While all the focus at the Microsoft press conference was on Halo 4 and the start of a new trilogy coming 2012, behind closed doors Microsoft was showing another Halo title; Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary a remastered version of the original Halo for the original Xbox. 

10 years later does Halo still have what it takes to take on the might of modern gaming, will it be worth the effort and should you, Halo fan or not, get excited. We checked out the new game to find out more. 


Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

15 November 2011

What other game is it like?

Halo on the Xbox 360

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?


The pitch

“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” is a spectacularly remastered version of the original “Halo” campaign, created in celebration of the 10th anniversary of one of the most beloved franchises in gaming history. With a bounty of new features including cooperative play over Xbox LIVE, a bundle of some of the most beloved multiplayer maps in “Halo” history reimagined for Xbox LIVE, new challenges and a new story to uncover.

The storyline

It’s the same as the first Halo. So that means you’re playing the Master Chief on a strange planet trying to work out what on earth is going on while fighting an array of aliens know as the Covenant.

Trailers, demoes, and video

Our first impressions

While Microsoft used it’s press event at E3 to showcase a trailer for Halo 4, behind closed doors it was showing off Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to a select few, and those select few included Pocket-lint. Huzzah.

As with many of our closed door briefings at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles we weren’t allowed to play the game ourselves or take pictures, but had a 30 minute demo and Q&A with some of the game by those who are making it – 343 industries.

The main thing you are going to notice is the graphics improvement. Amazing as it sounds Halo was originally on the original Xbox not the Xbox 360 and that means while the graphics at the time was stunning, they’ve aged massively over the last decade.

Here, in this Redux version if you will, the graphics are on par with modern day games and befitting of the Xbox 360 console that it’s now running on.

That means more shading, more water, more detail, and well more of everything. It’s not just the graphics that have had a makeover either. Skywalker sound has completely recorded the music and sound effects. Thankfully fans of the original will be pleased to hear that the vocals have remained intact.

To prove that the graphics are new there is a “Classic mode” button that when pressed reverts the game back to the original Xbox mode.

You can dash between the two modes at any time, something our demo dude was keen to show. Yep it’s something that you are unlikely to use in the thick of battle, but at the same time it’s going to be incredibly handy justifying to Mrs Pocket-lint why you’ve just spent another £35 ($39.99) on a game you’ve previously owned and previously completed.

Back to the game at hand, and you’ll be pleased to know that Microsoft, or developers 343 industries to be precise, haven’t messed with the gameplay of the original Halo at all. The physics and handling are from the original. The campaign element of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary really is just a graphical layer that’s been added to spruce things up a bit.

Aside from the new graphics and audio, Halo Anniversary will be getting a whole host of features, plus the promise of some features yet to come, and yet to be announced.

For example, gamers will be getting multiplayer options – something that was left out of the original, achievements, and Terminals to learn more about the Halo universe including details about Halo 4 due out in 2012.

Yep you’ll have played it before, yep you’ll probably have completed it before, and yep you’ll curse yourself for wanting to play it all again.

If you enjoyed the original or still have it, this should give you the reason you’ve finally been waiting for to get rid of your massively large Xbox console. For those too young to have enjoyed the original, this is one treat that is still as fresh today as it was 10 years ago.

Roll on 15 November.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as, letting us get a glimpse into what is going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review or even a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.