Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Review
Posted January 28, 2012 by Jantrit (178)
Way back in 2001 bungie released a little game called Halo: Combat Evolved for Microsofts then young xbox console. Ten years on and Halo is now a household name among gamers spawning two sequels and several spin off’s, with the latest instalment Halo: Reach proving that the series is still going strong. But ten years is a long time in gaming and there are hordes of young gamers discovering the franchise who have never played the game that started it all.
Step in 343 Industries, current custodian of the halo franchise. They obviously decided the risk of the original being forgotten just wouldn’t do and to remedy this have treated us all to their first game, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
Chances are if you’re reading this there’s one question burning in your mind. Have they done a good job? Yes, yes they certainly have.
Combat Evolved’s story is a classic one that never really gets old. Set mere months (or so) after the events of Reach you are Master Chief, a genetically and cybernetically enhanced super soldier designed specifically for one thing, slaughtering the soldiers of an alliance of aliens who for some reason are on a religious crusade to eliminate humanity. And they’re winning. After surviving a failed attempt to capture the ship that you were aboard, the Pillar of Autumn, you crash land on an ancient alien construct called halo and from there start your adventure to find out its secrets, why the Covenant were so desperate to stop you getting down there and ultimately find a way off.
The story itself hasn’t been messed with. There’s no need since this was the one that started it but 343i have made a welcome addition in the form of terminals. Terminals were first introduced in halo 3 and they’re function is basically to expand upon the story and the universe of halo and thats what they do here. These terminals are spread through the games levels, one per level and accessing them gives you access to brilliant animated and acted cut scenes which expand upon the games events as well as give you discrete little hints as what to expect in the upcoming Halo 4. I wont spoil what they contain but I will say that its well worth tracking these down.
Obviously the first thing that will strike you when you start playing is the dramatic change to the graphics and they are absolutely stunning. They don’t quite match the level of quality and sophistication of last years Halo: Reach but they are pretty close and a massive improvement on the original. Literally everything has been improved. Human character models now have much better animation and faces that actually look and move like faces rather than just blocks with creepy impressions of faces on them. The covenant never really looked bad but now they look much more detailed and much more intimidating in their modern lick of paint. All the weapons and vehicles have been remodelled to look much closer to their Halo: Reach counterparts with high levels of detail that make them look much more deadly and the environments are much more stimulating to look at.
Visuals are far more visually stimulating this time around
Where as before only bare trees with a blur of green were dotted around and a carpet of colour represented grass and sand there is now lush vegetation, grass, flowers and trees that actually look like they might have wild life living in them. Most impressive is that although the environments you explore aren’t actually any bigger they look much more epic in scale. Take for example that first light bridge you come across after crash landing. Originally when you looked down in to the precipice below you saw only darkness, now if look down you see not a dark pit but a sprawling expanse of machinery and lighting stretching as far as the eye can see. Or for CE veterans how about that first view of halo as you emerged from your escape pod? It was an awe inspiring sight ten years ago as you looked up to see the ring stretch into the distance and now you can be awed all over again as you look up and see the same sight in the clear, crisp detail it should have always been. Not to mention with superior lighting, particle, shadows and other effects that afore mentioned light bridge and its surroundings are a lot prettier to look at as are weapon effects which now look much more substantial. Its just utterly amazing the effort 343i have put into bringing CE’s graphics into the modern age that I cant really do it justice in this review. To cut a long story short everything is far superior to how it used to look and if you want to see just how superior 343i have included a neat little feature to show you.
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