Halo: Anniversary Hands-On
The old, the new and the 3D.
But what can we learn from playing a game whose advertised is its unchanged decade-old gameplay? Quite a bit, as it turns out.
The very first thing I got down and dirty with was the campaign, and I was immediately struck with how well the gameplay has aged. Everything feels and is identical, but it just goes to show how little the core gameplay of first-person shooters has changed in ten years.
Diving into the 343 Guilty Spark swamp level, everything remained in sync with my memories. And that is not at all a bad thing, with no feeling of aged gameplay and much more active gunfights than the more modern focus on cover-based firefights. No iron-sights for you!
Halo: Anniversary Multiplayer
Unlike the campaign, the only real aspect of the Halo: Combat Evolved multiplayer retained is the map designs.
The load outs, weapons and modes from Reach are carried over as the Anniversary online essentially works straight through Halo: Reach instead of acting as a new game.
Luckily the environments felt like a natural fit for the new features such as jetpacks from Reach, with my session of Battle Creek (a remake of Beaver Creek) providing ample evidence that Reach’s enhancements don’t provide any notable issues with the old maps.
Well, what about the graphics?
Using Halo: Reach‘s engine, Saber have given the game a complete graphical makeover; no simple resolution upscaling and labeling it ‘HD’ here!
Environments looks at least as impressive as Reach with liberal use of ground details such as 3D grass to give a much more populated looks to Combat Evolved‘s large but sparse environments. The grey tones of interiors have been replaced with a blueish tint and made to reflect the styling changes in the series over the years.
The framerate was a bit patchy, but this may simply be due to the preview code we were playing. The ability to flick between current and original graphics with a tap of the Back button was a great addition to truly see how far we’ve come.
I also had the opportunity to play the game in 3D as Anniversary joins Gears of War 3 in Microsoft’s tentative experiment with 3D support. It looked stunning, and played well with the crosshair intelligently moving to the depth of the surface it was pointed at to prevent double-vision when focusing.
The framerate appeared identical to 2D play with little loss of detail, but unfortunately switching to the original Halo graphics returned me to 2D.
So, is it worth it?
To see Combat Evolved as it would appear if developed today is a treat, and the ability to finally play those classic maps online is a bonus.
This also provides the ideal starting point for those new to the series, beginning the series back at square one.
More EB Expo 2011 Coverage
EB EXPO 2011 Review Part 1: The best and the worst Here
OXCGN’s EB Expo 2011 Awards Update 2.0 Here
OXCGN’s EB Expo Huge Photo Gallery Here
Halo: Anniversary Hands-on Here
Impressions of Upcoming Games: Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3 And More! Here
EA’s Peter Moore Faces Rude Australian Crowd Here
EA’s Peter Moore: “We Unite The World Through Play” Here
©2011 Alex Baldwin
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