Halo: Combat Evolved is one of my personal favourites, so when I saw that Glenn Taylor had written a Reader Retrospective on the very same game, I couldn’t wait to read it. Especially in lieu of the fact that I’ve spent every non-Kotaku waking hour playing Halo: Reach over the last couple of weeks. After seeing the ending of Bungie’s prequel, I felt compelled to revisit the original, which make this retrospective all the more timely.
Take it away Glenn…
Halo: Combat Evolved
I’ll start by saying this, I have only ever played Halo on PC. I know it got rave reviews for Xbox, but I believe it holds up on its own ground for the PC as well. Halo has become a name well known amongst gamers. It’s also become a whipping boy for PlayStation Fanboys, but that’s a whole other story. After completing Reach on Legendary this weekend, I decided to go back and visit Halo at its roots.
It’s Halo. What’s not to love!
The enemy AI. I find the AI in Halo to be really intelligent. Even after almost 10 years the AI is smarter than some current generation games (Wolfenstein, I’m looking at you!). Covenant dodge attacks, Grunts lose all hope when their superior officers are killed… The game is very well polished in the AI department. Bungie has excelled at creating some challenging enemies.
The levels and attention to detail. The size of the levels are massive. Some of the “getting from Point A to Point B” sections are a little repetitive, but for an almost 10 year old game, the size of these levels is something to marvel at. Nothing quite like navigating the terrain of Halo, looking up in the sky and seeing the other side of the ring.
The Nostalgia. After playing all other Halo games, Halo 2, 3, ODST, Reach… Even Wars… Going back to the original is such a blast from the past. Nothing has changed (Except the shinyness of everything). The Covenant look the same, the vehicles look and handle the same, Master Chief… well yes, he gets an armour upgrade, but he still looks the same! About the only thing that changed was the Covenant turrets.
The Music. The Halo soundtrack is one of my favourites of all time. The epic orchestral scores add a very nice touch to the situations faced in the game, from fighting Covenant forces, to your first encounter with the Flood, to the escape from the Pillar of Autumn at the end.
Not a thing! What can I say… Bungie created a masterpiece 10 years ago which still ranks up there amongst the best games of all time. I found it far more enjoyable to play than some releases in the last few years (again, Wolfenstein, I’m looking at you!).
The Flood. Ok, so I lied. I did hate The Flood, but only because I find them so difficult at times! Most of the time I just had to run away instead of fight them.
Hopefully this retrospective will encourage you to go back and pickup your old copy of Halo: Combat Evolved… Or buy it on PC or on the XBLA if you don’t own it already. The game has really stood the test of time.