That music. That grandiose, swelling battle anthem that gets you anxiously leaning toward your television, the hair rising on the back of your neck and the blood pumping, readying you to take the fight to the alien forces of the Covenant all over again. I only needed to hear a few notes of that famous Halo music while the game loaded up for the first time to get me in the zone to revisit a title I haven’t played in nearly a decade.
The Halo franchise means many things to many different types of gamers. For me, it changed the way I look at console first-person shooter; it got me to buy into Microsoft being a serious gaming console contender; and, most important of all, Halo introduced me to some of my absolute best friends in real life. In a nutshell, I owe a Wookie life-debt to a video game called Halo.
And I’m definitely not the only one.
So for the franchise’s 10th anniversary, Microsoft decided to celebrate Halo’s birthday in style with a remastered version of the original classic, developed by 343 Industries. The company set out with one absolute going in: don’t fix what ain’t broke, and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary stays absolutely true to that motto. This remastered version of Halo plays exactly how you remember the original Halo on Xbox playing back in 2001. Enemy A.I. reacts the same way to bullets and grenades, while the infamous pistol is still as powerful as you remember it. Not a corridor was changed, nor any new levels introduced into the campaign. This is classic Halo from top to bottom.
CraveOnline received one advanced copy of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary for the Xbox 360 from Edelman, on behalf of Microsoft. We were held to the embargo date of Monday, November 14, 2011 at 6am PST. Before starting our review, we completed 100% of the game’s campaign on normal difficulty. We also toyed around with all the multiplayer maps included. We did not test out the unnecessary Kinect functionality because the reviewer does not own a Kinect sensor.