JVB has been kind enough to write a review on Halo Anniversary that releases tonight at midnight. There are some nice little tid-bits in it, so take a read.
– Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
– Microsoft Studios
– 343 Inustries/Saber Interactive Inc./Certain Affinity
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Review
Ten years ago, Microsoft and Bungie studios released Halo Combat Evolved for a new console called Xbox. It was a launch title that would help the Xbox become a legitimate player in the console market, and the reason why the First Person Shooter genre made a successful transition from PC to home console. An engaging science fiction story, about courage, survival, and sacrifice — with good visuals, AI, and level design. And you can see why many Gamers lost nights of sleep playing 4-player coop, and LAN Parties.
The story of Halo CE is well known: It takes place after the invasion of Reach — which you escape on the Pillar of Autum — and head towards an unknown structure in order to escape a fleet of Covenant ships. That scructure is called Halo, and with the help of the legendary Video Game icon: Master Chief — you discover the true nature Halo, and the many races that make up Convenant force. Yes, this is all familiar but thanks to the integration of Terminals available on each of the 10 levels — the Halo CE story receives welcomed extension. It is recommended that you find these terminals for the pure sake of it’s narrative, production value, and possible Halo 4 tie-in.
The enemy A.I for Halo: CE Anniversary is still as tough as ever. They will flank you, or hide behind cover if injured. I wish I could say the same for your allies. If you let one of the Marines drive a vehicle for you: Good luck! You will be frustrated by their lack of navigational skills. But they will help you during firefights, so they are not a total waste of development resources.
Controlling your super soldier is smooth. The button layout from the original Halo CE utilized black and white buttons, so 343 Industries had to intergrate Halo Anniversary with the S controller. Which means that the old scheme will now be used with the bumper buttons. The thing that you will need to get used to is the fact that Master Chief cannot take damage from falling off of high places. And since John 117 has some weight to him, jumping from ledge to ledge will take some time to get used to. Vehicles are just like they were in the original: meaning they feel slow, and you cannot mount onto enemy vehicles. You can use the Kinect to throw grenades, activate analyze mode, and switch between classic and modern graphics. The Kinect functions will be available through an update on November 15th.
I was really impressed with the visual touches that are in Halo Anniversary. You will instantly see a significant visual upgrade right from the opening scene — which begins where Halo Reach left off. Everything looks sharp, and colorful. The level design feels dated due to seeing corridors, and environments that looks the same throughout your play session. While it’s not in the same graphical level of Reach, it is still a good upgrade, and not just a HD port. An option to play the game in 3D is available if you own a 3D-TV.
The remastered audio is amazing! The guns, vehicles, enemy weapons, and soundtrack has never been so crisp. This is all done in surround sound, so use your stereo, or headsets to experience the sound in all it’s glory.
Some of your favorite multiplayer maps will make it’s Xbox Live debut with the same visual upgrades that you witness in the campaign. Damnation, Beaver Creek, Prisoner, Timberland, Headlong, Hang ‘Em High, and a Firefight only map, Installation 04 will keep you busy. You can also play online coop with another player over XBL, and locally. And in case you were wondering — these maps are available in Forge mode.
There are some neat features added to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, like Halo Waypoint intergration, Skulls, and Terminals. Once you have unlocked all of the Terminals, you can view them from the menu, and experience them at your leisure.
During the decade since the introduction of Halo: CE, we’ve seen sequels, various titles that involved the Halo universe — ODST, and Halo Wars — books, merchandise, and Anime. And the community that was spawned from the Halo franchise is unlike any other. So it was wise for Microsoft to re-release the classic that started it all. My son is a huge Halo fan, but never had the experience of playing the original in it’s entirety. So when he was told that there would be an updated version of CE in November 2011: He was psyched. So was I — along with millions of Halo faithful. But those new to the franchise — or just getting into it — should play the legend of Halo: CE Anniversary. Why? Look at your favorite FPS, and realize that there is a little bit of Halo in all of them. Whether it’s an emphasis on level design, storytelling, or innovations in game-play mechanics — Halo made that possible by introducing those key elements into the First Person Shooter genre. You owe it to yourself to buy this classic Video Game.
My grade: A