Halo Combat Evolved [Xbox Classic]
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Halo Combat Evolved [Xbox Classic]
GAME-PLAY ALERT: This game has been fully tested to successfully play on your Xbox 360 console. However, in some cases, you may see some minor irregularities with audio/video for brief periods. For more details, see www.xbox.com/xboxoriginals. Halo is a sci-fi shooter that takes place on a mysterious alien ring-world. Packed with combat, Halo will have you battling on foot, in vehicles, inside and outdoors with Alien and Human weaponry. Your objective: to uncover Halo's horrible secrets and destroy mankind's sworn enemy, the Covenant. There are no refunds for this item. For more information, see www.xbox.com/live/accounts.
Although Halo's overall reception was largely positive, the game received some criticism for its level design. IGN wrote that "the middle third of the game basically has ... the same level over again." GameSpy gave Halo a considerably lower (albeit still positive) rating than other reviewers, later placing the game tenth on its "Top 25 Most Overrated Games of All Time" list. The site stated that the levels often "degenerated into recycling the same areas over and over until you were bored to tears" and were one of the few reviewers to complain about the lack of online multiplayer play, though Xbox Live had not yet been launched and GameSpy offered its Tunnel service to enable SystemLink games over the Internet. Noting the level design as a problem, an article on Game Studies.org stated that the game still "triumphs in understanding the anatomy of the FPS," and is "not so much about 'combat evolved' as the subtitle suggests, but about 'genre evolved'."
The fundamental mechanics of the game have also endured well. Jumping is a bit floaty, but the movement and combat controls respond with alacrity. Those who have played more recent Halo games are likely to be impressed with the range of the assault rifle and excited by the chance to wield the iconic pistol once more. Battling against the Covenant is engaging and satisfying, thanks to the enemy AI. Elites are still fierce and agile, jackals still use shields with vexing effectiveness, and even grunts can still get the best of you if you aren't careful. Covenant enemies look more ferocious and diverse with the remastered visuals, which borrow designs from more recent Halo games. The Flood are similarly updated with the grisly, antennae-rich look of recent years, but the simplicity of the classic look feels more sinister and alien. These monsters aren't nearly as fiendish in combat as the Covenant, but their swarms can be relentless and deadly if you don't maneuver smartly.
Like Ninja Gaiden, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time took an early gaming classic and reinvented it in a near-perfect way for Xbox. Platforming and puzzles are the backbone of Sands of Time, with combat serving only as a last resort. Still, that combat was really wonderfully handled, as the Prince was no bulletproof superhero. He wouldn't take much damage before succumbing to his wounds, and so you needed to rely on your wits instead.
If at least one cult classic belongs on this list, it's the Xbox-exclusive Breakdown, a one-and-done science-fiction adventure best known for that part where you eat and then vomit up a hamburger without leaving the first-person view. Stubborn adhesion to the first-person perspective was one of Breakdown's core tenets, but given the game's melee-combat focus, it totally worked.
BioWare made not one but two incredible (and exclusive) RPGs for the original Xbox. KOTOR was the first and it has historically gotten all of the glory, but the second was Jade Empire, an excellent Eastern-influenced epic that took home one of the highest review scores IGN had ever given at the time. It borrowed the morality system from KOTOR but ditched the turn-based combat in favor of a real-time combat engine, resulting in much faster, more fluid fights. It was a classic (and unfortunate) case of critical success and commercial failure, but it's never too late. If you get the chance, play it. 59ce067264