A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Social Studies: exploration
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, identifying strengths and weaknesses
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, collecting data, solving puzzles
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: November 15, 2011
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.