Review by spartan911

Reviewed: 11/27/04

This is definatly one of those rare must-have PC games.

Halo: Combat Evolved for PC
Introduction: Halo: Combat Evolved is a Science Fiction First Person Shooter that takes place in the year 2552, on the mysterious planet Halo. It’s produced by Bungie, Gearbox and Microsoft Games, and it’s a port from the X-Box version. It has 2 Game-modes, single-player and online/LAN multi-player for up to 16 players.

Gameplay, 9/10: The gameplay is a basic, straightforward sci-fi based shooter. The controls are very good, well balanced and easy to change. It takes some time to find the right settings but with a normal WASD configuration and a medium look-sensitivity you can start right away.
Both single and multi-player feature various vehicles that can be used, and driven easily and handle realistic, so they will rollover when you take a sharp corner. They take a major role in most multi-player games. It doesn’t get repetitive very fast so you wont get bored easily. It’s quite realistic cause you can use your weapons for melee combat, and you can only carry 2 weapons at a time.

Story, 9/10: If I had to give a short description of the story it would be something like this: “Aliens want to destroy the world, you have to prevent them from doing that, and save the world”. This sounds very boring and standard, because 90% of all the cheap, standard sci-fi shooters have a story like that. BUT, this story is way more intelligent and interesting then it sounds, and it looks like there’s been a lot of work put in to it. I can’t tell you much about it without posting spoilers, but I can tell you, you’ll like it.

Graphics, 9/10: Excellent, the graphics are impressive and add a lot to this game. The aliens look real, the vehicles and weapons are detailed, explosions and character movements are very well animated and there’s many more eye-candy. This is of course quite important in an FPS game, certainly if it takes place 500 years from now. The environment looks great, especially the outdoor levels. The only commonly heard comment is that the indoor levels consist of huge numbers of identical rooms and hallways. But it makes sense cause the planet Halo was not built to impress visitors, but for a completely different purpose, and the indoor levels fit in the mood of the game. There are a few times when I see a dark hallway, and I don’t want to enter it, but then I realise that I have to, you get so sucked into the game that you forget everything around you. If you own a high-end PC, turn the graphics on the highest level, and you’ll be amazed.

Sound, 8/10: The music is very original, cause you don’t expect a monk chanting quire in an action game like this. But amazingly, it sounds great. Of course, there is also fast, aggressive
music to get your adrenaline flowing at certain points in the game, and they get stuck in your head for a week. This is one of those games where you just have to turn the music volume on full. Now, about the other sound, this is also done very well. The guns, the vehicles, the explosions and even footsteps, all very detailed and they perfectly match the graphics. Another good point is the voice acting, the Master Chief sounds human instead of macho like in most shooters, and so does Cortana, the talking AI that’s built in your suit. The enemies really sound alien-like, some of them speak English backwards and sped up which sounds really cool.

Multi-player, 9/10: The X-Box version missed it, this game has it. 5 different gametypes and you can make your own, 19 maps, up to 16 players, 5 different vehicles and 10 weapons. Both available on LAN and Internet. This is undoubtedly the best part of the game. It’s just wonderful to try out your hard won skills on human enemies, of various skill-levels and different tactics. Driving over people in a Warthog, sniping someone over a large distance, and bombarding someone from the air with a Banshee. Amazing.

Single-player, 8/10, 10 levels and 4 Difficulties, Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary. This is one of the only games I’ve played where Easy is easy but still a challenge, where Normal is still do-able but not completed easily, and where Legendary is really legendary if you ‘re able to beat the game on it. The first time you play this, you’ll be amazed by the story, the next few times, it’s more about the graphics and level design but it’s still good. In my opinion one of the best single-players ever, and you certainly shouldn’t forget about this, although the multi-player is very tempting once you’ve played it.

AI, 8/10, The enemies in this game are really smart. They'll evade grenades, make evasive maneuvers and try to attack you from behind. Sometimes, even 3 or 4 aliens can be a real threat to your health, unlike in most games. Your allies seem a lot less intelligent and can even be dangerous to you. I've been driven over by a few, stepped on their grenades a few times, and they often run in your line of fire, one of them gets killed, and then they all turn and attack you, which is very annoying. But they can't really help it, they're only human.

Replay value, 9/10, No really, I’ve been playing this game for more then 6 months now, and I still like it very much. It doesn’t ever get boring to me. The multi-player is different every time, and the single-player on heroic is challenging at the least. I’m looking forward to the day Halo 2 comes out on PC. It’s a pity they didn’t put in the Co-op mode from the X-Box version, but the online play is even better.

Final recommendation Rent or Buy?
Do I really still have to do this? Well ok:
BUY! NOW! QUICK! IF YOU HURRY UP, YOU CAN STILL MAKE IT BEFORE THE SHOP CLOSES! Besides, it’s only $20 now and it sure is worth it. Although I recommend a broadband Internet Connection, cause dial-up really gives lag. If you are in doubt, download the trial version, and you’ll be able to try both single- and multi-player.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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