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Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary has been released on 360 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"When Halo: Combat Evolved was released on Xbox in November 2001, it blew everything else away. Ten years later, after many sequels and spin-offs and millions of units sold, 343 Industries go back to where it all began with Halo: Anniversary..."
- Sketchy Gamer (Fri, 02 Nov 2012)
"Halo Anniversary 360 polishes the visuals of the original game to an HD standard, but keeps the gameplay underneath intact. This authenticity is admirable, even when it preserves some of the game's flaws..."
- Story Gamer (Mon, 20 Aug 2012)
"the wider context of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition is, of course, the completion of the three-year transition of the Halo franchise from a now independant Bungie to Microsoft subsidiary 343 Industries (or 343i for those who like their companies to sound like 1970s computers). as such, it's sort of a concept/portfolio piece, except designed by someone who already has the job. and on sale..."
- Tired Gamer (Wed, 18 Jan 2012)
"Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary is both old and new. It keeps the story, gameplay and controls perfectly intact from the original while shrouding the whole affair in the graphical goodness of Halo Reach..."
- Multiplayer Gamer (Fri, 02 Dec 2011)
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary brings the original X-Box game to 360 in HD-remastered form.
Set for release ten years to the day since the release of Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox, this Anniversary edition from Halo 4 developers 343 Industries moves that original Halo game into HD and on to the 360. It's far from being the first time that a classic game has received a lovingly polished update as it transfers to the latest generation recent console, but with Halo still central to the Xbox brand this is likely to be a more prominent remake than others (ed: Similar to Zelda Ocarina of Time's remake on the 3DS).
Remakes of old games have varied in their faithfulness over the years, with some just taking the original's story and gameplay ideas and building something entirely new, while others have just ported the old code and given it a graphical polish. This Anniversary promises to err towards the faithful, to the extent that the new version will run in parallel with the original Xbox code, allowing players to switch between the HD version and an authentic old Xbox experience whenever they like.
Halo was not exactly a neglected cult game.
The original Halo was not exactly a neglected cult game, with over 5 million copies sold worldwide in the lifetime of the original Xbox, so it will be interesting to see whether there's a large audience for a 360 remake. If nothing else, fans who never owned the older console, or who have only jumped on the series with Halo 3 and its two sequels, may be curious to see how it all began.
Even if you stick to the HD version you'll get an authentic original Halo experience, as 343 have resisted the temptation to correct any perceived mistakes in the original, instead keeping the gameplay identical to the original. That doesn't mean there won't be the opportunity to vary things up should you wish, however, there will be options available that weren't in the original code.
While the single player campaign is key for players eager to experience or revisit the start of Master Chief's story, for many players it will be the opportunity to dig into the classic multiplayer modes online with their Live friends that will be the main attraction, and seven popular maps from across the whole Halo series will be included as a bonus.
Success might encourage a remake of Halo 2.
With Halo 4 kicking off a new trilogy in 2012, Master Chief clearly remains the biggest thing in shooters, at least on the 360. If Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary proves successful it might not only encourage a remake of Halo 2, but also a similar approach to keeping early instalments of other major game franchises alive rather than losing them to the hardware cycle.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is released for 360 on 15 November 2011.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: