Friday, November 18, 2011

The Official Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Review

We've come a long way since 2001 in the FPS category, as well as in the sense of gaming technology. Most of this advancement however, is due to the amazing product that was Microsoft's original Xbox and it's mega-blockbuster hit, Halo Combat Evolved. The original Halo game was no ordinary first person shooter- it was sleek, imaginative, extremely fun, had a kick ass story and was essentially the delivery of PC-grade technology to the console. Needless to say, it was an advancement beyond amazing.

So the question arrises- what could have been done, or more appropriately, what HAS been done to improve on this decade-old title that makes it BETTER than what we've seen in the past? Why should you buy it? Is it really worth the forty dollar asking price? Read past the break to find out- given that you're awesome of course.

First off, one must understand the caliber of which the first game altered the industry. Never before had such an advanced title on the console- or really even the PC. It truly brought to the table something we'd never seen before. Graphically speaking, the technological advances were out of this world (literally, since it takes place on a ring-like planet drifting out in space) and typically forced the player to take a double take. The storyline was and still is one of the best in the industry (which is probably the reason Microsoft will do ANYTHING to keep the platform from dying, despite the departure of it's original creators).

But more importantly, the game play was unlike anything that players have ever experienced before. While most games permitted players to carry a plethora of weaponry on them, Halo restricted users to only two. Accessory-relative weaponry followed the same pattern- only four of each type of grenades at a time (there are two types). And unlike other titles that weren't from the Half-Life series, the physics engine was incredible. These distinct differences really matter in the end- especially when considering the influence the game has had on just about every title following it.

Although the story is a major aspect of this game- everybody and their brother are aware of it (accept for the old people of course). You fill in the shoes of a super soldier Master Chief during a war in the twenty sixth century, who's goal is to prevent a conflicting alien race known as the covenant from destroying the universe via a super weapon known as Halo. It's pretty complex, but once you play through it once, you'll understand the concept.

Then we get to the major sell that Microsoft and 343 Industries are betting on. The gameplay is intact. The music and sounds are the same. The storyline is the exact same. However, the graphics have been completely overhauled to serve the big demands of the new decade of gaming- and believe me, it shows. Not only have the graphics been altered, but they can be EASILY switched back to what they were back in 2001.

Unlike the original game, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary also features the capacity for cooperative campaign play over Xbox live- allowing users to do something they've always wanted to do with the original title. Also, the game features a wonderful restoration of Halo Reach's multiplayer, but with the satisfying inclusion of almost all of the original multiplayer maps in the first game. However, Bloodgulch really felt like a let down after looking over Forge World again. Overall however, the experience feels very streamlined and leaves the player with a pleasant sense of nostalgia.

Ultimately, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary isn't going to make waves in the same way that the original game did. Then again, NOBODY should expect a graphical overhaul to be a revolution in the gaming industry- but it certainly is pretty awesome. At the end of the day, the game isn't yet worth the forty dollar asking price. If the game was ten dollars cheaper, then perhaps it would have been a better sell. However, if you are one of those unfortunate souls who were never afforded the opportunity to play the original, or you're looking for some awesome nostalgia, than Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary is a tough game to beat.

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