It has been ten years since Microsoft launched the mighty Xbox and set us down on a distant planet with one of the most iconic characters in gaming today, Master Chief. Halo set the bar for shooters on consoles, seeing as it was the launch title for a console that was designed for FPS gaming. The controls were solid, the story was interesting and the multiplayer brought us all together. If you’re thinking Halo Anniversary is just a nice way to commemorate the original game with an HD remake, be ready for much much more.
What you will know before picking up the game is that yes, this is a full high definition remake of the original game. They promised a heightened gaming experience with the free DLC Anniversary maps for Halo Reach multiplayer. Now once you pop in the game, if you follow your instincts and curiosity, there is something waiting just below the surface. When you played Halo ten years ago, did you ever look down a corridor or go the wrong way on purpose just because your gut feeling said “Somethings down there”? Most of the time you would find a dead soldier and some ammo or an over shield. Bungie knows the mind of their fans and decided to reward curiosity in Halo Anniversary. This time if you follow your gut, you will discover hidden terminals planted in each level. Some are just a flashing beacon, others are an “incoming message” on a computer screen, but if you access them you will get to see a short video following 343 guilty spark and his time on installation 04. The terminals give a lot of really cool plot info covering past present and future linking to the sequel. I won’t spoil the details so you’ll just have to check them out for yourself. Happy hunting!
If you don’t own a Kinect, you’re missing out on some sweet features in this game as well as bonus content. During solo campaign mode you have the ability to use a list of voice commands with the Kinect. You can say things like “Change weapon” or “Reload” i had the most fun with “Flashlight”. These may seem gimmicky but they added a scanning feature (guess what the command is). When you are in scan mode everything goes into batman vision a la Arkham Asylum/Arkham City, except for key items and characters which will show as bright orange. You can rest your reticle on these things and say “Analyze”, it will gather information on the object and store it in your library. This will give a complete description and background for you to browse through later. They also offer a nostalgia mode allowing you to switch back and forth from the classic look of halo to the HD version. This is one of the coolest features, just going to different areas and comparing the detail is amazing to look at. If you are using the Kinect just say “Classic” or “Remastered”, otherwise you can just hit select.
Let’s talk multiplayer and achievements. Seeing the old maps really warmed my heart. Playing the old maps with a jet pack sells the game by itself. Everything you remember is right where you left it. The weapons are in the same familiar spots as well as new weapons to accommodate Reach multiplayer. The maps are as follows: Beaver Creek/Battle Canyon/Battle Creek, Damnation/Penance, Timberland/Ridgeline, Prisone/Solitary Hang ‘Em High/High Noon, and Headlong/Breakneck. I hope these maps will inspire people to bring over their TV’s and Mountain Dew for a good old fashioned LAN Party. As far as achievements go, the list got a lot longer with a total of 44, a few being pretty crazy.
One of the more crazy, and nostalgic, is “I’ll be taking that”. This achievement takes place on “Assault on the Control Room” level. This was a little reward to all those hardcore fans doing little stunts or glitches back in the day, one being the attempt to safely knock down a banshee in order to fly it through the level. The banshee sits on top of a platform about mid way through the level and can only be knocked down by sniping or hitting the platform just right with a rocket. Do this and you’ll earn 25 gamer points. Possibly the craziest achievement is “How Pedestrian” in which you must complete the second level “Halo” without the use of any vehicles. This level is long and hard (that’s what she said), if you plan on walking this entire level you’re going to need patience and some serious fire power. The level is designed for the use of the warthogs 50cal, without it you can expect bigger than usual firefights with the Covenant. There are other crazy achievements like finishing “The Library” without dying and in 30 minutes or less. You can check out the full list of achievements once you pick up the game.
Being what it is, I would give this game a perfect score, but not everyone is a Halo fan, and when it first released most people gave an 8 out of 10 which is modest. I will say 9 out of 10 just so the 1% can occupy Modern Warfare.