Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

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

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 46 reviews

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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.



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.

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 byHaloisforallages December 11, 2020

nah the m rating is wrong

I think you should let your kids play my son has played it before and there is a little blood but I think it's fine for tweens
Adult Written byCheeseburgers4life January 3, 2016

Why rated M

I think this game is absolutely fine for anyone over 11. When you kill the enemy only some blood appears and it's not even realistic it's purple! Yes... 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
Teen, 13 years old Written byMop man 232 March 1, 2013


In this game, you shoot aliens and its usually bloody, but its blue, or yellow, or a different color. Common sense s full of it. I respect most of their reviews... Continue reading

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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