Halo
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Microsoft
Developer
Bungie
Genre
First Person Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Top-notch enemy and ally A.I.
• Large enivronments
• Great for multiplayer action

The Bad

• Limited variety of enemy types
• Lack of computer controlled "bots" in multiplayer

 
Grade
A

Halo immediately throws you into combat as the Master Sergeant, who is dragged out of cryogenic sleep when his ship comes under assault from the Covenant. From that point, you must get to the bridge for your orders from the ship's captain and then fight your way off of the ship. After crash-landing on the planet below, you fight your way through enemy troops to meet up with your allies. For sci-fi fans, you'll find the story heavily influenced by movies ranging from Aliens to Starship Troopers. And while the story seems fairly standard, the way it's carried out is done magnificently. Instead of going from cutscene to cutscene, most of the story is told in real-time, where your allies talk to you on the field of battle as the lasers and bullets fly.

Visually, Halo looks excellent. Everything, ranging from a large variety of texture-maps to well-detailed buildings and environements help pull together a complete visual concept that doesn't deter from the solid gameplay. Except for the intial load of each area, you'll move through immense valleys and fluid earthen areas that just seem to go on forever. And, to keep the outdoor environments from getting old, you spend a varyingh amount of time inside buildings and underground caverns. The visual effects add a nice touch that really brings the whole package together. Whether it be the ambient lighting of underground structures or the character's own flashlight. Bungie has succesfully managed to create an environment that both looks good and is reflects a realistic world by which you have to plan your combat.

The single player game is a wonderful challenge. The story is tossed in enough to move the game along. Limiting the player to two weapons (plus grenades) might feel a little constricting for those used to scrolling through tons of weapons in your possession, but during the actually gameplay seems to work just perfectly. You can pick up weapons and ammo off of the dead bodies of your enemies. Also, if you want to keep quiet and sneak about, you can walk up on your enemies (hoping that they don't see or hear you) and hit them with the butt of your rifle. There always seems to be a number of options for any point in the battle. And, you won't feel like you're dragging your allies around. Your fellow soldiers fight and think like real people, allowing you to spend time working on strategies rather than just hoping to keep them alive. There's nothing more fun than watching a firefight take place between the enemy and ally A.I. only to sneak up on the enemies and kill them from behind.

In addition, there will be times where you can use vehicles, such as the Warthog. After getting used to the controls, you'll most likely come to enjoy these segments, which aid in breaking up the on-foot combat nicely. Having additional troops load up on the vehicles allows you to just drive and let them do the shooting.

Multiplayer is a blast. The more people (and the more Xboxes) you can bring in on it, the more fun it gets. While there are a lot of games to perform, they all boil down to a handful of different genres. But, if you don't care for what you have, you can always make up specific games of your own. Also, if you choose, you can play through the game in co-op mode, which is great fun for a two-player experience. The only real draw-back in the multiplayer is the lack of NPC "bots", forcing you to have a number of people on-hand to truly enjoy it.

Halo is so well done that my complaints about it are meerly from personal taste. I wish there had been a larger variety of enemy types. Killing the same handful of enemies over and over again could tend to get monotonous if it wasn't for the excellent A.I. and variety of combat techniques at your disposal.

Halo is surprisingly impressive. In fact, the enemy and ally A.I. is done extremely well. Even on lower difficulties, you'll find enemies give you a challenge. They look for cover and try to flank you whenever possible. You will find yourself having to think on the fly to keep yourself alive. Since there is such a huge variety of options, no two trips through the game will be the same.This is the kind of game you play through and then share stories with other gamers about what happened during combat. If you're looking for a FPS that is great for both Single and Multiplayer, you should look into Halo. Heck, if you're even interested in the genre at all, look into Halo.

- - Vane

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