Review by gamelord12
"Halo was a great game on the consoles. Will it live up to its competition on PC?"
Halo. You all know the name, but have you played the game? You'll hear all kinds of opinions from the fanboys who praise Bungie for making the game to the anti-fanboys who hate it because fanboys like it. Halo on Xbox was revolutionary in a few ways. It gave console first-person shooters a new control method. It created an epic story that spanned across games and novels that tie it together. It gave you open-ended vehicle use. It created an addictive multiplayer mode unlike any other. The question that this review will answer is "Does the PC version live up to the standards set by its brother PC shooters, which tend to be better than console shooters?"
This is one of the best stories in a game ever. It's right up there with Metroid as my favorite. Basically, you are a mechanically and biologically enhanced super soldier of the SPARTAN-II project. The human race is at war with an alliance of alien races, bound by their religion, known as the Covenant. The Covenant believe that humans are unholy and must be eliminated. Along with that belief, they have the firepower to back it up. The SPARTAN-II project is Earth's last line of defense. Unfortunately for Earth, the Covenant found out about this project and destroyed the planet it was stationed on. Stored cryogenically, one SPARTAN (you) known as Master Chief was able to escape in the last ship off the planet. That ship tried to maneuver its way through space avoiding the Covenant fleet. Their ships are faster. Your ship, the Pillar of Autumn, must do a blind jump into light speed. You don't know where you'll end up. It's your only hope for survival. What's this? The Pillar of Autumn arrives at an artificial planet called, "Halo." You and the UNSC Marines that survived your crash on Halo must make your way through Halo and try to find a new way off of it. Explore and discover the secrets of Halo. Destroy any hopes the Covenant have of wiping out your fellow man. You are Earth's only hope. Its savior. Can you handle it? Go.
The graphics are by no means bad; they're just not up to par with what they could be. In 2001, when Halo first came out on the Xbox, that was awesome! However, expectations have risen, especially when PC games are supposed to be far better than this. The Xbox Halo ran at 30 frames per second at a resolution of 640x480. The good news is, computers can go much higher. The bad news? You need a really good computer to run this game at maximum settings, when you really shouldn't have to. Thank our friends at Gearbox Software for that. We are given no anti-aliasing features, which are pretty important on PC games due to how close you are to the monitor, and sub-par graphics. You can probably run it on a low-end computer at Xbox settings, but don't expect to get more. Even with a 1.8 GHz PC and a 128 MB video card, I can only run the game at 800x600 without horrible slowdown. In all honesty, Half-Life 2 has a better chance of running well on your PC than Halo.
Let me just tell you something right now. You WON'T find any other game series in existence with better sound than Halo's. This game has an awesome soundtrack that cuts in and out at just the right moments. The voice acting is top-notch, and the voices really fit each character. The sound effects really bring you into the sci-fi world. What else can I say? You get perfect orchestral and choral music tracks and it fits in perfectly. Sound rules in this game. You won't be disappointed.
The single player mode is very epic. You can really get the feeling that you are an unstoppable super soldier and that Earth really needs you to save their sorry butts. You get to experience some very exciting and cool gameplay sequences and cut-scenes. Here's what makes Halo cool: everything that you'll need to control is already mapped out to your keyboard/joystick/gamepad. In other games, let's say Half-Life, you have to switch to your melee weapon, grenades, and other guns. Not only that, but in Half-Life, you have tons of guns to cycle through. Halo already maps out your grenades, melee attack, weapon change, and weapon fire to separate buttons. This allows you to do all of this on the fly very easily. Weapons are limited to only holding two at a time. This may not sound very good, but it is implemented very well. Not only does it make it somewhat more realistic to a degree, but it makes it more strategic. In addition to this, you have a shield over your health bar. This also makes the game more fun so that you're not always just trying to stay at full health. Your shield regenerates over a little time and makes the game more fun. Here's the bad part, though: the levels tend to get repetitive. Let me re-phrase that: the indoor levels get repetitive. Every outdoor level is well-designed and pretty to look at. The indoor levels look like Bungie just hit Copy+Paste. Aside from that, the single player game is fun.
Multiplayer is where this game was meant to be. You use all of the strategy you developed over the single player game to try and frag your friends in multiplayer mode. There's more than just Deathmatch, too. There's Capture the Flag, Oddball, Juggernaut, and more. I do have some problems with this, though. Due to the overall slow movement speed, sniping is all-powerful. Some levels do tend to be too large, while others are too small. Not only that, but you'll spend way more time with the human weapons than the Covenant because the weapons are so unbalanced. Also, I wish it could go higher than just 16 players. 32 players would be nice. Still, this is a solid multiplayer game. If your friends have Halo PC, that's enough reason for you to get it right now.
Don't buy it for the hype. Halo is a good game. I recommend you download the demo first, though, just to see if you're okay with how well it performs on your PC.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 04/29/05, Updated 05/01/05
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