Reviews: Halo Combat Evolved

The Campaign is Quite Overrated

I came in pretty late to the Halo scene, so I never got to truly experience how groundbreaking the multiplayer aspect of the original Halo was to the point of it becoming one of the most infamous first-person-shooters known to man. As a result, I can't really critique the multiplayer. However, I recently went back to relive a bit of that nostalgia by playing through the first ever Halo campaign, and quite honestly...it doesn't hold up.

The story starts off decent with the first 4 levels: You're introduced to the Master Chief and the war between humanity and the Covenant, you're placed in the incredible environment of Halo, you get your first taste of fighting in a Covenant warship, and are then thrown into an incredible beach battle sequence.

However, its level 5 and beyond where I felt the campaign took a huge nosedive. "Assault on the Control Room", "The Library", and "Two Betrayals" all suffer from the same level-design problem. INTERIOR REPETITIVENESS. Same architecture, same map layout, same groups of enemies. Everything you come across starts looking like the same exact things that you just got done with. "The Library", which easily has this problem the worst, is so boring to play through.

Next, the "Keyes" level suffers from a different problem since it expects you to feel bad emotionally for the loss of Captain Keyes to the Flood. However, the character is so dull, one-note, and out-of-focus that it wouldn't be that surprising if you've completely forgotten about this character by the time you locate what remains of him in this level. Long story short, the game did a poor job building up to Keyes' death.

Thankfully, the final "Maw" level brings it back up a bit mostly for the legendary Warthog escape, but that just might be my nostalgic self talking.

Halo: Combat Evolved

What is there to be said about Halo that hasn't already been said before? The world renowned game series has attracted casual and hardcore gamer alike. But I will only be focusing on the original, the game that started it all. You are the Master Chief, the last (at the time of the games release) surviving SPARTAN-II, a warrior, trained from childhood, genetically and physically augmented, you are the ultimate weapon. Your enemy? An alien conglomeration that calls itself "The Covenant". The Covenant have devastated hundreds of Human worlds, reducing them to charred cinders via Glassing. Humanty's greatest stronghold, Reach, came under Covenant attach, and you, injured in Reach's defense, were put in cryo while your ship, the Pillar of Autumn, initiated the Cole Protocol and made a random FTL jump away from Reach...

Only to discover an immense ring-shaped structure. Halo. And it is on Halo that your gaming experience begins. So, what was it that made Halo: Combat Evolved so much fun? Was it the immersive gameplay, or the storytelling? The hours of fun that Multi-player brought? Perhaps we will never know, but I personally like to think it was all of these. Halo: Combat Evolved introduced me to the world of the FPS, and it remains, to this day, my all time favorite game franchise. And I hope that it is yours too.
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