Halo Anniversary Multiplayer Preview

Note: In anticipation of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, our very own James Heaney completed a full video walkthrough of the original Halo on our YouTube channel. The catch: it’s at ultra speed. You’ll see.

Check out the single player preview for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary as well.

The first and most important thing to realize about Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary’s multiplayer is that it is effectively Halo: Reach. Most of the anniversary-celebrating, original-game-remastering stuff happens in the single-player campaign, covered by GameFront writer Mark Burnham in this preview.

Fire up the multiplayer in Halo Anniversary, and you’ll find the Halo: Reach engine, replete with its cluttered UI and wealth of armor abilities, powering proceedings. You’ll connect to Halo: Reach servers, fire Halo: Reach weapons and compete in Halo: Reach gametypes. This came as something of a surprise to me — already reeling from forced re-entry (after long absence) into the frenetic feeding frenzy that is Team Slayer, the tweaked controls and new mechanics felt strange. After overcoming these early jitters, however, I was able to spend some quality time with the one aspect of the game‘s multiplayer that does dovetail with its retro theme: the maps, which are all new versions of franchise classics.

“High Noon,” is one of the title’s biggest selling points. Halo Anniversary developers 343 Industries, Saber Interactive, and Certain Affinity clearly labored over their remix of the seminal “Hang ‘em High” map, which so delighted legions of Halo 1 players, and its distinctive features return more or less unchanged. There’s the two towering fortresses in each corner. The trench in the center, so conducive to carnage. With higher resolutions, better textures, a round decade of technological progress to take advantage of, the developers manage to make the map seem more like a real place, without abandoning the two fields of strange, unexplained, tombstone-shaped blocks.

The long sight lines are also still present, although the pistol in Halo: Reach lacks both the large clip and the overweening power that made base-to-base pistols duels on the original Hang ‘em High so fun. Still, the map’s bipolar structure makes it great for capture the flag; developers and journalists played out an intense one-flag affair.

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