Halo: Combat Evolved - Read about the Master Chief, soiled trousers, and more in our full preview.
The Halo you played at E3 is the not same Halo Bungie's currently bug testing and optimizing for its release alongside the Xbox on November 15th. Bungie's made drastic progress in every facet of Halo since its paltry showings, and those who've played the recent near complete code agree it's well worth mentioning in the same breath as Rare's legendary Goldeye 007.
In Halo, you'll take on the role of the Master Chief - a super human soldier produced from an experimental military program, raised in bootcamps his entire life with chemically and bionically enhanced bones and musculature, rewritten neural links - the works. In a nutshell, he's a badass -- not to mention the only human the Covenant fear.
On the broader spectrum, the Covenant (evil alien race) has been hell bent on exterminating the human race all together as a religious faction. When the Covenant set their sights on earth, a last ditch effort sends a crew of Marines off into deep space in an effort to leer the would-be hell bringers out with them. Oddly, they follow -- and after a brief battle, the Marines find themselves crash landing in a mysterious ring-shaped world known as Halo. This is where the story shall begin.
What sets Halo apart from the rest of the FPS crowd is the epic sense of both story and visual presentation. In one of the game's opening scenes for example, there are a dozen marines battling it out with a dozen of the Covenant - all on screen at once with your fellow marines yelling, screaming, running, and dying right before your very eyes in hails of enemy fire and explosions. Furthermore, battles such as these run at a steady 30FPS clip to ensure the action never slips in trying times.
In the heat of battle, you'll find Halo is not quite as forgiving as the FPS of yesteryear. The artificial intelligence of the Covenant is so astounding that if you try to hide they'll smoke you out with flares, and you if try to "gung-ho" a pack of 'em, they'll cut you down with ungodly force. Success requires strategic usage of surroundings - tactics such as hiding behind rocks or trees, attacking from higher ground, as well as a few surprise attacks must all be considered and utilized to survive.
While combating these bastardly Covenant in the vast world of Halo, you'll obtain a variety of conventional shotguns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and so forth, in addition to any technologically advanced Covenant weapons you may find laying around -- such as the energy-based plasma sword.
If foot-based combat doesn't float your boat, Halo offers jeeps, buggies, tanks, and even Covenant craft of which can be stolen to carry out melee assaults on enemy quarters. This works in multiplayer too and emphasizes strongly on teamwork-- one player can man the cannon, another takes shotgun, and another drives. And in solo campaigns - the top notch artificial intelligence of your fellow marines will have them acting accordingly.
Multiplayer games in general (not surprisingly) will be one of Halo's strongest points. Along with your standard death match and capture the flag gimmicks, you'll be able to co-op play with a friend through the entire game of Halo. There's even a unique multiplayer game titled "OGRE", where one player suits up in a heavy armored suit loaded with weapons while the other three try to kill him before he annihilates them. Whoever kills the "OGRE" gets to be the "OGRE".
For the gung-ho grunts, Halo's eye-popping physics and visual appeal are sure to lead to a few soiled pairs of trousers. Bullet casings bounce about on the ground after being fired, and the vehicles and the marines that man them react with dizzying reality with each bump in the road. Every minute graphical detail, whether it's the dust left behind a speeding buggie or the color changing of the clouds as the sun sets -- has received the proverbial treatment. Hell, even the position of the sun effects shading on the world below it. Halo is stunningly beautiful, period.
There's nothing more that can be said about Halo, really. The masses have played it, the masses have praised it, and all Bungie really has left to do is to make sure they include the disk with the DVD packaging and they've got a bonafide next generation blockbuster. How's that for consumer confidence?
"Young Warrior" William Pulley
Metal Gear what? Sons of who?