It’s been a full ten years since the release of the first Halo on the original Xbox. Anniversary stays true to everything Halo: Combat Evolved was. The original Magnum is back along with the indestructible vehicles, remastered multiplayer maps, and the game’s outstanding story. Halo is what made FPS titles on the consoles cool. Who could forget the introduction of The Flood? And the Warthog run in The Maw? Its worth was only amplified by its multiplayer and LAN parties. Those are the memories of Halo: Combat Evolved. For $39.99, you can revisit those memories and make more in this truly remastered title.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary features Kinect support in the form of voice commands, two player online or splitscreen co-op, the ability to switch between Classic graphics and Remastered graphics, and skulls, which activate certain elements to change gameplay.
The story is supplemented by terminals located within each level of the game. At first, I admit that I wasn’t overly excited for terminals to be a part of the story, since they weren’t a part of the original game. When playing the game with the Classic graphics on, the terminals don’t appear anywhere they should. While in Remastered, the terminals glow. They’re not necessarily easy to find, but for someone who has spent hours exploring Halo ten years ago, avid players should come across them.
Each terminal tells a story, mostly from 343 Guilty Spark’s point of view. As far as that story goes, I would say fans of Halo lore are in for a treat. Big treats. That doesn’t mean the terminals don’t cater to players who haven’t read the books or recall every little thing that’s happened in past games. The terminals are cinematic cutscenes, which some would take over the lines of text Halo 3’s terminals delivered. Who likes reading, right? Honestly, words cannot describe how awesome I think the terminals are in this game. I’ve found myself re-watching each one this past weekend multiple times. If you’re a fan of everything Halo, I would purchase this game for the terminals alone. I await to see forums light up with discussions on what information these terminals contain.
The gameplay is as I remembered. It was easy to get back into with a zero learning curve. Some gamers might have skipped or didn’t play past Halo games nearly as much as they played Halo: Combat Evolved. Default controls on Anniversary resemble the controls for Halo: Reach. However, players are able to choose “The Duke” as a button layout, which is the original control scheme.
Above, I mentioned that the game features Kinect support via voice commands. While playing the game, you may speak voice commands that allow you to pause/resume, switch between graphics, reload, switch weapons, flashlight activation, throw grenades, and more. My favorite is the inclusion of what I call Master Chief Detective Mode.
You may analyze the battlefield after you’ve dealt with your enemies and scan their bodies, weapons, and other surroundings. The findings are then added to your Library. Afterwards, you can visit your library to read up on enemy bios, weapon specs, and other various descriptions.
These descriptions can be looked through via hand movements through the Kinect. In fact, right after I finish writing this review, I’m going to continue my research.
The Anniversary edition of the game also comes with a Firefight map. The map, Installation 04, is different from any other Firefight map in that it also spawns ODST’s to help you fight the waves of Covies. With friends, this Firefight map is worth a few playthroughs.
Anniversary multiplayer is different from Halo: Reach. The maps have been remastered with new graphics and new settings. Still, I can guarantee that if you were a master at Halo CE, you should have no problem coming back in to dominate players new to the maps. Headlong was an old favorite of mine in Halo 2 and it makes an appearance in the Anniversary collection. This can only mean awesome Big Team Battle games will be had. Below are screenshots of the Anniversary maps:
The overwhelming question here is: Is it worth it? This game is a MUST for any Halo fan looking to delve further into Halo lore. This game is a MUST for any sci-fi FPS fan. The inclusion of terminals coupled with an already great story made Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary an outstanding game. Can Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary be up for Game of the year?
Jacob Lopez (jake108)