Way back at the end of 2001, I picked up this awesome first person shooter by Bungie called Halo: Combat Evolved. I spent many, many hour playing LAN multiplayer with my housemates and enjoyed every minute of it.
Fast forward 10 years, and the nice people at Bungie/343 decided to press the HD button, and release the Anniversary edition.
Now I know I’m late to the party with this, but it’s been sat on my Pile of Shame since release date, and only due to the good people supporting the Year of Shame challenge, I decided to play through the game and see if it was as awesome as I remember.
First thing to note is this games does look very, very pretty. With the option of being able to switch between the old and new graphics with the ‘select’ button, it because quite apparent how far gaming graphics have come on in the last 10 years.
Not sure if the audio was updated, or just clearer, but it sounded very good. It may just be the fact that I played this version on my Xbox360 via a decent amp and 7.1 speakers instead of the tiny 2.1 satellite speakers I used back then.
Now my grips with the game. I know it’s a 10 year old game, and looking at it, and hearing it, you’d think otherwise, however it becomes very apparently when you start the play. I found the AI of your allies an absolute pain in the arse. If they weren’t shooting each other, of blowing each other up with frag grenades, they were generally in the way. I’m a huge Halo fan, and I guess I’m just used to the ‘smarter’ AI in later games from the series, but found this frustrating as hell. There were times where I’d jump out of the Warthog to go and attack something, my marines would just jump out and stand there waiting to be blown up. At one point I even attempted to blow up the Warthog to see if I could get them to move, but nooooooo!
The next thing was the level designs. Don’t get me wrong, some of the levels looked amazing, the new textures really made some of the outdoor levels pop. There was a level towards the end which was in a forest, and looked absolutely amazing. However most of the indoor levels all looked the same, and after potentially 30 minutes to an hour at a time running through these very similar looking corridors, and fighting through kill rooms, I have to be honest, I got a little bored. There was one level in particular that drove me nuts called ‘The Library’. I was essentially the same corridors over and over again, with the same enemies that spawned over and over again in the same places. I very nearly stopped playing, but grit my teeth and got through it, knowing I was into the second half of the game.
This brings me onto my main grip…the Flood. What a dull enemy. If you’re armed with a shotgun and a pistol, taking down the flood is like shooting fish in a barrel. I think the fact that the enemy of choice in the ‘The Library’ was the Flood, was the reason it was so painful. Apart from being overrun, there was little to no challenge in killing them, and found them more annoying than anything….especially the smaller scurrying ones that just rush you. Even though one of them would do a little damage, a lot of them can quite easily take down your shield.
I guess my final annoyance was the Kinect support…I really wish companies would stop trying to integrate this, as it just doesn’t work. Simply there’s a list of voice commands, ranging from the likes of Subtitle on/off, Old/New Graphics, to grenade and reload. Not realising this ‘feature’ was in there, coughing, sneezing, or just making too much background noise in the house could trigger any one of these commands. The first time I noticed there was something a bit funny, my cat came in and sat infront of me, I looked at my cat and asked it if he wanted feeding (because he can obviously understand english), at which point Master Chief lobbed a grenade at the wall I was stood looking at, it rebounded and he blew up…..great. A second time, I had the game paused while I was on the phone, I had to repause the game 6 times during the call, and once I went back to the game, the subtitles were on ? At no point during my converstion did I say ‘Unpause game’ or ‘Subtitles on’
From reading the above, you probably think I hate the game, far from it, I have some very fond memories of this game, and really enjoyed playing through it another time with the new graphics, I just wish they’d also have upgraded the AI to the likes of that in Reach or ODST.
All in all, it was good to go back as I enjoyed the game, but it’s honestly made me think twice about picking up any games that have had the HD button pressed in the future, as let’s be honest, gaming has come on a long way in the last 10 years.
Approx Time taken to beat – 12 hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:3/5]
Games TrailerTags: 10 Years, Allies, Anniversary, Anniversary Edition, Bungie, Decent Amp, First Person Shooter, Games, Grenades, Halo Combat Evolved, Halo Fan, Hd, Housemates, Marines, New Graphics, Old Game, Pain In The Arse, Release Date, Satellite Speakers, Score, Shame, Textures, Warthog, Xbox360