REVIEW: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

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343 Industries, the new owners of the Halo franchise, with the help of Certain Affinity and Sabre Interactive, have released a remake of Halo: Combat Evolved. Dubbed “Halo Anniversary”, it also comes with new features that will excite many Halo fans. However, with Halo 4 coming next year, will this show 343 Industries is the right group to handle the franchise?

Our gaming editors, Ashton Bernard and Adrian Cajili, give their verdict after the jump.

  • Score:

    8.9 / 10

  • The Good:

    Adrian: Ability to switch from old to new graphics; visuals, sounds and multi-player maps are amazing.

     

    Ashton: Online co-op campaign is a lot of fun (if you have a good connection). 

  • The Bad:

    Adrian: Kinect seemed a bit out of place, few problems with Anniversary Multiplayer.

     

    Ashton: Some words using Kinect can be misinterpreted. Pistol potentially too OP?

  • Bottom Line:

    343 Industries have showed us how dedicated they are to the Halo franchise and its fans

     

As this is a dual-review, Adrian with be in red and Ashton will be in blue. The score is an average of what the editors have provided. Their scores can be found in the Conclusion section of the post.

Campaign

Halo Anniversary greatly appeals to the core Halo fans

Adrian: Being a massive Halo-fan, I remember the first time playing Halo and experiencing a new , mysterious universe. From getting off the Pillar of Autumn onto Halo, encountering the flood in 343 Guilty Spark, and the drive to the Longsword in The Maw. 343 has done an amazing job in trying to stay true to Halo CE’s gameplay and physics.

For people who played the original campaign at an early age, Anniversary helped explain certain moments that were a bit confusing 10 years ago. Also, the inclusion of skulls and terminals makes Halo Anniversary greatly appealing to the core Halo fans with a back story of 343 Guilty Spark and the Halo Array.

Ashton: I, myself, am also a huge fan of Halo, but ten years ago I did not play the original game and so Halo Anniversary was a great means for me to experience the campaign that started it all. From breezing your way through on normal difficulty in the beaches and tunnels of Halo to defying devilish foes on Legendary, Halo Anniversary sucked me in with breath-taking visuals and a musical score that left me thinking nostalgically of my own Halo experiences.

However many levels on “classic” and “remastered” graphics seemed very repetitive (more likely a trademark of games of that era) this did somewhat make the campaign at times quite tedious. However co-op over Xbox Live is heaps of fun, whether your buddy is trying to stop you from getting a skull or you teabag a dead hunter for a solid 10 minutes Halo Anniversary encapsulated all things Halo. Nice one 343! 

Graphics and Gameplay

It is incredibly enjoyable and a great way to satisfy your “grunty-thirst.”

Adrian: Being able to change from Classic to Remastered graphics is the key feature to Anniversary, which shows how far technology, as well as Halo, has come in the last 10 years. With these new graphics, levels were more easy to navigate, and showed how enemies, levels and enemies should have looked like. Although the level designs got a bit repetitive in the classic and remastered version, just being able to switch from the two was very nostalgic.

Ashton: Hitting the back button in most games is usually just a menu (if it does anything at all) yet in Halo Anniversary, you experience much more than that, you see how far Halo and games in general have come in the past 10 years. Finding a real scenic spot and just switching up the graphics is pretty damn awesome! Gameplay is a huge plus. Who needs recoil on a sniper rifle when you’re the Chief right? Not to mention tearing up terrified enemies and anything else stupid enough to stand in your way with the pistol. It is incredibly enjoyable and a great way to satisfy your “grunty-thirst.”

Multiplayer

Adrian: Multiplayer was a bit odd, playing on the reach engine, aside from the 7 new maps available, including my all-time favourite ‘Hang ’em High’, 343 brought back the overpowered pistol. After a few hours of gameplay, the pistol seemed to overpower the Shotgun, Energy Sword, Rocket launcher and DMR, as it was greatly used from close to mid-range, or even long-range. Also, it took 3 melee attacks to kill and enemy. But overall, the only thing that drew me in were the Multiplayer maps, and seeing how Certain Affinity can remaster a simple Halo CE level into something visually amazing. 

Ashton: Jumping back into Halo Anniversary’s multiplayer with the Reach engine is a peculiar experience. Immediately I forget that I could no longer sprint and that the DMR is weaker than my side arm, but after a bit of practice the controls become more user-friendly and no sooner does this occur that you get absolutely destroyed by the pistol. Get a bad spawn? Well then say good-bye to your health bar because you are gonna die very, very quickly. In contrast, if you manage to get a jump on an opponent delivering death with the surprising, yet familiar strength of the pistol, can lead to some rewarding killing sprees. Except on High Noon (Hang em’ High remake) cause on that map you cannot hide my friends.

Kinect Functionality

Adrian: Kinect was a new feature that was announced days before the game was released. With Kinect, you can ‘Analyse’ and ‘Scan’ objects to add to your Library. The Library includes all the items you have scanned, Enemies, Weapons, Vehicles, and lets you look at them in detail, as well as learn about the object, or its history. There were a few problems with the Kinect implementation as it would randomly pick up noises and randomly throw a grenade, or go to the start menu, as well as having a few seconds of delay. 

Ashton: The Kinect functionality in the game is at times quite enjoyable, waiting that half a second after you say “reload” and seeing your TV give into your commands tend to be quite magical. But unfortunately the technology is not perfect, sometimes common expressions like “its lagging” can be interpreted as “library” and then would open up your library of scanned items. Or sometimes a grenade is accidentally thrown which is extremely frustrating especially when afterwards you say “I didn’t throw a grenade” only to see you waste more grenades and possibly kill your friends in co-op. Thanks a lot Adrian!

Conclusion

343 Industries have shown us how dedicated they are to the Halo franchise

Adrian: Halo Anniversary is a present to the Halo fans, and shouldn’t really be compared to the games that have been recently released. Celebrating 10 years of Halo, 343 Industries have shown us how dedicated they are to the Halo franchise, as well as their upcoming game Halo 4. The elements of the game really did make me remember the times playing Halo CE and I applaud 343 Industries for their magnificent work. Although there could’ve been a few minor adjustments, this game should be in the hands of all true Halo fans, so they can experience the ‘campaign of the decade’ in a remastered version, and see what it was like to play Halo 10 years ago.

I give this game an 8.9/10

There’s not much in gaming that can match the nostalgic feeling of Halo

Ashton: This holiday season was jam-packed with games, but if you loved the original Halo or are huge fan of the series like myself or Adrian, then you should certainly get this game. There’s not much in gaming that can match the nostalgic feeling of Halo. You are constantly reminded of how large the Halo universe is, how far it has come, and seeing the craftsmanship and dedication that 343 Industries put into this game gets me personally excited of what else they can bring to the fore.

Bravo 343, keep it up! 8.8/10