Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Reviews

Daft Incarnate
463,622 (213,611)
Daft Incarnate
TA Score for this game: 1,631
Posted on 21 November 11 at 15:50, Edited on 02 May 12 at 15:13
This review has 84 positive votes and 10 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
The trouble of reviewing a remake is being subjective to the original content and whether the standard of game 10 years ago is as good or relevant as it is now, so for the purposes of this review I won't go into depth of the original game, but simply what are the changes that have been made. So if you've been hiding under a rock and don't know what Halo is, you won't find that here.

Luckily the original was a runaway critical and commercial success, utilising many gameplay mechanics that can be found in many popular games today such as only carrying two weapons, regenerating health (to some degree), splitscreen co-op and LAN/Live play for playing with other people, and a story with twists led by an iconic protagonist accompanied by a particularly solid music score that is still regarded as one of the best in gaming history.

What hasn't changed?
The only real thing that honestly hasn't changed is the physics, it is essentially exactly the same game you played 10 years ago, and while there are small irregularities like shooting too close to the edge of a rock and hitting the rock kind of thing there were such few problems 10 years ago (that i can remember/know of) its easily forgivable. Similarly all original glitches and exploits also remain intact for the sake of authenticity.

So, what's changed?
We have a graphics upgrade first and foremost, taking away all those similar dark and dull bland tones that swamped the original interior sections, though it wasn't that noticeable at the time switching between the old and new graphics now using the back button you wonder how you ever thought it looked so good - such is the progress of graphics. The levels are made much brighter and colourful, with loads of extras thrown in, simple things where you can now see a moon in a starry sky instead of just a black empty space, loads more shiny lights and those distinct forerunners lines we got in Halo 2 and 3. Signs on the walls can now be read clearly where there used to be squiggles, the enemies themselves have been rejigged - particularly Elites - having distinct types as there were in Reach, and the weapons themselves having also been given the HD treatment becoming nice and detailed.

But this isn't all about graphics, the sounds have been upgraded too. The weapons have all been tweaked for crisper sharper sounds, and the soundtrack is even remastered, which you can also change back to the original should you feel you need to hear the exact same you did 10 years ago.

So graphics and sounds are nicer, but we also have the return of Terminals and skulls.

Terminals are handy things from Halo 3 giving you info on the progress of subplots and history in the Halo universe. The terminals in Halo: CEA, adhere to this much better than Halo 3 terminals do, and give you extra insight into the history and other events, some of which are covered in the halo novels, and some which are new and intriguing and lead onto clues for Halo 4. Whats more these terminals play out as there own cutscenes instead of simply text, adding a much more immersive feel to the stories they tell.
Skulls are also scattered around the levels providing some added fun or challenges when activated and a lot of similar skulls from previous games return and some new ones are also included.

Online co-op? Oh yes.
Remember when you could only splitscreen the original co-op, well, utilising the thing called the internet we can now relive (or have new) experiences with our friends online or splitscreen. However, as with other Halo offerings the connection for campaign can be a bit temperamental, and I've had the not so fun jittery lag/framerate issues where things don't respond for a second or two and ended up sliding off a cliff by accident. This is often made worse with the flood infection forms as the game tries to keep up with so many enemies on screen getting killed at once and it really slows right down. Having said all that, most of the time the game has been near perfect with minor or no problems and there doesn't appear to be a sure fire way of preventing these lag/framerate issues should they occur to you.

**Answer to question in comments:
The original game came with 2 player co-op, and similarly the co-op in Anniversary is also only 2 player co-op.

Multiplayer online
Included with the remake is effectively a section of the Halo Reach multiplayer where you can only play maps specifically included with Anniversary, though this may be awkward for some there is also a dlc code so you can download them separately for Halo Reach and have access to all Halo Reach maps and playlists. There are 6 Anniversary multiplayer maps and 1 firefight map available. Other than these restrictions the multiplayer is exactly the same as Reach, with access to your armory, ranking, medal stats, and fileshare as well as theater and forge mode (as long as its Anniversary related).

My only gripe is that had the full Reach multiplayer experience been available with all dlc like ODSTs Halo 3 multiplayer disc it would provide better incentive for the price tag.

**Discussed in comments:
Playing the competitive multiplayer will add Halo Reach to your gamercard and the ability to unlock Reach Anniversary map pack achievements, as well as basic (non map pack specific) Reach multiplayer achievements.

Its the same kind of list we have in Halo 3, ODST, and Reach, complete each level, campaign on each difficulty (stacks), level specifics, finding terminals, and finding skulls. It seems a fairly easy 1000G to be honest, and the difficulty ones are even easier done in co-op. Some may seem difficult and take a few tries, but these achievements shouldn't take long to acquire for any Halo/CE vets but will be more daunting for new players.
You can access the Halo Reach multiplayer to get some of Halo Reach's achievements, these are the usual multiplayer ones you should be used to by now, kill someone with this on this mode, so many kills with this or that, etc.

Worth the price?
It becomes a bit difficult to decide, based on several 'have you already played this or that' variables but for those that have played the original (myself included) its mostly a nostalgic campaign experience (the Elites in particular bring back fond memories) updated with the terminals, graphics, co-op over live and extra Halo Reach additions (MP/Firefight/Forge).
Is it worth the nostalgic trip and price tag if you already have Reach and played the original CE is more of a no than a yes, but only you can decide for certain.
For those that haven't played the original, i would suggest it so you can grasp a fuller experience of the story especially if you have played the other Halos and want some blanks filled in and clues to Halo 4.
Halo fanatics will undoubtedly pick it up anyway wink

Final Overview
Though its an old game that was an icon of fps evolution providing a solid campaign and gameplay in a new skin, the ability to change between the old and new mainly gives you more of an appreciation of the progress of graphics in gaming over the 10 years and gives 343 the groundwork for doing a good job on Halo 4 and showing that the series is in capable hands.

The only difficulty is rating a pretty good old game trying to be new, and as 'updated' as it is and chucking in a portion of the well produced Halo Reach multiplayer at the same time there isn't enough new or improved to make it a must have.

The campaign as a stand alone with all its upgrades and added bits is 3.5/5 but the Reach multiplayer component edges the overall rating to a 4 in terms of content and quality.

Edit: Grammar improvements, fleshed out sections, changed introductory paragraph.

As always any constructive criticisms are welcome in the comments.
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senor scientist
211,498 (129,945)
senor scientist
TA Score for this game: 1,302
Posted on 10 January 13 at 11:02
This review has 7 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
I recently acquired the anniversary edition of Halo CE and trucked my way through it. First things first: When it comes to the original game for the original xbox, I was never much of a fan. I didn’t care for the campaign, but loved the LAN multiplayer. The xbox took the ideas of the best selling FPS games on the Nintendo 64 and (in my opinion, to a lesser extent) PS2 and transformed them into a truly next generation idea. Halo could still run the split screen gameplay like it’s forefathers, but also evolved with the technology to allow gameplay with other systems nearby and (unofficially) afar.

Despite my love for the multiplayer, I did get into some serious gaming sessions involving the campaign with my friends. We beat the game co-operatively on Legendary once or twice and numerous other times on the other difficulties. I never was the one leading the pack, but rather following. I was a top notch driver, but never took the initiative on where we were heading next. I never really studied the campaign levels intensely because if I wasn’t playing multiplayer, I was playing something else. With that said about the original, you can now see where my biases are.

I waited a while (approximately 4.5 months) to pick this title up. In the past iterations of the franchise, I had been losing interest exponentially with each release. It got to the point that I have not even played the campaign for Reach (yet). On top of that, I found out that the multiplayer for this game was to be based on the Reach multiplayer and not the original that I loved. Without the multiplayer elements that I grew up loving, I had very little desire to play this updated version. Obviously, I did purchase the game and casually played my way through it once again.

The campaign is just as I remember it. The levels are iconic and essentially ingrained in my gaming blood. The weapons all respond, just as I remember. The enemies, with the exception of the hunters, are just as I remember. For some reason, I feel like the hunters are much easier to fight than before or maybe other games’ enemies have made them just seem weaker. All those factors combined, show that this game certainly achieves the goal that it set out to do. Take a 10 year old game; make it pretty and let others that have not yet experienced the beginning, do so or just let people relish in their nostalgia.

The additions that were made to the campaign were slight, but necessary considering the Halo releases after first. There are now hidden skulls to find that activate upgrades (to you or your campaign enemies). Terminals that help tell that back story of the franchise are well placed and hidden throughout the levels.

The game is a true success story when it comes to breathing life into a game that is almost nothing more than a memory. I haven’t played the multiplayer yet because of my strong disdain for the Reach mechanics and gameplay, but that does not stop me from liking the solo play.

What this game makes me want more than anything is to see an anniversary edition of Halo 2. The thing is though, I want the old multiplayer. Perfect Dark in the Arcade was able to bring to life the old maps that made that game so successful and left gameplay mechanics alone. There was no jump button then and there is no jump button now. It is a welcomed sight at that. If they were to add jetpacks and change the guns for multiplayer, I would be deeply offended. Some things just work the way they were. When you try to do too much (Goldeneye: Reloaded) you lose your initial fanbase.

EDIT: I have sat down and played the Anniversary multiplayer experience (for the most part) and so far so good. I’ve only been able to play 3 maps, but I have not been disappointed.
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114,754 (60,860)
TA Score for this game: 1,631
Posted on 17 September 14 at 18:26
This review has 4 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Everyone else have covered the basics of what is good and what is bad. However to get the best out of the Campaign it is probably better to play it in the original graphics and all of the polygons and physics follow those models. One Level where you are flying a Banshee has a wall that is non-existent in the new graphics but you can still fly into it because it was there in the original.

The only other major problem is that the Halo Reach graphics appear to be visually better than those in this game despite the fact that there is a year or two between them, with Reach being first.

Other than that it is a pretty good game that should be picked up if you don't mind a couple of bugs from the original, are average in playing skills at FPSs, and want an easy 1000GS. It should also be noted that the multiplayer is that of Halo Reach's as well and that only the remastered maps are available, so if you have not played Reach and have no intention to but also don't want an uncompleted game on your account then steer away from the Multiplayer.
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All the Tigers
449,260 (212,885)
All the Tigers
TA Score for this game: 1,631
Posted on 21 November 11 at 12:06, Edited on 21 November 11 at 15:15
This review has 14 positive votes and 27 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
At long last, the remake of the original Halo game has arrived. It's got a new look, achievements, and nostalgia, all rolled into one. Grown men were giddy like schoolgirls when they heard Studio 343 was re-making/re-mastering this game, and now all of us can see the fruits of that labor. The question is, is this game worth the $40 price tag?

The short answer is: no, it's really not. But hear me out before you leave in disgust. I have my reasons.

When you first load up the game, you're treated to the oh-so-familiar theme, and clips where 343 shows you how they remastered the backgrounds to make the game new, shiny, and supposedly improved. And if you're judging based on this cinematic, you would most likely say, "Wow, it looks fantastic! I can't wait to play the actual game!"

But then they play the opening cut scene that sets the stage for the game, and you'll be a little confused. The graphics aren't all that nice, it doesn't look as good as Reach or even Halo 3 and ODST, and it's hard to tell if the game defaulted to Classic View. Hate to break it to you, but no, those subpar graphics are what 343 considers "re-mastered." You'll most likely switch from New to Classic View and have your jaw drop at how crappy the game looks now as opposed to how you thought it looked ten years ago.

Compared to the finer detail that Reach has, Halo: CEA is like watercolor compared to oil paintings. Yes, it looks good, and it's certainly better than Classic, but it doesn't look good enough. It looks more like a well-done original Xbox game, or a lower-budget 360 game. And considering one of the major selling points for CEA was the newer looking graphics, 343 really fails in this regard.

Of course, don't get me wrong. It's pretty obvious what 343 was trying to do. They said they weren't changing any of the game coding; they just wanted to bring Combat Evolved to the 360 and give it a polishing. Since they couldn't distinguish themselves from Bungie from a game mechanics aspect, they wanted to differentiate themselves on a visual aspect. They couldn't leave it as it was, and they couldn't make it a visual clone to Reach. They probably didn't want to make the graphics too new, for fear of losing the nostalgia value. The end result is a new but disappointing look.

Naturally, 343 factored in the aforementioned nostalgia value into their sales scheme, and the game really is nostalgic. But that warm, reminiscent feeling will only last five minutes or so. Remember those afternoon cartoon shows everyone watched and loved growing up, but no one watches when they're older because they don't want to see how dumb the show really was? It's a similar feeling here. If you've played the later Halos on the Heroic or Legendary, then CEA's Heroic and Legendary will seem like a joke. Time passed, games got harder, and gamers got better. You probably won't have as much joy overcoming that "one beast of a checkpoint" that gave you trouble ten years ago, because it probably won't give you near as much trouble today.

Now don't get me wrong. This is not a bad game. From a gaming stand-point, it's literally the game as the original. But that's just the problem; the original isn't up to par to today's games. No game would be phenomenazing after a decade.

To sum it up, Studio 343 tried to bring everyone a good re-make with their own feel while still sticking close to what fans love and remember. Sadly, the game play is still a ten-year old Bungie experience, and the touted visuals aren't impressive unless you compare it to that selfsame ten-year old experience. And that's not exactly praiseworthy. Is it worth even the discount $40 tag? Even accounting for nostalgia, not by a cross-map headshot.

EDIT: To all you developers-can-do-no-wrong Halo fanboys, you can just write "I disagree" and vote down this review. It'll save you some time, and help you in English essays. Being concise is the key. Also citing your sources and quotation punctuation, but that's a whole other beast.

Alternatively, you can write your own review of composed as follows: "Haylow iz teh awsumse!" and have everyone say you're a visionary of our time.
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