Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Preview for Xbox 360

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Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary screenshot
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary screenshot

While the single-player portion of Halo: Anniversary is designed as a high-definition facsimile of the past, multiplayer isn't allowed to share the same fate; the original game didn't even support online play, so 343 Industries is looking to piggyback the game into some fancy modern technology.

Enter the competent Halo: Reach engine, which is being employed to sit alongside the rejuvenated campaign to bring some of the series' old maps back to life. But Halo: Reach is a very different beast, with its various armour abilities and a different arsenal, and as such 343 Industries is making two versions of each map - both a devout recreation of the originals alongside a remixed arena.

Which means if you load up Battle Canyon - the new version of perennial classic Beaver Creek - you'll be met with some brand new and scrappy indoor zones in the base areas, which are excellent for some close-quarters combat. Or take Penance, which turns Damnation's famously assault course-like bridge into something much less perilous to traverse.

Of course, two more maps were announced during Halofest at PAX 2011: Prisoner and Timberland, the latter being an arena formerly exclusive to the PC version of Halo: Combat Evolved. I can honestly say I've never actually played Timberland, and I'm willing to wager there are plenty of Halo fans in the same (accidentally ignorant) boat.

If that doesn't mean anything to you, well, consider it an opportunity to take a history lesson in one of the most defining games of the past decade. Failing that, it'll be a good way to juice some extra hours out of Reach multiplayer; Microsoft is pledging to release these maps as separate DLC very soon after launch. Who knows, maybe I'll finally be able to make it to Lieutenant Commander and buy one of those sweet hats.

Also making its return is the original Magnum, with the same damage output - three shots to the head is enough to take down anything in the game. The thing is meaty enough to put down a Brute in a couple of pops, so I can't even begin to imagine the effect it's going to have on multiplayer. It'll be like firing two overclocked DMR's sellotaped together.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary screenshot

Alongside the remixed competitive maps is Installation 04, a new Firefight level based around the second campaign level of the original game - titled Halo, just to make writing a sentence about it incredibly difficult - as Master Chief and his UNSC cohorts get their first view of the Forerunner architecture running through the planet, but just before they proceed to blow it all to smithereens.

In a slight twist, Installation 04 features you (and any enlisted chums) being aided by a gaggle of AI marines, which nicely hearkens back to the original scenario from the game. It would be unwise to rely on them too much, however, but they make some excellent cannon fodder here and there when you need to dash back and grab a health pack.

The attention gone into recreating Halo: Combat Evolved is unquestionable. 343 Industries clearly has the utmost respect for the series' iconic foundations, and to see this bleed over to the multiplayer side of things is a very positive sign.

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Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice preview Martin, but come on now: "as Master Chief and his USMC" UNSC. ;)

Cannot wait to get my hands on the multiplayer at GAMEFest. I like how they are catering for the fans who like to see the classic maps return in their former glory. I think Halo: CEA is a must title for any Halo fan. Roll on November 15th!
Posted 15:42 on 07 September 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 15/11/2011
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 1,638 7
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