design and physics have been retained, as has the enemy AI (artificial intelligence) which means this remake really does play exactly the same as the original. It is packed full of varied combat, exciting encounters, suspense, and all-out-action, meaning it is just as fun to play as it was 10 years ago.
There's always a tendency to look back on brilliant games like Halo with rose-tinted spectacles, and there are some unfortunate quirks and faults which are more evident now in hindsight. However, I feel many of these add to the charm of the game. The developers have not chosen to iron out issues -this is a warts-and-all remake, with warts which are ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
<<< Multiplayer >>>
As I've mentioned, when the original Halo was released, Xbox Live was a twinkle in Micro$oft's eye, and 'multiplayer' meant only one thing - LAN parties! For the youngsters or uninitiated, that means: having 4 controllers plugged into 1 Xbox, and having your TV screen divided into quarters, with one player using each quarter as their screen, then setting up a 2nd TV, getting your mate to bring his Xbox to your house with another 4 controllers, and connecting the 2 consoles with a network cable so that you and 7 friends can play against each other all day and into the night! In case you're wondering, LAN parties were awesome, and they were a key facet that made the original Halo such a famous and revered game!!! But would this magic be lost in the remake?
The answer unfortunately is 'YES'. Multiplayer gaming has moved on so significantly in 10 years, and these LAN parties are only a familiar thing to gamers in their mid 20s and above. Online multiplayer is now the staple of game franchises like Halo, and you can tell that this remake wanted to find a balance between nostalgia and modern appeal. It does not bring us back to the halcyon days, but instead serves as a 'tribute', using the newer Halo: Reach muiltiplayer engine as the basis for a series of remake of previous favourite multiplayer maps.
These maps are admittedly well made, and bring updated versions of some old fan favourites, but there is limited choice (only 7 maps) and it sits awkwardly with the single player story. There is the option to alter settings and weapons to create games which are much more similar to the original game, but this is little more than the game giving a tip of the cap to its predecessor while reminding us that things have moved on.
<<< Longevity? >>>
I've thoroughly enjoyed re-immersing myself in the original Halo story once again, but I'm not sure how long the appeal will last. I don't think I'll be getting a lot of mileage out of the multiplayer games, although they are fun. The main thing which will keep me coming back is the ability to play the campaign in co-operative mode with a friend over Xbox Live and relive my youth...
<<< Final Thoughts >>>
When I was 15-16 and living at home in Newcastle, I would go to my friend's house, we'd order a pizza and get a bottle of coke, and play Halo co-operative on 'Legendary' difficulty for hours on end, often until the early hours of the morning. Now we're 25; I live and work in Manchester, and he's down in London, but we can still relive the fun of those days and play the same game together over Xbox Live. It's not quite the same, but it's a pretty good substitute. Also - I now make my own pizzas, and I've upgraded the coke to a beer.
Summary: Single player is a brilliant faithful remake, Multiplayer is modern and familiar