Halo: Combat Evolved

Our Review

Halo: Combat Evolved is one of the classics and most evolutionary video games. In addition to bringing first-person-shooters to a console (it wasn’t the first to do so, but the most successful) it also contains a rich collection of science fiction cultures and back story. I have been a fan of this game for years even though I usually only play the single player campaign and not the multiplayer. Either way this game is enjoyable.

I’ve mentioned the back story a bit. This is what really enriches the plot the most. Each element of the back story lends just enough detail and credibility to the cultures, characters, technology, etc. Combine this with the fact that each of the characters are easy to identify with and you get a world you love to return to over and over. Even the character of Master Chief has a mystery about him that makes him much more fleshed out even though he is the character with the most potential for having a two dimensional personality.

The gameplay is also perfectly balanced allowing for strategy in the way the game unfolds. Each weapon is different from the next but not so different to make one better than another. The enemies are sufficiently diverse and are mixed up enough to keep the gameplay interesting.

The progression of the story moves in a symmetrical chiasmus starting with the Pillar of Autumn, moving through a number of environments then moving back through those environments then moving back through those environments and ending on the Pillar of Autumn again. This was probably to simplify things for the original designers but it makes the ending seem more full-circle and exciting.

The Anniversary Edition

After Halo: Reach was released I remember thinking and commenting to my friends that Microsoft should really remake the first Halo game simply because it is generally the best of all of the games, but severely behind in graphics. I thought that it would be a good idea to update the graphics but leave everything else exactly the same. Once I heard that 343 industries was taking over the video game franchise this idea became even more apparent. By remaking the game, 343 industries could get back to the basics and understand what made Halo so great in the first place, and would therefore be better able to continue making more games. And guess what? That’s exactly what they did. Let it be known, that I had the idea at the same time they did.

There have been mixed reviews regarding the Anniversary edition of Halo: Combat Evolved. I have nothing but good to say about it myself. The best part are the graphics which are incredible! This is especially evident because of the ability you have to switch back and forth between the old and new graphics. This feature is a great addition and really enforces the idea that the old and new games are practically identical.

They aren’t precisely identical though despite what it looks like. The A.I. has been upgraded a bit so the non-playable-characters are a bit smarter, plus there is the addition of a few things like the ability to play co-op, etc. Otherwise the gameplay is pretty much exactly the same, frame by frame, like the original.


Additional Notes

Anniversary remake of the original was released in November 15, 2011.