Review by Auto2112
"Is it as good as the X-Boxers make it out to be?"
Halo is a game i've detested for ages. Without even playing it! I read loads of reviews across multi and single format magazines, read them here on gamefaqs and gamespot, and all I could get out of them was that you basically ran around shooting a lot of samey enemies, while every now and then getting into the odd vehicle, and supporting allied soldiers while ya were at it. It didn't sound inspiring but these same reviews were praising this game to the high heavens with 90+%'s, 9/10's, 10/10's, 5/5's, and i couldn't fathom it. But it was also on X-Box, a system I have no love for and so I knew unless it was released on another console in the future that i'd never get to play it.
This week, Halo got released on PC. I was over-joyed. For one, I wouldn't have to use a joypad (Unless I wanted to) like they do on X-Box, and I could also give my PC a ruddy good challenge, see if it was up to what its specs bragged about. And what did I find from playing this X-Box classic?
The graphics aren't the best. The landscaping of the levels is far too smooth for instance, and all the hills follow the same smoothed off fashion. Hills and mountains that don't look craggy? Then again, this IS an alien world so I suppose anything goes...
The character models aren't too bad. People seem to be raving about the enemies and criticising the humans, but I'm the other way round. I loved the way the humans looked, especially their faces. The animations of them using their weapons and hopping into any vehicles with you I was also happy with. The aliens on the other hand... you've got about 3 or 4 different style of aliens, which have different colours to show different alien strengths. And that's about it. Nothing else really...
Overall it does look good. They're not the best i've seen. I can reel off Soldier of Fortune, all the incarnations of Half-Life, and Quake 3 as looking better than Halo, but also which don't need as high specs to run their games. That's what's weird with Halo. Ya need a really good pc to run the game and yet ya feel like there's not a whole lot to show for it, especially when compared to older games which look better but with smaller demands on your pc. Strange.
Oh, and get a load of looking straight up to the see the opposite side of the 'Halo'. That always pleases me. :D Nice background work boys.
I expected a whole lot more than this. It really is the best example of a generic shooter... well, maybe behind Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, but it's up there. The addition of allied soldiers running round with you, vehicles, and vast landscapes are nice touches, but it still doesn't change the gameplay much. You ARE just running / driving round looking for your allies, and every now and then stopping off to go do some shooting. It becomes a bit samey after a short while. Funny thing is, the short tutorial you go through at the start feels really fun, and yet once you get into the game, it just feels like everything falls down around you and you're left to just shoot your way out for your life.
it's a shame because it feels good to play. the controls are simple and the weapon system makes it feel more sensible. Remember in half-Life you could have about 20 weapons and it'd change nothing physics wise? Well Halo took this into consideration and so only allows you the two weapons at anytime, meaning you have to swap weapons with ones on the floor if you want a different one. I loved this touch, made the game feel more realistic (If you can call Halo's storyline realistic :P)
It's nice. Simply nice. The music kicks in at the right moments, instantaneously changing the mood you're playing in. The sound effects are fine as well, and the voiceover work for both humans and aliens is great. It did sound strange hearing the aliens talking english, but again, this isn't a game looking at creating realism so I guess I can let that go.
Not a whole lot else I can say. It doesn't get a 10, because sometimes it feels silent. And when you're running around for a while encountering nothing, the game feels boring, and not hearing anything at all sometimes adds to the feel of isolation. i don't wanna feel isolated when playing a game, especially if i'm not supposed to!
I might have given this game a higher score for its lifespan, but i haven't completed it fully yet, nor have I tried the multiplayer, so see my score as a score for the single player only.
The reason it only gets a 6 is because it DOES get boring, and it feels extremely samey at times. Which is a shame, because it was hyped up to be more than i have experienced while playing the game on my pc. It';s enjoyable, but i think i'll stick to my pre-2000 FPS's for my shooting enjoyment and thrills. Becuse Halo doesn't offer anywhere near the greatest experience of field combat that is on offer for your PC.
Rent or Buy?
Well as PC games usually aren't rentable, i'd say buy ONLY if FPS's are your no.1 genre. Cos if they are, you'll love this. But if they're not, i'd go round to a friend's house to play this first, see what it's like. Because you could find yourself vastly disappointed by this extremely over-rated X-Box port. That's not to say it's bad, it's just not the best that's all. And considering I have given it 7, it sounds like all i'm doing is just trashing the game!!!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/03
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