Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Game Poster Image

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary



Well-made but bloody overhaul of classic alien shooter.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

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

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.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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

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
Available online?Available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:November 15, 2011
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Violence

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Kid, 8 years old March 8, 2012


good game!
What other families should know
Great role models
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 for) and the lower age (the age that can watch and even play the game with the higher age) for this game i would say the high age is 12-13+ (i'm not saying thats the age its made for, just the age its okay for). the lower age in my opinion is 7-8+, the only reason you might want to watch a little bit of the game before letting the younger aged child play the game is for PG language and 'paint-ish' blood. language: there is minor PG swearing such as b*****d, d**n, freaking, ecs. (basically what you would find on a family-ish, sit-com) (its so little that they cant even put language on the game rating) violence, blood and gore: in gameplay your player uses a variety of weapons including: machine guns, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles, alien energy guns, explosive weapons, grenades, energy swords, bare fists and a knife. (the energy sword is nothing to worry about, when a player gets hit by it they simply die as they would by any weapon (when a player dies they just look like they are unconscious) the knife is only used when a player sneaks up behind another player and holds the button they would normally use to swing there fist. they then perform an 'assassination'. in this maneuver they pull out the knife and stab the other player in the chest, neck, back or head. (its about as 'gorey' as watching 2 children throw fake punches at each other, and falling down pretending to die). the blood and gore aspect is not as bad as it sounds, when you kill someone/something blood will 'spatter' on the ground and/or walls. (since you are mostly fighting aliens, blood is typically blue, purple, yellow, green and red). as for the 'gore' when you shoot someone/something, you do see minor liquids come out (blood). other minor 'gore' includes, brief scenes and gameplay where a alien parasitic race, called 'the flood', attack there alien and human victims, and transform them into slow moving fungi and insect looking creatures. (its not vary graphic, other then male soldiers briefly screaming). (almost all of this goes the same for all the halo games) all-in-all its a great game with 10 years of awards to show for it! thank you for reading this is the first parental review i've written i hope it will be found useful.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byMerv Johnson January 19, 2012

"This is a have to own for any Halo fanatic or somebody starting out"

If you read the review that common sense made,you need to read this.Dont worry,Halo for a FPS title is very appropriate.There is little blood,and there is no limbs flying off until about mid game where you fight a parasitic race known only as the flood.But even when the limbs come off there is no blood trails that follow.I have a 7 year old that plays Halo with me sometimes and we have a blast.It will give you hours of fun and epic battles that will be unforgetable. It has great role modles like Master Chief,who is a brave genetically augmentated soildier who is oneof the last of his kind. He displays great heroism fighting aginst all odds and he still keeps fighting no matter what it takes to protect the human race. The soundtrack can give your kids or yourself a great musical taste, it is a beutifully organized orchestra playing the most powerfull,epic,and beutiful songs I have (ever heard).Thanks for reading I hope this helps you decide to buy this game because I highly recommend it for anyone.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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