Halo: Combat Evolved
|a game by||Microsoft|
Halo: Combat Evolved is arguably the finest console FPS to date. Originally released as a for the Xbox, it was the one title that made it worth owning an Xbox. Now a bit older and with gamers a bit wiser, Halo has finally arrived for the PC ' but can it stack up with the big boys of the PC world?
Halo: Combat Evolved ' sounds like a cocky title, doesn't it? Believe me though'Halo_ really has upped combat in the first-person shooter genre. Gunplay in Halo is fast, fun, and methodical thanks to both the incredible AI and smart gameplay features. The AI is intelligent and unpredictable on both sides of the gun. Allies are actually useful in Halo, which is particularly nice since the enemies are quite smart, to the point where each fight feels unique. You never know what tactics enemies will use, whether they'll be evasive, aggressive, or just run and take cover. The AI coupled with the health system guarantees you'll be ducking in and out of combat constantly, and meticulously planning your moves. Throw in some vehicles into the mix, and you have a fantastic FPS on your hands.
Halo as a whole is wonderful title, but there are some obvious problems, particularly with level design. You'll think it's either genius or just very rehashed. The outdoor levels are fantastic, but the indoor levels are forgettable at best. Granted, it's not confusing and doesn't take away from the action, but it doesn't match the other ingenious aspects of the game. Halo also moves a bit slower than what's ideal for a PC FPS. Sure, the speed is ideal for consoles, but Master Chief could afford to quicken the pace a little, especially with the precise mouse and keyboard setup of the PC.
Aside from the mouse and keyboard controls, the single player game in Halo is essentially unchanged. Cooperative play has been removed, but in its place is the online multiplayer mode, which is just as fun as it ever was on the Xbox.
Halo has the potential to look beautiful, but you'll need a stacked rig to see it's complete graphical prowess. If you're running on a mid-end machine, the Xbox version will look noticeably better since the textures aren't as sharp and the effects are really dumbed down. On a powerful rig, however, the PC version of Halo outdoes the Xbox's visuals, though the differences are subtle. Simply put, it looks stunning at 1600x1200 with full effects on.
Immersive is the one word that sums up Halo'saudio. From the ambient music to the great voice acting and sound effects, you'll feel like you're the Master Chief from beginning to end. Really, there's not much to complain about here.
Halo: Combat Evolved is a fine FPS any way you cut it. It may not be the pinnacle of the genre on the PC, but it can certainly hold it's own. Unfortunately, there aren't enough differences between the Xbox and PC version to make it worth owning both, but if you missed Halo the first time around, there's no better time than the present to make up for your past mistakes.