Ten years ago the now iconic Master Chief was introduced to the world in Halo: Combat Evolved. Players will get to relive the classic moments of discovering this new world and universe where humans will have to face against their toughest opponent yet, the mysterious covenant. Bringing a new and refreshing look to the classic gameplay and vision of what the original Halo brought to the gaming world, 343 industries has updated the graphics. If players wish to relive what the original graphics looked like while playing the game at any time they can press the back button on the controller and play the game as it once was ten years ago. I found it to be interesting to find a special location and just change the graphics back and forth between the HD graphics and the original.
Staying true to the original game not much has changed with the story other than some small changes to help blend the story and just adds a little more depth. The biggest changes to the campaign besides the graphics will be the introduction of skulls and terminals to the game. These skulls that are spread across the game in different levels will alter the game to either increase difficulty or provide some laughs, with such skulls as the grunt birthday skull. The terminals added to the game, ten in total, will be movies that will provide an insight to the universe with more details on the events that are taking place and some backstories that will foreshadow new mysteries about Halo 4. Players who want to revisit the unlocked terminals can do so by going to the main menu under extras.
Players being able to play through the classic campaign experience like they once did with four friends was great, but now the game features two player cooperative play through Xbox Live. To keep with the updated feel to the original game it now has achievements that can be earned for different tasks such as collecting skulls, unlocking terminals, and completing objectives on certain levels. While the most game changing element that will be noticed for those who can take advantage of it is the integration of Kinect. Players will have the ability to reload, throw grenades, switch weapons, and more with just voice commands. There is also an ability to take the game into an analyze mode that will ping the environment that the player is on to highlight objects that can be scanned and viewed later in the library. There are a total of forty five objects to scan which include weapons, enemies, and vehicles. To access the library of scanned objects players can either say “open library” or access it through the extras menu. With the library open players will have control of viewing the objects with hand movements through Kinect. The changes made to the graphics and the inclusion of the Kinect technology just shows how far the game has come in ten years and the improvements that could be made.
With the campaign complete there are those who enjoy the multiplayer that was once featured in the game, for those there are the remakes of the classic maps such as Beaver Creek, Damnation, Prisoner, Timberland, Hang ‘Em High, Halo 2 favorite Headlong, and the all new firefight map Installation 04. The multiplayer maps feature two versions, the remade versions and the original classic map versions with the only changes being the updated graphics. Spending some time with the multiplayer maps I was able to remember all the little tricks and strategies that I have developed over the years playing on them. Teaming up with some people I was able to call out locations on the maps without thinking twice and they knew exactly where I was talking about on the map, something that deeply embedded into our brains just made the experience such more satisfying.
Still in my heart as a favorite will always be Hang ‘Em High and having the ability to three shot someone across the map with the pistol. The pistol is back to the headshot damage that players have come to know and love, or hate if you were on the receiving end of the bullets. I was able to earn one of the multiplayer achievements called “Top Shot” which required three consecutive headshot kills in a matchmade game. In total there are seven new achievements to unlock under the Halo: Reach for multiplayer. So party up with your friends and start unlocking some Gamerscore.
Being able to relive the campaign fighting the covenant brings back waves of nostalgia and reminds me why I have fallen in love with the Halo universe. To the first drop from a pelican ship, storming the beach with my fellow marines, to the heart pumping encounter fighting against a pair of hunters. 343 has taken the game to the next level with the graphics and after playing for a few hours I was able to play the game as I did originally to just relive the experience. Being able to traverse the labyrinth of the library without hesitance just defines what an impact the game has had on my memories and playing it again just brings me back to that time. Overall the game stays true to the memories that I once had of it and I can easily recommend this game to anyone who has played the original and for new fans to enjoy it for the first time. I look forward to what 343 industries will bring Halo fans next year with Halo 4; this seems to be just the beginning.