One of Microsoft’s bigger announcements at this year’s E3 was the return of Master Chief in not one game, but two. The game releasing this year is Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. This game is a remake of the title that launched for the original Xbox 10 years ago, and anyone who enjoyed playing the original will surely have fun reliving the game that first introduced them to the blockbuster Halo franchise.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will feel and play exactly like the original Halo title. The game feels this way because the fine folks at 343 Industries have built the remake with the exact same code that Bungie used in Halo: Combat Evolved. The newly remade title will feature some significantly amped up graphics, as one would expect an HD remake to include, but 343 Industries went all out and included an option that blew my mind during our behind closed-doors sneak peak of Anniversary.
Players who are running around in the revamped levels of the original Halo may be curious to see what the area they are currently occupying space in looked like ten years ago, and by simply flicking a button on the 360 controller, players will be transported back to the original Combat Evolved. Switching between the original and remade versions of the game is instant, and requires absolutely no load time what so ever.
The graphics may drastically change the once familiar world around you, but for the most part it will sound pretty familiar. The original voice work from Halo: Combat Evolved has been left exactly the same — minus some slight tweaking they’ve done to increase the audibility of the characters’ voices. Some sounds effects such as explosions have been redone, however, and the world of Combat Evolved has certainly benefited from it.
The single-player experience was demoed and 343 revealed that the over-powered pistol would make its triumphant return in Anniversary. Much of the game will remain exactly the same, but the terminals that made their debut in Halo 3 will make an appearance. There is a terminal on every single level, but now they’ll display a cinematic instead of several paragraphs of text. Hardcore fans who go through the effort of finding the hidden terminals on every level will be rewarded with a sneak peak at the story in the upcoming Halo 4.
While it will be nice to tear through the familiar single-player campaign, it’s the multiplayer aspect of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary that will keep gamers coming back for more. Quite a few of the original maps from the first Halo will included, all in glorious HD. The maps may be the same, but multiplayer will seem quite a bit different then fans remember.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary uses the Halo: Reach engine for its multiplayer, and this means that all of the different perks (i.e. jetpacks, sprint, and armor lock) will be returning. The game won’t feature an extra disc like ODST did for Halo 3‘s multiplayer and maps, but 343 is currently working on a way to bring the new maps to Halo: Reach, as well. If someone doesn’t want to purchase Anniversary, but would still love some new maps for Reach, then there will eventually be an option to purchase the revamped classics maps via DLC on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Now, as many of you are likely dying to know, how much is Microsoft going to sell all of this content for? 343 Industries has confirmed that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will retail for $39.99, which makes it roughly $20 less then the average Xbox 360 game. This price seems pretty reasonable given that the revamped take on the classic game includes achievements, high-quality graphics, Halo: Reach multiplayer maps, and a sneak peak at the story behind Halo 4.
This is 343 Industries’ first take on the Halo series, and if it plays as well as it looks then fans of the franchise will surely love it to death.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will be releasing exclusively for the Xbox 360 on November 15th — the exact same day that the original game launched ten years prior.
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