Review by GawdDawgs
"An All-Time Classic"
Halo: Combat Evolved has been out for the Xbox for a while now, and after 2 years it finally makes way onto the PC. I will say this first and foremost: I have played the game a bit on the Xbox, but I do not own an Xbox, and naturally do not own the game for that console. Therefore, I can not compare which version is better. From what I can gather though, the two versions are basically identical, with some new features on multiplayer. With that said, my review for Halo is solely based on my PC experience.
In outer space, you are Master Chief - a space marine with a specially designed suit. You and your team have discovered some sort of relic that goes around a planet known as Halo. Halo has many secrets and you are about to investigate it. However, your ship is attacked by an alien race, known as the Covenant, who are also interested in Halo's secrets. You are forced to crash land on Halo and you must survive and discover Halo's secrets before the Covenant does.
The story is simple, straight forward, and very good.
Wow! What can I say? Halo is, by far, one of the funnest games I have ever played. Period. If you didn't already know, it's a first person shooter, with a variety of different weapons, and even vehicles to drive. You are only allowed to carry 2 different types of weapons in Halo, as well as 4 grenades of two different types (making a total of 8). This provides the game with a little challenge, because you have to decide which weapons you want to take with you. However, it also makes the game more direct and straightforward. You don't have to scroll through a ton of weapons, nor are you only limited to one. There are several different weapon types - ranging from both alien-esque Covenant guns, to a sci-fi, yet somewhat modern marine type of weapons. You can have a shotgun, a pistol, an automatic machine gun, a rocket launcher, sniper rifle, and for the alien weapons you can get strange weapons that shoot plasma rounds and laser types. Also thrown into the weapon types are the two different types of grenades you can throw: Fragment and Plasma. Fragment grenades are your typical grenades that explode about 5 seconds after you throw them. Plasma grenades glow blue and you can stick them to your opponents and also has a wider effect of collateral damage.
Another great aspect to the gameplay is the vehicles. A huge favorite is the Warthog - a jeep like vehicle with a machine gun in the back. Other vehicles the Ghost, which is a hovercraft sort of vehicle, the Scorpion, which is a tank, and the Banshee, which is an aircraft. There are also specially placed turrets you can jump into. The vehicles in Halo are very fun to drive. In some of the vehicles, like the Warthog and Scorpion, you can hitch a ride in the passenger seat, or even take a seat in back and control a machine gun.
You can also get different powerups in the game. One is a shield booster, and the other makes you go invisible for a short time.
Even the AI expresses their own unique personalities and reaction time. If you throw a grenade, they'll likely try to jump out of the way. Sometimes they will run off screaming for their lives. It's really very unique.
Halo's mechanics are simply wonderful! It is a blast to play. Not only is the single player great, but even more so is the multiplayer.
There are several different game types. There's Slayer (Free For All), Capture the Flag, Oddball (like tag), Team Slayer (Team FFA) and a few others. You can create up your own type of game and make your own rules, or play it by the games default. There are different settings you can do too, like for example, you could play a Team Slayer game but make a 'Rockets Only' game. There are many different styles that keep the game diverse.
There are new multiplayer maps, and for the first time you can now fly the Banshee in multiplayer, which was previously unavailable in the Xbox version's multiplayer. Also, the game limits you to 16 players max online.
Multiplayer is a blast! However, you have to have a cable modem or better to fully enjoy the multiplayer experience.
The graphics, even after 2 years of being on the Xbox, are fantastic. The environments are beautifully done, and the character models are astounding. One thing I really love about Halo is it has a really good sense of weight and physics in everything. When you blow up something or crash a vehicle, it actually feels and sounds like you're really doing it.
One gripe I have about the graphics for the PC version is that you have to have a pretty hefty machine to run the game properly. If you don't have top of the line hardware, you might have to sacrifice some of the great detail that Halo offers, like shadows and particle effects. It's not a huge problem, but having to spend more money just to run the game at the rate you want it might get a bit annoying.
The music is wonderful and really sets the mood of the game. Voice overs are also very well done and never get boring nor monotonous.
This game definitely has replay value. Not so much in single player, but definitely in multiplayer. You'll be playing this part of the game long afterwards because it is very, very fun.
Halo immediately became an instant classic in gaming history, in my opinion. This game is, by far, one of the funnest games I have ever played. If you have any interest in this game at all, whether you like first person shooters or simply just science fiction, Halo is a definite buy and will not disappoint you.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/09/03
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