Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Review
Ten years on
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary is a full recreation of the game that launched the Xbox brand, warts and all, brought up to date with a lovely visual makeover, plus optional 3D and Kinect support. The game focus is on the player bid to bring down a range of highly intelligent alien enemies, and while ten years have passed since it first wowed gamers, this is still one of the best shooters around.
Offering a diversity of action and freedom of movement that rivals its modern competition, Combat Evolved Anniversary gameplay remains unchanged from the original. While there may be a fair few tight linear corridors to blast your way through, there are also a number of impressive open battlefields in which to fight, fly, and commandeer a tank or an alien turret. Single missions flow seamlessly from one extreme to the other, taking you from a bright spacious beach to a claustrophobic underground base and back again with no loading.
The Halo games are renowned for their smart artificial intelligence, and tackling Combat Evolved Anniversary enemies proves extremely challenging and satisfyingly, particularly on Legendary difficulty. Not only can they handle themselves in a fire fight, foes are equally capable of tactical retreats and surprising flanking manoeuvres. If you haven played a Halo game before itl take a little time and experimentation to hone your battle skills, working out the best way to mix up grenades, melee attacks and dual weapons, but the combat is almost perfect.
Fresh coat of paint
Combat Evolved Anniversary has been given a lovely high definition makeover, plus there an optional 3D mode that does a decent job of immersing players with compatible TVs in the game richly designed world. In a lovely touch, a single button press enables you to switch between the original visuals and the updated ones at any point in the game. The original score can also be accessed, and this freedom of choice extends to the control options, which let you use the classic layout mapped to the Xbox 360 controller, or the controls from more recent series releases.
Combat Evolved Anniversary also offers two types of Kinect support. In-game, Kinect voice recognition reacts to almost two dozen words including eloadand renade.Elsewhere, a Library mode unlockable only with Kinect allows you to examine 3D models of items and enemies youe scanned in-game, while voice commands can be used to review cinematics.
The game multiplayer component is a largely excellent offering, even if it could have been expanded further. It features a mixture of six Halo and Halo 2 maps, each with classic and Halo Reach-style variants, and offers squad, big team battle, free for all and other familiar match types in which to test your skills.
There also a new Firefight mission for two to four players, which tasks you with fighting off increasingly tough waves of enemies, while more recent multiplayer features like custom game, Forge and theatre modes are also included. On top all that, you can now play the campaign cooperatively with a friend over Xbox Live.
The quality of the source material and the love that's gone into this HD remake make Combat Evolved Anniversary more than worth the price of admission, both for those who played the original and newer shooter fans alike. A challenging game about a big bloke shooting cool guns at cool aliens in cool places, it still has the capacity to surprise and remains worthy of its Combat Evolved subtitle ten years after release.
+ Some of the best shooter action in history.
+ Lovely visual and audio upgrade.
+ Some fantastic level design.
- Kinect is required to access all the bonus features.
- A few too many tight corridors in some sections.
- Multiplayer could be more expansive.
Review by: Tom 'Master ChiefIvan
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Review Published: 02.11.11