Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shotgun Review: Halo CE Anniversary Edition

(Shotgun reviews are my one-shot, opinionated, quick reviews of games. I hit you with the facts and a little bit more all at once. Pictures taken from Gamespot and

Hard to believe its been 10 years. Actually, for me, its easy. I was never one that was heavily invested in the Halo games but I do like the extensiveness of the universe. I was curious to see how the new 343 Studios would handle Bungie's baby, seeing as how 343 is comprised of former Bungie devs.
Let's clear this out of the way first: its the original Halo game with graphical improvements, achievements, Kinect functionality, skulls and more storyline added via the data terminals hidden throughout the game. If you played it so long ago on the original Xbox, its the exact same game.

The new graphics are just the icing on the cake. Some things that might not be clear to see with the classic graphics become great to look at with the new. You can switch the graphics styles by simply pushing the Back button and the change happens fast, there is no level reloading. All its simply doing is placing the new textures over the old. It almost seems to be a rush job at some moments. Unfortunately, I will say that the graphics aren't as good as Halo Reach.
There are a few pop-ins, particularly a few Grunts and Elites appear out of nowhere, as well as Sgt. Stacker in the flashback video the Chief takes from Jenkin's helmet. Textures at a slight distance will also have a pop-in effect. Its definitely not fitting for people who get angry at glitchy graphics.

Is it worth playing? Yes, but possibly only for the achievements and data terminals if you're a fan of the story. If you're in it for the flashy graphics and are expecting a complete overhaul and re-telling of the first Halo game... its not here. If you're worried about the game needing Kinect to be playable, its not. The only thing the Kinect brings to it is a library of data from scannable weapons, enemies, and objects. The game can be played without it and its no reason to rush out and buy one. Its just an addition to give more depth to the universe.
As an added bonus, the game comes with a standalone Halo: Reach Anniversary map pack. The maps are remakes from the original Halo game and can be played without the need of owning Reach, just know that you will be missing out on a better game.

*Dodges objects thrown by fanboys*

Hey, hey, hey! Reach is better to me because you actually get to know a little bit about the characters rather than being a faceless space marine! For some reason that baffles me, there was a pre-order bonus that included avatar gear and the Grunt Birthday Party skull. Thing is, you didn't have to pre-order anything. I bought mine from the store with the cardboard box around it. it would be tough to find it that way now so any early adopters need not shell out $10 for the DLC.

The combat is the same as the original Halo, the button layout is different but not a huge change. The friendlies, enemies, vehicles, weapons, and power-ups are all in the same places. Driving the Warthogs are still wonky and floaty. Some small confusion might ensue because things look different but that's practically a moot point. There are some moments where the new graphics aren't attached well and you can find yourself poking through walls.

What it boils down to is this: if you want the achievements, get it. Its cheap and can provide a weekend of something to do. A rental at best.
If you're expecting a grand re-packaging of Halo, its not worth it.
All others need not apply. If the original game didn't draw you in to the Halo universe so long ago then this one will not help any. I've had it since a couple of weeks after release and I haven't even bothered to complete it. Its just not very interesting.

Keep Playing.

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