Wondering if Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition is more than just a revamp? On November 15, 2011, a most impressive event took place in the Xbox world – one I was scarcely aware of at the time because of pressing work obligations and an assortment of other distracting factors. I’d been a fan of the award-winning Halo series from Halo: Combat Evolved through the next two titles in the original trilogy. Like many enthralled Halo fans, I was increasingly impressed by advancements to the graphics engine and by the way I wanted all the musical scores on a CD so I could listen to it while driving. Halo was phenomenal among so many predictable and rather ordinary first person shooters. It was more than soldiers in fatigues fighting unspecified anti-American forces in foreign lands on Earth. Halo brought an infinitely more sophisticated storyline to the genre with its futuristic plot involving alien cultures seeing to rid the universe of a plague by eliminating its hosts: humanity. How I could have overlooked the release of a completely re-designed version of the title that started it all still confounds me when I think about it – and yet, that’s exactly the way it went down. For whatever reason, I wasn’t paying attention and it completely got past me. I didn’t even hear about it until the height of the holiday gifting season, and by then I was too booked with social engagements to steal a few hours revisiting an old favorite game despite the glorious enhancements I’d heard about.
I decided to save it for spring. I put it off again in March, and then again in June. It wasn’t until last weekend that I finally found myself with some truly free time. It was impulsive when I parked my car outside of Best Buy on my way home from work one evening. I wasn’t even sure when I went inside why I’d gone. I just sort of roamed my favorite isles, looking at cameras, accessories for my iPad, DVDs. Before I knew it, I was in the Xbox game region of the store. My eyes were almost magically drawn to the title I’d been putting procrastinating about for half a year. They settled on a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and something went off in my mind, a craving. I bought a copy and took it home with me, and that half hour commute never seemed to take so long. What was so exciting about this? I’d played the original Halo: Combat Evolved. How much better could it possibly be?
Within a couple of hours, I began to realize that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was so much more than an improved old game from long ago. The graphics were now stunning, yet not unfamiliar. The story was enhanced with additional maps. There were all sorts of little Easter eggs to find throughout this version of the game that it truly kept my attention for most of the weekend. I’d expected to be at least mildly impressed based on friends’ descriptions of their experiences with the game. Instead, I felt like I’d never really played the first game before at all. I had, after all, never played it like this. The purpose of this article isn’t to provide a technical review of a game that’s been out for nearly a year since that’s all been done. Rather, I hope it will encourage any fans of the original franchise titles who haven’t played Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to check it out. The long wait for Halo 4 won’t last much longer, but you might as well enjoy this while it does.
Got any fond memories of playing the original Halo trilogy you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.
Melonie McLaurin is a technology blogger employed by ADT. Her favorite topics include gaming, Android devices, and stuff made by Apple in Cuppertino. Follow her on Twitter: @meloniemclaurin