No matter how many times you've toyed with it, that sandbox still manages to throw up the occasional surprise. Discovering a hidden camouflage perk, taking a slightly different route to flank enemies, capturing and flying a Banshee before the game hands you one – you always feel you're just skimming the surface of an infinite reservoir of possibilities.
The same is true of enemy AI, which is as delightfully fiendish and unpredictable on the hundredth play as it is on the first. The weaponry is, on the other hand, reassuringly predictable. One of gaming's tautest arsenals, individual weapons provide distinct advantages against specific enemies, from the ludicrously overpowered scoped pistol to my personal favourite, the Needler – its Pavlovian delights all the more lavish thanks to the Reach engine's resplendent explosions.
While the majority of the gameplay still stacks up, Halo's few weaknesses are naturally amplified through the lens of a decade's worth of advancements. A divisive enemy first time around, The Flood's single-minded attack patterns feel woefully repetitive in light of the recent zombie shooters such as Left 4 Dead.
Worse still, the level mirroring as you backtrack from 'The Library' towards 'The Pillar of Autumn' now feels too familiar, enervating the once-epic denouement.
Starting to look up
The sensation of déjà vu extends to multiplayer. Included as a DLC code or available as a separate purchase for Reach owners through Xbox Live, the Anniversary edition brings a new twist to six classic Halo maps through Reach's class-specific loadouts, such as the Armour Lock and Hologram.
The problem is that apart from 'Timberland' – an exclusive from the PC and Mac versions of Combat Evolved – the maps are too small. While there's nothing fundamentally wrong with them, their diminutive size is a poor fit for the new mechanics, so while die-hard fans might revisit those classic maps, the ensuring chaos is likely to curtail their stay.
In the current vogue for remastered videogames, Halo Anniversary edition stands apart. Where other developers milk the cash cow with perfunctory 1080p updates, 343 Industries has lovingly restored the original to a fresh glory. Exhibited alongside contemporary shooters, it's minor flaws may more apparent, and the restoration itself perhaps too faithful for some, but the original Halo remains a captivating masterpiece. ®
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I am very surprised to see that there are no comparison screenshots showing old and new graphics, in this review of a game that is only really an upgrade from old to new graphics. Why the omission?
See, how this works is people do some work to make a product, which they then put up for sale. People see the product, decide whether they think its worth the money, and if so, they buy it. If not, they don't. What exactly is your problem with this?
No price has been mentioned, so you can't be objecting because its too expensive, so presumably you're offended at the idea of someone charging any money at all for the work that they've been doing. Perhaps they should should have done it all for free? Yes, I can see where I've been going wrong here, demanding a salary for my time. I should work for my company for free, live on the street and rummage in bins for food, that would be far more socially responsible.
> Are the PC games worth it?
Personally I don't think so, but YMMV if you can pick up a cheap copy.
The things that made it a great console game tend to work against it on the PC, it just comes of and dumbed down and generic.
The second one is just flat out shitty on the PC. The controls are appalling, the graphics are terrible and it's about as stable as an upturned pyramid.
Wait a minute, there was a price mentioned. Ooops. The point still still stands, though. I probably wouldn't pay that much for it myself, since I played the original, but for someone who hasn't yet played the original, and want to see the start of the story, their choice is the ancients graphics version for a fiver, or shiny new one for £30. Most people in that situation would plump for the latter option, and they would be sensible to do so. I've tried playing Halo 2 on the XBox 360, didn't finish the first level because the graphics were so shit, compared to what I was used to. It does matter.
Quick! get a comment in about all the playstation exclusives coming out.