Feeds
80%
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Bark of the Covenant

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Switch it down

Just as The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition lets you switch between 'new' and 'old looks, so Halo Anniversary Edition allows you to flip between the new and original engines at any point in the game. Simply press the back button and a decade's worth of graphical advancements are undone in the blink of any eye.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Bay for blood

Obvious throughout, those advances are nonetheless most apparent in Halo's exteriors. Take the swamp in the level '343 Guilty Spark', for example. Switch to retro view and it's noticeably claustrophobic and lifeless. Muddily textured trees and mounds punctuate the barren gloom, while a static tree canopy barely protrudes through the surrounding fog.

A quick switch back to the Reach engine and the swamp is transformed into lush, verdant wetlands, where bioluminescent plants light the darkest corners with a panoply of colour and everywhere long grasses and tree branches sway in the breeze.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Cave of forgotten beams

Strikingly apparent outside, it's actually inside that benefits most from the overhaul. Most criticism levelled at the original centred on its repetitive interiors - nowhere more justifiably so than in 'The Library' and 'Silent Cartographer' levels.

In truth, the new engine does little more than paper over existing wallpaper, but it's transformative effect is nonetheless remarkable. Subtle shades of lighting break the monotonous architecture, while neon wall glyphs and additional floor markers disrupt the incessant déjà vu and minimise the backtracking that plagued Halo's most repetitive sections.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Damson in distress

Of course, a graphical overhaul counts for nothing if the gameplay doesn't stand the test of time. For the most part, it remains as peerless as ever. The evolving storyline - no mere pretext for absurd amounts of violence, no cardboard character cutscenes - continues to grip as a good sci-fi novel might.

And, despite years of innovation and advancement, no shooter has quite matched Halo's gunplay. Its narrow focus might seem rudimentary compared with the complex narratives, objectives and other ancillary distractions of modern shooters, but Halo was always unabashed in relying on scintillating sandbox combat alone.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: Déjà vuvuzela

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.