Review by CA99

Reviewed: 03/21/07

Another FPS

I don't have the Xbox version (don't have an Xbox either), though I was somewhat into PC gaming and thought I'd try this out. It was laying around and I didn't have anything else to play.

Controls (9/10):

The controls are fully configurable, just like any other PC game. I found the default a bit unusual, since everything was combined together like on Xbox and some things had to be changed for PC. Most of the controls are fairly solid, but things like being unable to pick up a weapon next to a vehicle (when the vehicle is flipped over) can get a bit annoying. Also, platforms are quite annoying due to the nature of the jump. (though removal of movement in midair makes it more realistic, but due to the nature of the keyboard, harder to control) But for the most part the controls work fine and there are very few situations where the jumping gets in the way.

Graphics (8/10):

Seems to have upgraded from the Xbox (though I'm not sure since I've never really played the Xbox version), and for the most part, works fairly well. Some complain about framerate issues, which are indeed present, and if your card supports shaders, you can't turn then off completely. Also, I don't see why anti-aliasing didn't work in, for everything else I have, AA works through enabling it on drivers, and/or in the game. Also, some character models (particularly the humans) could've been done better. The corpses and blood effects are fairly basic, don't see why it got the M rating, but that's slightly irrelevant. Finally, while the use of shaders was quite nice, the art style is a bit odd for the most part. Nothing too special here, but nothing too problematic either.

Audio (9/10):
Many sounds are a bit dull and don't have enough of the heavy gun feel to them. (though it's really not that bad) Other than that, some sounds are pretty good (like the melee attack), and the music is very nice and usually fits with the mood and/or situation. Overall, the sounds mostly add to the game and the music is very well done.

Campaign (7/10):

Basically, if you don't know already, the year is 2552, and the Covenant, a group of aliens, have been trying to wipe out humanity for the past years for religious purposes. A colony of Spartan-II's, enhanced supersoldiers, were breed at Reach, but then the Covenant went in and wiped it out. You're playing as the only one who survives that attempt, known as the Master Chief (Spartan 117), and are one of few survivors who crash land at the ancient ring planet, Halo. You go through and discover the secrets of the ring. The covenant is composed of several groups; the grunts, jackals, elites, and hunters. Grunts are small and weak, and can easily be taken out with melee attacks or a few shots. Jackals have handheld sheilds and use plasma pistols, and sometimes they charge them up, and are fairly weak like grunts. Elites come in different varieties; they are usually fast and strong, about as tall as Master Chief, and have sheilds just like his, except for the elites in camo. (there are pickups to get camo and overshield for yourself in the game, the camo makes you almost invisible while the overshield simply provides temporary enhancement to your shields) Hunters are large and powerful, carrying heavy armor and a fuel rod gun. To defeat them, their weak points are be shot at, any other part requires very powerful and/or a lot of weaponry to get through. You are, for the most part, working with the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) to accomplish objectives. Sometime in the game, you meet some more groups of enemies to deal with later on.

Overall, the combat can get a bit repetitive, especially in levels like the Library on harder difficulty levels. Overall, a good deal of the game is fighting similar enemies. The co op mode was also removed, and never replaced later on. However, the campaign is fairly interesting to go through and a lot of stuff was fairly well done, even though it's mostly a somewhat typical alien vs human story.

Muiltiplayer (8/10):

I don't know how it works on XBLive, but on PC, with a reasonably good connection, it gets kind of laggy quite often, and when sniping, you have to aim ahead of the target quite a bit, which can take a while to figure out how to work with. The common framerate lag that comes with using the scope (due to the use of the blur) doesn't help either. The worst part of this is the host based system. While it has been helped with dedicated servers, traditional games with a playing host still give the host a connection advantage. No support for VOIP either, but it's not really a big deal.

Many of you should know about Halo Custom Edition, another version of the game; a download free for Halo users that supports custom made weapons, maps, etc. While supposedly limited to muiltiplayer, single player campaigns have also been created. The maps are of course, also downloaded from various sites that have them. Halo CE also adds in a few other extras to muiltiplayer not present earlier.

Vehicles, Weapons, and Maps (6/10):

The human arsenal is quite odd. The assault rifle is very inaccurate (even with single shots), and the pistol has a scope. Being in a futuristic setting, pump-action shotguns are still used for some reason, dispite the existence of automatic shotguns in real life. The covenant's weaponry is pretty much with energy based projectiles, and a lot of the weapons' shots travel very slowly. Nothing unusual here, just lacking in long range weapons.

The vehicles are fairly limited too. The covenant vehicles in muiltiplayer include a ghost (hovering one-man vehicle) and a banshee (low-altitude aircraft), while the UNSC's vehicles present are the Warthog (jeep with turret in the back), and the Scorpion. (the tank) As with the assault rifle, the machine guns used on the human vehicles are quite inaccurate and have fairly limited range. Also, in muiltiplayer, the vehicles are indestructable, quite odd and unrealistic to say the least, and the way they tried to balance the vehicles wasn't terribly good. A shot at a vehicle should damage it, not the shield of whoever's inside...

The maps are fairly standard. There are some indoors for close range fighting while larger maps exist for team games with larger amounts of players. (some of which don't exist in the Xbox Halo) The maps don't get too big (compared to other shooters), and overall it's fairly basic. There are however, teleporters around to warp to different areas.

In general, the weapons are fairly odd and don't match up to the time they were designed for, and the fuel rod gun needs to be cleaned up as it is poorly designed and often not well balanced. (depends on the map usually but this is in general) The assault rifle definately needs an accuracy improvement, as assault rifles are and have always been meant for medium to long range targeting.

Overall, this game has it's fun times, but can get boring and repetitive, and definately has it's share of flaws and strange/poor design and could use some clean up. The port to PC was a bit unclean, and has been buggy (at least for me) several times before. However, it seems to work reasonably well, even on outdated systems with graphics hardware that don't support shaders. However, since it should be pretty cheap now, you may want to buy it, just know that there are some better fps's out there. If you do buy it, be sure to get Halo CE as it extends the game's lifetime slightly and is just a nice addition (and allows nice additions) in general. Halo was somewhat overrated, at least when it came out.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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