Nostalgia appears to be in the air at the moment, what with SEGA bringing out a new game to celebrate twenty years of Sonic and now Microsoft going all misty eyed over their legendary Xbox-launching FPS with a revamped Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, to mark ten years of Master Chief in action.
343 Industries has given this landmark alien shoot-’em-up a total HD makeover – complete with special lighting effects, improved audio and layers of extra detail – which should make it more appealing to the current generation who missed out on Halo’s birth. However, you can also flip back into Classic mode and compare how the original graphics fared and what is surprising is how well the artistic design still stands up, even in a games culture now used to the super-realism of Crysis and the Hollywood spectacle of Modern Warfare.
The campaign story remains just as engaging and challenging with important tactical decisions having to be taken with use of weapons or flanking when dealing with harder Covenant opposition in the shape of Hunters or Elites. Only six of the old multiplayer maps have been given the facelift treatment but one new Firefight mission has been added and a number of hidden information terminals have been scattered throughout the campaign which reveal more about Halo’s history.
There’s a token (and largely superfluous) attempt to work in some Kinect integration using voice recognition to analyse and store data, plus 3D support but ultimately what this Anniversary edition will do is remind you of why the original Halo was such a phenomenal success despite its sometimes monotonously repetitive wave assaults.
- Vibrant new graphics
- Kinect activity
If you missed out on the initial euphoria when Halo: Combat Evolved launched the Xbox, then this HD enhanced version puts a glossy coating on what is still an exciting and challenging sandbox shooter.