I have been watching SSoHPKC play Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach for a while now and started to really like the Halo series (note that Halo 3: ODST is missing from that list, because it is terrible). After limiting myself to watching others play, I figured it was time for me to see for myself. I have had an Xbox 360 for a while now, and while I would describe myself more as a casual gamer, I have also been playing shooters on it. So when I saw Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on sale on Amazon the other day, I went for it.
And after playing it for the better part of this weekend, I must say that was a good choice. For one, the Anniversary edition is really cool, because while in normal mode, the graphics are exactly what you would expect from a current game, you can also switch into Classic mode, so the maps will look just like they did when Halo: Combat Evolved was originally released in 2001. So it’s basically two games for the price of one. Sort of. They also added in a bunch of new features, like skulls hid throughout the campaign. I am very proud that I found the first one on my own while exploring the vast map of the Halo level. This exploring is really fun, actually. For instance, did you know, that on Silent Cartographer you can walk out into the ocean from where Echo 419 landed toward that other island. While water is initially shallow, at some point the Master Chief will be walking under water and even if you keep going for a while, you will not actually reach that other island. It seemed to me like one was instead walking under it. You can also fire your gun under water and it will give of a muffled sound and bubbles. While the exploring is fun, I have been using this handy collectible guide to make sure I don’t miss any skulls or terminals.
As I said before, I am more of a casual gamer, so I have to admit that I have been playing on Easy so far. I am usually terrible at doing several things at the same time or in rapid succession. So when engaging enemies, I often just stand there and when they move I might be so busy with trying to follow them that my shots miss them completely. My aim is also kind of poor in general, so I have to resort to spray and pray tactics most of the time. This obviously wastes a lot of ammo, but thankfully ammo and health are plentiful on Easy. And best of all, you can get many of the achievements while playing on Easy. Others require playing on Heroic or Legendary, but I just know I will never get those. In fact, of the 17 Xbox LIVE titles I have played so far there was just one that I have gotten all the achievements for. That was Voice Studio which isn’t even a real game.
I am happy to report, though, that I have been getting better since I started playing on Friday. Several times now, I have been able to (1) run towards Elites that are themselves running so (2) I have to keep tracking them with the other stick while (3) firing and then (4) using melee to finish them off. Furthermore, I have kind of mastered driving the Warthog without running into obstacles, getting stuck between rocks or flipping over every two seconds and I no longer get lost as much as I used to in the beginning. For teaching me such valuable life skills, I like to think of Halo as an educational video game rather than a first-person shooter. I kind of wish, though, there was a map or something in the game for me to keep track of where I am. Or maybe get the AI to drive for once, that would make things a whole lot easier, too.
Anyway, I now have five out of ten levels finished, so maybe by the time Halo 4 is released this fall, I will be a Halo pro. Or maybe not. Actually, make that probably not. I think I will be watching that one, rather than playing it.
Fun fact: The original release of Halo almost coincided with my 18th birthday.