Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Game Poster Image
Well-made but bloody overhaul of classic alien shooter.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

While elements of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive Messages

Players fight to protect the human race from nasty aliens. The cause is noble, but core gameplay element is combat, so it's not the best message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Master Chief, a cybernetically modified super soldier, is only represented by his suit and helmet, so little is known about the character, his background, and his motivation. However, there is plenty of official fiction about Halo and Master Chief, including novels that flesh out his character. He is a hero of sorts, as he takes on relentless aliens in order to save humankind. That said, he almost always uses violence to accomplish his goals.

Ease of Play

Halo was one of the first breakthrough first-person shooters on consoles and a factor in its success was its intuitive controls. The Xbox 360 controller can be used to move Master Chief on the ground, as well as aim and fire at enemies, while the camera switches to a third-person view when controlling vehicles. Players can also use the Kinect sensor to issue voice commands, simplifying the experience even further.

 

Violence

While not overly graphic, the game is centered around shooting weapons, be they plasma rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, or rocket launchers. Enemies die and often shout in pain. Blood can be seen gushing from aliens and the player's human allies. In some cases we see body parts. Players can also drive into aliens, which sometimes leaves a bloody streak on the ground.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a violent first-person shooter that has players killing thousands of aliens with all kinds of weapons of both the modern (shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles) and futuristic/alien (plasma cannons and needle guns) varieties. While not as visceral and gritty as many other M-rated first-person shooters, parents should know there is a lot of blood and some gore in the game when aliens are killed. Note that this game supports open online communication, so players may hear inappropriate language and conversations.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCommonsenseexpert January 11, 2012

Very good!

Why is it even rated M? give me a break! LOL!!
Adult Written bycheeseislush March 25, 2012

I try not to lie.

I bought this game for my 16 year old son, and he loves it! I had a look at it and as far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with this game except fro... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byI TRY NOT TO LIE November 25, 2011

"the next generation of halo"

theres no way to really put it into words, so just bare with me please. there are 2 age ratings for every game, theres the higher age (the age you get the game... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old March 8, 2012

halo

good game!

What's it about?

Microsoft Game Studios' HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED ANNIVERSARY is a "remastered" version of the 10 year-old Halo game for the original Xbox. Now available for Xbox 360, this new game includes high-definition graphics and support for 3D televisions (and the ability to toggle between the old and new visuals), along with new features, such as online cooperative (co-op) play, a number of multiplayer maps found in past games, optional Kinect for Xbox 360 integration (hands-free motion control), unlockable achievements, and other content. As with its iconic predecessor, the game centers around Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced human soldier who fights against the malicious Covenant faction on a mysterious ring-world planet named Halo. From a first-person view, you’ll navigate through many indoor and outdoor environments, pick up various weapons and ammo, increase your health by running over med-packs, and, most importantly, destroy the enemy before they destroy you. You also have the ability to drive (or sit shotgun) in a number of vehicles.

Is it any good?

This remake of the classic game is a treat -- especially for fans of the series. Developed by 343 Industries with Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary looks much better than the original thanks to updated, high-definition textures, especially when it comes to the environments. Characters and weapons get a makeover, too.

That said, it still doesn't look as good as other first-person shooters released today. While some of the missions tend to be repetitive, the single-player campaign has withstood the test of time. Fans who spent time with the original game might remember maps and events from a decade ago. It's also a blast to be able to play through the story with someone, cooperatively, over the Internet. But the real meat in this new game is in the multiplayer department. Online play runs on the Halo: Reach engine. There are a half-dozen maps to tackle (with Damnation, Beaver Creek, and Prisoner notable highlights), and players get a code for new versions of classic maps to play in Reach, as well as Firefight missions, too. At $40, this remastered version of Halo is well worth the price of admission.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether, in video games, killing aliens on fantasy worlds is less disturbing than shooting humans in realistic settings on Earth. What is the impact of this media violence?

  • Families can also discuss online safety. How do you ensure your kids are protected when playing games online? What do they watch out for, and how do they react to the inappropriate behavior of strangers?

Game details

For kids who love action

Our editors recommend

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