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Halo

Review By:  Dean Tester

Developer:   Bungie
Publisher:   Microsoft
# of Players:   1-16
Genre:   First Person Shooter
ESRB:   Mature
Online:   No
Accessories:   Memory Card
Date Posted:  

12-04-01

Every time I get into an argument about the next-gen consoles, whether it be with the manager of my local Microplay or some random fanboy on the internet, I always hear he same types of things about Xbox. "Its going to be dead by the end of the year" or "You gotta look at the games!" Well, the answer to these arguments has often been Halo. It is the flagship of the Xbox launch, and for good reason.

Halo has had almost all the hype of the Xbox launch, and from where I see it there is good reason. The gameplay is absolutely spectacular, and it has a rare aspect of a shooter in a difficult single player mode. The AI is brilliant, and beating it on easy mode took me over a week. On legendary, I can honestly say it is the hardest game I have ever played. The AI times its grenade throws perfectly, forces you to duck for cover (or else youíll be mowed down quickly), and even one on one faceoffs can be easily lost if you arenít careful. However, the single player campaign does not even come close to the multiplayer aspect. Halo has 26 different modes, all very unique, including the warthog races. As if your 50 hours of single player play wasnít enough, multiplayer has kept me hooked ever since Iíve beaten it on legendary. And thatís just playing with my little brother, which isnít even that good at the game. With the use of the software available at http://www.xboxgw.com or http://www.gamespy.com , Halo and other games are already available for play online. Unfourtunatly I donít have a broadband connection, but Iíve been scoping the chat rooms and there are already hundreds of people playing at any given time.

Aside from the difficulty and the awesome multiplayer mode, what does Halo have to offer? Well, first of all, the gameplay is amazing. Like I said, the AI is brilliant. The controls, although take some getting used to, especially with the Xbox controller, are AMAZING. This outclasses any PC FPS in terms of control any day. The button placement is awesome, and itís easy to aim while on the fly. Another thing that makes it great, is the weapon selection. Sure, it may seem like a small amount of weapons, but each one is well designed, and every single one has its purpose and is good for a certain part of the game. For example, the assault rifle may be good for mowing down grunts, but the pistol is far superior when attacking elites. Add to this the HUGE levels, all action-packed and amazingly designed, and the amazing plot, something unheard of in a FPS and you have Game of the Year material.

On a bad note, there was one part of the game that disappointed me. The graphics are far worse than I initially expected. Almost every time you died it involved a glitch, and since the gameís framerate is only 30 fps jerky framerates when using vehicles in multiplayer (especially in the last level) is inexcusable. Aside from those flaws, itís pretty spectacular. The most stunning thing is probably looking up at the ring that is Halo, and seeing flares disappear into the sky. The animation is also spectacular, and pretty much any still picture is amazing. The graphics could have used a bit more work, but they are still great.

One thing that surprised me however, was the brilliant sound that was put into the game. It has so much depth when it comes to sound, itís amazing. It has brilliant music, although one areaís music sounds like it was copied from Spyro. Also, the gunfire sounds are crisp and clear. And the voicesÖ they were absolutely spectacular. All of your marines had unique voices, and their speech is rarely repetitive and never gets old. The covenant sounds are pretty good also, from the grunts coming from the elites, to the grunts screaming in fright "Oh no theyíre everywhere!" when youíre actually the only one there.

Highs:

  • Amazing graphics that havenít been reproduced in any other game as to date
  • Amazingly intelligent AI, and the hardest game I have ever played
  • 26 multiplayer modes, with up to 16 players, and already available online, makes this the best multiplayer game ever
  • Easy to control, outclasses even PC FPSes.
  • The vehicles are fantastic, so easy to get the hang of and so fun to use, even if its just going for a joy ride
  • Huge levels, and the deepest plot ever seen in an FPS
  • The sound was spectacular, especially hearing the grunts scream before you pistol whip them.

Lows:

  • Framerate is a bit choppy at times, and a few minor graphical glitches
  • Opening screen is a bit boring, and it doesnít really have an introduction
  • Dying isnít that fun unless it involves grenades, and when you fall off cliffs it should wait until you hit the ground before it reverts back to your last checkpoint
  • Load times can be a bit annoying, but they are very short considering the huge levels

Final Verdict: 

Well, if you are going to buy a Xbox, MAKE SURE YOU BUY THIS GAME. If you arenít going to buy one, then change your mind and then buy this game. It is the single best game I have ever played, and I wouldnít be surprised if it won Game of the Year. It easy outclasses every single PC FPS ever released, and it doesnít look like anything will even come close to the level of this game until Unreal 2 is released. Halo has lived up to the hype, and even surpassed my expectations.

Overall Score: 9.8

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