Those of you who know me even a little bit will know how much I love Halo. I proudly own all of the books, I’ve watched Halo: Legends several times over, I adore all of the games (we don’t talk about ODST, it’s a myth), and I probably know more Halo lore and trivia than anyone could ever need to know. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty damned excited when Halo: Anniversary came out recently.
The first thing I noticed as the game opened was that the Pillar of Autumn looked like it did in Halo: Combat Evolved, only a little different. There was better texture, and everything on and around the ship looked much more life-like. After the opening tutorial run through the embattled ship, and the meeting with the captain, who looked and sounded great, the combat started.
One of the first things I became aware of? The pistol seems to have been nerfed in terms of how much damage it can do. This was truly devastating the first time I tried using it to take down an Elite and some grunts. I ended up succumbing to a plasma grenade before I could pick them all off. Have no fear, pistol fans; a single headshot will still drop a Grunt or Jackal. I’ll tell you what I missed though, through the years; the assault rifle with a sixty round magazine. Much of the rest of the gameplay is almost the same as Combat Evolved, what with no dual wielding and the like. There was one other gameplay item that appears to have changed, or it felt like it anyway. I noticed that the Hunters were significantly less difficult to fight than they used to be. Whether this is for better or worse probably depends on who you ask.
I also found, through random curious exploration, what are known as “Terminals.” There is one in each level, and they are only found during play with the updated graphics. Luckily, there is a feature that allows the player to instantly swap between old and new graphics by pressing the “back” button. Play beware though, doing this will cause the screen to black out without stopping gameplay, and you may well die if this is done at the wrong time. The terminals aren’t a major addition, and they don’t actually affect gameplay, but they provide some nice backstory. A true Halo junkie such as myself may well notice that the material used for the cinematics comes from the book that tracks the story of the game.
All in all, this reboot was definitely a great blast from the past, but with a fresh coat of paint. Gameplay is still exceptional and the story is still just as compelling. The graphics are improved tenfold.
What do you think about Halo: Anniversary? Tell us in the comment section, we want to hear what you think.