Customer Reviews: Halo: Combat Evolved
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on November 16, 2001
Half-Life really didn't INVENT the sci-fi first-person shooter, but it sure did succeed at doing it well and popularizing the genre. The Playstation 2 had their stab at it known as Red Faction (a first-rate game, might I add) and now XBox is boarding the gravy-train with Halo. And I can safely say, after playing more 1st-person shooters than I care to mention, that Halo is a smashing success, as well as a benchmark by which future progress will be measured.
The graphics, though not running at the desired 60 fps, are still enough to make you stop and simply scan around using the right analog stick. The worlds in this game are awe-inspiring, as well as chock full of landscape objects and detail. And some of those landscape items make all the difference in the world. THIS is really where Halo shines, because you no longer need to stand toe-to-toe with an enemy to combat it, nor do you need to play peek-a-boo around walls & corners. Success at Halo depends on using the terrain & surroundings to your advantage as you progress. Duck behind a rock, circle around the rock to the nearest tree, sprint across to an indentation in the cliff face, the plethora of objects makes fighting so much more realistic and fun.
And it isn't only the terrain that makes it interesting, the enemy AI is extremely logical and doesn't pull the typical "charge right into you at gunpoint" or the "run around without any clue or reason to where I'm going." If you duck behing a tree, the opposition fire ceases, but take a peek and expect some fire to come your way. It's so simple, but rarely has the enemy AI been done this well to the point where it looks like they are following some sort of battle plan. And that goes for your backup also. The good guys will fall in behind you, lay down cover fire, strafe from point to point, and generally act like a real combat battalion instead of like simple cannon fodder. Refreshingly accurate!
The only disappointments are a fairly limited roster of enemy unit types, some atrocious control on the jeep-type vehicle, and the fact that often you won't really be informed of exactly what needs to be done next, though the game remains linear enough that aimless roaming does not last too long.
The XBox hype machine has been in high gear for this particular game, and rightfully so. It is certainly the launch title to have for the system (like Soul Calibur was for DC, and SSX for PS2) and is so far THE killer-app for the XBox. If you are at all inclined towards the 1st-person shooter genre, then by all means this should be at the very top of your must-buy game list.
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on August 15, 2002
I've read most of the reviews here and have decided the majority are written by 12-24 year olds with various levels of game insight and spelling skills.
I'm a fifty-seven year old dad and a 30 year veteran of corporate wars, so here's my take on Halo.
I don't know squat about too many other video games (note to A Gamer - MS didn't pay me off, but I would take it if they did. So should you.), I wouldn't know a pixel from a fractal whatchamacallit, and I only use the word awesome to describe sunsets or God. But one thing I do know, Halo is extraordinary. Playing it alone or with a comrade is pure enjoyment.
Those evenings when I come home from another sortie into the jungle of work, I can pop in Halo, kick back, and blow away several hours of stress build-up by blowing away hundreds of those scabby bi-pedal creatures shlumping menacingly toward me at every turn (note to self - cancel meeting tomorrow with Marketing). Dude (excuse me), trudging across that dark frozen landscape with machine gun at port arms wary of an ambush, kneeling with the rocket launcher leveled at a Covenant tank, fighting my way through the Library, the Pillar of Autumn, the Covenant starship, driving a warthog on the beach, flying a banshee in the mountains, skulking through corridors, tunnels, and over bridges,...
Bottom line: Halo is guy therapy. (note to self - try to get out more.)
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on July 27, 2003
Hey, all of the reviewers who gave this title 5 stars can't be wrong or misguided. HALO is simply the best game ever created, on any platform (PC, PS1/2, Nintendo, what have you).
The graphics are lush and gorgeous, with an attention to detail that I have not seen since. Fire a slew of bullets at an enemy and spent rounds not only fly off your gun, but also stay on the ground. Blast marks, errant bullets, and blood stains all stay on the environment map, which can leave maps looking like real battlefields after a particularly intense game. Draw distances are also phenomenal, allowing players to pick off enemies from across the map with confidence (an no small amount fo skill).
The sound is terrific as well, as bullets, grunts, and other ambient noise all add to the atmosphere. Playing this game with surround sound is simply awesome.
The single player campaign is also great, and offers players of every skill a good challenge. Legendary is exactly what it sounds like, and beating the game on that level is quite a feat. A great advantage of HALO's campaign mode is the ability to team up with a friend and take out the Covenant as a team. The A.I. is also excellent. The enemies are challenging without 'cheating' (essentially becoming inhuman and never missing), which is what commonly happens on other games at the upper levels.
Another of HALO's strenghts is the fact that it is a *tactical* shooter, meaning that the player must use good strategy to survive. Being able to only carry two weapons at a time really drives home this point, and means that players will have to make sacrifices in order to carry an effective all-around combination of weapons. Vehicles are also great, and although learning to drive them can be a little frustrating at first most people catch on fairly quickly and are able to go around running their opponents over in short order.
HALO's controls are also excellent--easy to learn, with lots of customizable options making them accessible to players of all levels. This is hearsay for a hardcore PC shooter fan like myself, but I prefer HALO's controls to the mouse/keyboard setup on the PC (yikes!).
Finally, where HALO really shines is in multiplayer. With several different game types to choose from, customizable options affecting scoring, respawn time, weapon/vehicles available, etc... you and your friends will be coming back for more. No matter how good HALO is as a single player game (and it is very good), it is elevated to Best Game Ever through multiplayer. There's nothing quite like getting together 7 other friends and blasting each other apart. No X-Box live support, but it is possible to play online (with some patience).
The praise could just go on and on... If you have to get one game for XBox it has to be HALO. Accept no substitutes.
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on November 22, 2001
Welcome to the world of Halo, where one supreme genetically enhanced human must fight to save the fate of the universe. You and your friends can play co-operative in the fight against the Flood and the Covenant. Play with your friends in split-screen versus matches that unleashes the almighty power of the Xbox to set a limit of 16 players, which can play simultaneously through either 4 Xbox's and 4 T.V., or through the internet.

First, Halo introduces a new meaning of how FPS (first person shooters) will be played. In the past Goldeneye intrigued many with it's cache of weapons that let players battle each other with the classic Bond theme. Perfect Dark set new standards of the numerous customizable ways to play. Red Faction incorporated fast-paced action that let one pound right through walls with explosive weapons. Halo has set the standard with all of the great ideas of the past now combined with a power gaming unit- the Xbox.

Second, in multiplayer players can choose pre-made game styles or customize their own type of game play. You get to choose to play either head-to-head, free-for-all match, or teamed play (the best choice). Teamwork is the factor of Halo. Players can choose to play with vehicles that include the Warthog- a all terrain mean machine truck that has the capacity to seat one driver, a gunman operating a swivel 3 barreled machine gun, and another can take the passenger seat and still shoot the weapon in their inventory. The Scorpion tank is doomsday machine of monstrous proportions- it can seat up to 5 people, 1 driving the tank that can shoot the cannon or shoot the secondary machine gun, 4 other passengers are seated on the outside exposed and can shoot their inventory weapon. The ghost is face light vehicle equipped with dual mounted plasma guns which only seats one person.
Third, if you're short of other players or just want to pump up the fun factor then you're in for a surprise. The power of the Xbox provides Internet game play only through broadband. Simple hook the Ethernet card to your DSL or cable modem with a Ethernet cord and prepare to enter a revolutionary way a of game play action. Team up in dividends of 2s, or 4s to fight each other to the maximum of 16 players that can play simultaneously.
In conclusion, if you enjoyed Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Red Faction, or any other addicting FPS, then consider playing/renting/ or buying Halo. Get ready you are in for the ride of your life. Take the step into the future of gaming.
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on November 25, 2001
I played this at the mall and wow. This game has awesome graphics, even better gameplay and (supposedly) has 26 multiplayer modes. There is also a huge variety of weapons including the assault rifle, and the energy rocket launcher. You can even jump into tanks and covenent fliers and blow some covenent scum right off the surface of HALO (the alien ring world where the game takes place.) You dont even have to rent this game; JUST BUY IT. It will undoubtedly be the best $[] you'll probably ever spend. This game also has a compelling story line which keeps you hooked to this game for hours at a time. the enemy is actually "smarter" than they are in most games. In the higher difficulty levels, the enemy knows when thier out-gunned and they hide and ambush you. if you throw a grenade, they'll run for cover. This game is so realistic, when your done playing, you'll feel like you were just on HAlO (especially with dolby digital surround sound.) It (gasp) even has a co-op mode which lets you and a friend take on the covenent together. This game isnt worth $[], its worth A hundred! get this game with your xbox, you wont be sorry.
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on April 18, 2002
Halo's a first person shooter. Which means that from a first person perspective (mostly), you shoot stuff. The formula hasn't changed a whole lot since Quake's addition of the real third dimension, but Halo's beauty lies in its execution. The game world provides an interesting place to fight, from its wide-open meadows, to cramped, claustophobic internal corridors. The AI, both enemy and friendly, is some of the best ever seen. The Covenant soldiers, your fellow inhabitants on Halo, will outflank you. They will chase you. They will bring reinforcements, they will gun you down, and they will laugh at and mock your still warm corpse. The little cowardly grunts will run and scream, and panic appropriately, when you stick a plasma grenade on their face. The friendly AI will not only realistically follow you and augment your offensive capabilities, but will show genuine anger at fallen Covenant, and flee from friendly fire.
The end result is that while not necessarily revolutionary in terms of gameplay, the execution gives it a revolutionary feel. You rarely feel alone on Halo - whether it's marines fighting by your side, or Cortana (an AI, that's been loaded into your suit) telling you to "Watch out, there's two of us in here, you know?" - there's always someone, or something to interact with.
The addition of vehicles, on top of all this, gives Halo an extra dimension that keeps the gameplay feeling fresh. Hop in a Warthog jeep, with a friendly soldier manning the chain gun in the back, and you can plow through huge numbers of enemies, nigh-effortlessly. Snipe a Covenant Banshee pilot, and their mini-plane will crash into the ground at your feet, and skid to a stop mere feet in front of you (or if you're not careful, the wreckage will take you out, as well). If you're particularly careful, you can even snipe the pilot out of the plane, and hop into it yourself.
All this adds up to a sense of immersion and freedom that are almost unmatched in FPS history (Deus Ex being the sole major exception). While some of the level designs midway through the game can get repetitive, the sheer sense of danger, panic, fear, that the game can create are enough to keep a player interested even wading through piles and piles of enemies.
Every surface is bump-mapped, every surface is beautifully textured. While Halo doesn't feature the volumetric grass found in games like Tony Hawk 2X, the textures on the ground, on the rocks, on *everything* are fantastically detailed. On the Dreamcast, or even on the PS2, walking close to a surface often reveals a good deal of pixelization on textures that cover most large surfaces. Not so on the xbox. The closer you get, the better things look. It's rare that you'll find a mip-mapping boundary, and it's rare that you'll find *any* texture defects.
The character models are highly detailed, and very well animated, particularly the model for the Master Chief. There are very few moments in the entire game, where the animation will pull the player out of their state of immersion - there are few clipping problems, there are few jerky transitions between animations. Almost all the time, things look realistic, smooth, and believable. Snipe a Covenant Elite in the head, and it will crumple, lifeless to the ground, just like you'd imagine it would.
Halo isn't just a graphical representation of a few levels that are tied together to form some mishmash of a coherent story. Even when there are large changes if your orientation between levels (being transported on a dropship, for instance), the variety of graphical detail, and the sense of good overall design always keep you feeling like you're in a *place*, *on* a ringworld, rather than just playing a game set on one...
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on December 18, 2001
Cooperation, Single player, and Multiplayer battle modes
Variety of human and alien weapons
Many human and alien vehicles
Squad bases combat
Different groups of aliens
Not to many levels
The graphics are just fantastic, both the Aliens and Humans look very real. Also the landscape looks great untill you look up close of course.
Great sound effects and music, I think the music really goes along with the story and makes it feel like you are watching a movie. The only thing about the sound is that the aliens speak in english
The gameplay is another great part of this game because you need to involve strategy to win, and with the vehicles and variety of weapons it is even better. Also they intergrated both the joysticks one to look around and one to move this makes you feel like you are really in the game.
Lasting Appeal:
If you are going to play this game in cooperation mode I advise you to play a harder skill level than easy because otherwise it is too easy to beat and once you beat the game I felt no reason to go back and to it again in normal, but the multiplayer is great so if you got friends get them over and play all the multiplayer modes for hours on end.
Story Mode:
This is the best part of the game because the game includes a great storyline to go along with the game and they even leave it open for a sequel.
Multiplayer Mode:
Here you cant battle a endless amount of aliens or anything but you can battle your friends, so I would say beat the story mode first then just fool around in multiplayer and beat up on your friend. the only bad part about the multiplayer is that you cant put in computer players into the game.
My Ratings:
Lasting appeal-4
Story Mode-5
Multiplayer Mode-4
Overall(not a average)-5
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on November 26, 2001
Having read about Halo when it was being developed for the PC, I was excited to see screenshots and information about the game, and eventually a really cool trailer. When Microsoft bought the developer, Bungie, I figured that the Xbox version of the game would suck, based on my estimation of other console shooters. My friend splurged on a Xbox when it came out and wouldn't stop talking about how cool Halo was, so I had to see for myself. I bought the Xbox and Halo. Once the startup screen came up I didn't stop playing until 18 hours later when my roommate and I beat the game.
In a word? Astounding. The controls took a little time to master, but once I spent a little time (like maybe an hour) they became second nature. Driving was similarly difficult, but once acustomed to the style of driving it was simple, and great fun, wedging the Warthog into buildings to help deliver some extra firepower to the enemies inside. The graphics are outstanding, the water effects being particularly cool, as well as the real feel of the world as a whole. You and vehicles slide on ice, the green lushness of the grass, the white of the falling snow, the raining bodies and debris kicked up by explosions (the sticky grenade effect is hilarious when the grenade sticks to the bad guy's head) all serve to imerse the player into the ringworld of Halo.
The AI is deadly, diving out of the way of grenades and warning comrades of danger as they duck behind cover. One particularly harrowing fight was with the invisible Covenant soldier with his very visible sword cutting down your marines. Difficult doesn't even begin to describe some of the scenes, but as frustrating as it was to die over and over again, I always came back with the determination to lick the baddies one way or another.
Overall this game will be the crown jewel of the Xbox for a long time, and when finally released for the PC I hope it will be every bit as good as it's Xbox counterpart (with a bigger multiplayer component, of course). I equate this game to some of the other games I consider to be definitive examples of computer/video game entertainment. Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, Fallout 2, Civilization (2 and 3) and X-Com are all examples of excellent design and execution, and now Halo will proudly reside on that short short list.
I never thought I'd say this, but Microsoft's got a real good thing on their hands. Keep it up, Bill.
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on November 7, 2001
I played Halo in a 16-person multiplayer capture the flag competition at one of Microsoft's "Xbox Unleashed" parties. I also got to watch a decent player run through a few levels of the single player mode. The biggest issue with any first person shooter on a console is control. Honestly speaking, Halo's control is just not as good as the classic PC mouse and keyboard setup. And yet, for first person shooters on a console, Halo's control is a breakthrough. I, and many others around me, were surprised by how easy it was to adjust to Halo's control scheme. Furthermore, it is highly customizable, you can even adjust the sensitivity of at least one joy stick. I would not be surprised to see claims in the future that Halo's control is superior to the mouse keyboard combination.
Onto the graphics... Evil Empire or not, Microsoft delivered on the graphics in Halo. Halo is a sunny world with bright blue skies complete with drifting clouds. Jutting steel towers hiding vast underground complexes are set against a background of curved landscapes (another words, Halo's engine does curved surfaces and they are not afraid to show it off). All the character models look and move organically and the vehicles, though somewhat derivative of Star Wars, are very cool. I heard some complaints about frame rate from a guy on the losing team of our little competition, but I thought it played smoothly throughout.
Because of the noise at the party, I can't judge the audio, but I can tell you that the game would be worth it with no sound at all. Halo is packed with features, including, I'm told, new multiplayer game types and all the networking software needed to make hooking up your Xbox to a LAN, or directly to a cable modem, a snap. And last but not least, lets not forget that the fun factor is high, after all you even get to jump into vehicles and mow down everything in your path. Basically, I am willing to go out on a limb and say Halo looks like it will live up to, and maybe exceed, all the hype. Buy an Xbox so you can play this game.
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on December 4, 2002
This game is quite possibly the best game ever made. Now i am the kinda guy who stays up till 3 in the morning on a school night to see Commando or Rambo. I am a killing fanatic. Any game were i can feel the carnage i love it.
This game rocks anyway you look at it. The multiplayer is awesome. There are so many game types it makes it almost impossible to choose which one you like. In the multiplayer there are a lot of characteristics within the settings that you can change. Only one bad side though. You cannot ever play with bots.
Another great factor of this game is the co-op. This is the best to play with two people and almost as fun with only one(yes i know it sounds strange, co-op with only one person ur crazy). The different level difficulties enhance your gaming experience even more. You can choose to have fun on easy or really challenge yourself on the hardest.
The single player rocks. No matter what level you play on what difficulty or how much you get beet you'll have a lot of fun. There are so many levels and each contains a new enhanced gaming experience.
The game has a huge selection of things in which to kill your enemy. The vehicles are awesome. There is a 4 wheel stearing, all-terrain, buggy with a machine gun mount on the back(which you can use and comes in handy in co-op). There is a tank that has a machine gun and the usual artillary. Enough of the human stuff. The covenant(alein race threatining human existance in the universe) vehicles are almost as cool. They have what they call a.. a.. i forgot. but it is a hover vehicle that shoots dual plasma rounds out the front and is extremely fast. The covenant also harbor the banshee. The banshee is basically upgraded version of the whachamacallit thingy. Ugrades include being able to fly, and able to shoot fuel cells as explosives. Don't get your hopes up though. The banshee is the only vehicle you can't use in multi.
To move on to weapons. Like vehicles there are human and covenant weapons. covenant weapons are based on energy and batteries so you don't need to reload(except for needler). But the humans have my personal favorite. Good old fashioned bullets. More specifically the sniper rifle. I'm a sniper freak and this game is the best for people who like to nest and snap off a few head shots.
One more last suggestion. I reccomend that if you like to read to read the halo book. Yeah i know it sounds gay but you will never get confused and you will know who and what everything is whether it be human or alien.
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