Monday, April 18, 2022

Halo: Combat Evolved (PC) Review

I finished this game on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 10:20:00 PM. This review was first published on GameSpot on November 2, 2010.

Many people regard Halo as the savior of Xbox, which didn't have a lot of games worth mentioning at the time of its launch. Halo helped Xbox compete with Sony's PlayStation 2. It was released on PC two years later, in 2003.

I have only just finished Halo, and I can see why the game is as famous as it is on console.

First let me talk about the game, which is set in the 26th century. You play as Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced human solider, equipped with regenerating battle shield and accompanied by an AI program known as Cortana.

There is a battle raging between the inhabitants of Earth and an alien race known as the Covenant. During this battle, the space ship containing the Master Chief travels to unknown and random coordinates selected by Cortana and they find a ring shaped planet called Halo and they are forced to land on it to escape the Covenant. This is where it all beings, and Master Chief will soon learn the secret of Halo.

I have never played on console, but I know a good port when I see one. Halo is among the very best, it works flawlessly on PC. The controls are like your standard FPS game, and they handle perfectly. The Mouse/Keyboard combination handles very intuitively, and I never faced any problem with the controls.

The graphics are a lot better than the Xbox version I am told. Judging the game by itself, the graphics are brilliant. I was amazed at the lush scenery and the water effects in the outdoor levels. Everything is polished till it gleams; the bump mapping effects see to that. Some of the levels are a sight to see, the Silent Cartographer level comes to my mind; very beautiful.

Halo is one of the first games to feature vehicles that can be driven by the player, and believe me you are going to do a lot of driving in the game. There are a lot of levels in the game which require you to drive around, and it's a lot of fun. Its not only land vehicles, but the game gives you a chance to fly one of the Covenant's aircraft (Banshee) as well, I loved flying those.

The levels with vehicles are very lively and trigger happy gamers are going to enjoy those immensely and fortunately all the vehicles handle quite well for most part. There will be an odd occasion when they don't, but that isn't a problem at all.

Coming to audio, I first have to mention the soundtrack. I think its one of the very best in video games. Martin O'Donnell has done a brilliant job with the music; it made the experience so much better.

But all is not well with the game, there are a few nagging issues that blight the experience.

The level design in the game can be extremely repetitive, and this is very annoying. For a game which has set such high standards, to employ this sort of dubious ways to prolong gameplay is quite unbecoming of them in my opinion.

Few hours into the game, you have this feeling that you have been going through the same rooms, killing the same monsters over and over, and yet you are not making any perceptible progress. This can be very annoying and it made me stop playing for a while because I got really tired.

The audio can be a little erratic at times. The gun fire is suddenly muted during battle; dialogue is lost when a cut scene is playing, and other such irritating glitches. It will not affect your gameplay too much, but it is annoying.

All in all, despite the problems, playing Halo has been a great experience. It does give you the feeling of being a part of something truly epic.

Some games have this quality about them, they are destined for greatness. In spite of the problems Halo is one of those games.

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