cpsterndog's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360) review

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Halo Anniversary

Let's be honest. Very few folks in the gaming community don't already have a firm opinion as to the gameplay and mechanics of Halo. As these points have been belabored for the last ten years, I won't rehash them here. For this review, I'll focus on the changes, the content, and my overall impressions.

Graphically, I was impressed to see how much life had been breathed back into the campaign with the new visuals. While watching a play-through of the campaign, one friend noted that this was the game as he remembered it, meaning that he couldn't remember playing Halo with the original Xbox graphics. This speaks well as to how the overall tone of the updated graphics matches with the style set by more recent Halo titles.

The additions to the classic campaign were overall positive. The hidden skulls and terminals give additional reasons to play through the campaign if you've already played through the campaign more times than you care to count. I found that while some of the optional Kinect voice commands (analyze and scan) were interesting additions that gave a deeper sense of immersion, but others (grenade, reload, etc.) did not feel practical and felt tacked on as a marketing bullet point without regards to their actual use in-game.

Rather than revamping the classic multiplayer, the decision was made to use Halo: Reach as the basis for the local and online play. This allowed time and resources to be dedicated to developing classic environments using the customization options of the Reach engine rather than having to try and shoehorn online multiplayer into code that is over ten years old. Additionally, it allows integration with the existing Halo: Reach community via the included map pack code (available for purchase separately for $15) and prevents fractuing the Halo online community.

It was disappointing that the classic LAN-only multiplayer was not included in any form (original or enhanced). As the ability to play 16-player local matches was part of the original formula that attracted many buyers in the early part of the last decade, its removal as an option is puzzling.

Finally, the overall presentations of this package seemed to be a bit rough. The hodgepodge of different component apps that coexist on the main title screen (classic campaign, multiplayer, and Halo: Waypoint) required additional loading time (and downloading time for Halo: Waypoint). Not a deal breaker, but not a truly user-friendly experience.

For Halo fans, this is a 4-star package at $40. The remastered campaign, new addtions, and integrated Halo: Reach-based multiplayer make it a great addition. If you don't like Halo however, you likely won't find anything new to make you change your mind.

Other reviews for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)

    Mini Review: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary 0

    This review is of the Master Chief collection version of Halo. The foundations are here with great combat that requires some thought like it is half puzzle all action. Along with a few nice set piece moments that remind you how much fun it is to drive a warthog or the explosive dramatic intro level that lets you know what you've gotten yourself into. The overall story line is a little lacking but it also has its moments. It is also to bad that all the interesting story bits are hidden in termina...

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