Since 2001, the Halo franchise has gone through a trilogy, a prequel, and several spin-offs and remains one of the strongest series in the world of video games. As such, the announcement of a remake of the original classic has stirred appetites to re-discover what has made the series so appealing. Everyone has their favourite moments from the original (my personal one being the game of grenade long-jump my brother and I created on the first outdoor level, where we flung ourselves off the cliff at the start to see who could get the furthest), so to be able to play them in full, shiny HD is a temptation many will not be able to resist (nor would they wish too).
However, perhaps more exciting than this is the inclusion of the fully fledged online multiplayer which has made Halo the staple it is today. Whilst Halo: Combat Evolved's multiplayer was fine and dandy, the fact it came before Xbox Live meant that much of the scale the series is famed for was missing from the experience (in the multiplayer; the single player mode was fantastic). Now, though, the game is finally getting the multiplayer experience it deserves.
After not playing Halo for a while, it was instant and refreshing to jump straight into the action. The level we played (only multiplayer LAN was available) was multi-tiered, and appeared to be based on a Covenant ship; full of tight corridors and sudden falls, it was a grenade-spammer's paradise, and the death drop at the bottom of the level caught me out several times.
For a start, the update both looks and sounds fantastic, bringing a high-quality next generation shine. Grenades explode with devastating sound, the blips and cracks of guns fill the air, death groans are agonisingly released in gasps of pain. All very dramatic, all very impressive.
Of course, the gameplay had always been the big thing about Halo and it doesn't disappoint; this is quick, frantic, frenetic stuff, and is absolutely and thoroughly exhilarating. The average life lasts for about 30-40 seconds, as no sooner have you got your pistol-whip kill in than a rocket suddenly hits your back, spiralling you into the wall, very much dead. This didn't matter, though, as I was having too much fun to care.
Still, I was having a great time re-acquainting myself, and in no time at all I was up to speed. This is the great thing about Halo; for all the updates, changes, new weapons and map updates, the absolute core gameplay is the same, although the controls threw me somewhat at the start. For many of my generation, this is the game that really made people take the Xbox seriously. In fact, it could easily be argued that this game made the Xbox full-stop, but that's another story.
All in all, it's Halo. If you loved the series, and loved the original, then this is already on your wanted list. If you dislike Halo, this isn't going to change your mind. If you're one of the few that's never tried, and have a bit of cash spare, you could do a lot worse than see the ultimate version of one of the best shooters of the last generation.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will be released for the Xbox 360 on the 15th November, 10 years after the original. Who else feels old?