Also included is a completely new Firefight map, Installation 04, which is based on one of the beam emission stations on the Halo of that designation, and includes some extra UNSC Marines to give you a hand (read: get killed in the first wave, every time). Vehicle-friendly, the map gives you just enough room to drive around a bit without being overly expansive and prohibitive to foot travel, as trying to do full laps around Unearthed can prove. Being the Score Attack whore that I am (did you think I got to Legendary rank on the basis of actual skill?), I was glad to find a hidey hole in the form of a smaller room toward the rear of the level that contains an ammo rack and is only accessible from one door, which certainly doesn't hurt my opinion of the level, and there are fairly regular Banshee spawns off the cliffside to give you something to pop for bonus points.
All in all, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
is both a great trip down memory lane for Halo fans of the past, and a worthwhile experience for more recent fans who don't want to give up their current-gen graphics or the prospect of achievements in order to learn the series' roots. The game also does a nice job of pointing to the future, as it's been hinted by 343 Industries that the content of the Terminals is meant to bridge some of the gap betwixt Halo 3
and the forthcoming Halo 4
. Between the Terminals in this game and H3
, as well as the Datapads obtainable in Halo: Reach
, it seems almost certain that the events in this "second trilogy" will revolve around one or more Forerunner AIs, very possibly the ones that spawned the Monitor units such as 343 Guilty Spark and 2401 Penitent Tangent themselves. Despite the given superiority of Forerunner technology, I imagine even their artificial intelligences have a threshold for rampancy (madness), one for which any system that's persisted since the Forerunners' heyday has probably long since surpassed. One of the new Terminal sequences also has Guilty Spark pondering the Flood, the unknown nature of their origin, and the possibility that their original home may still exist somewhere out in the cold of space, which leaves the door open for those infectious, puke-green bastards to come back as well. At the very least, I hope they hold off on reintroducing the Flood for at least a game and a half, as I know I'm not the only one who's had their fill.
While not the greatest priority in the gaming world right now, what with Skyrim
(and some other okay games, I guess) already flooding the year-end market, Halo: CEA
is more than worth the investment once you've freed up some time and finagled your family out of some holiday cash.
LOOK WHO CAME: