By Joseph Trotter, October 2, 2012
As last year's Halo: Anniversary Edition indicated, Microsoft's flagship series has shown little sign of waning popularity. Typically of such series, this edition is the 6th in the range (not counting Halo Wars, just the first person shooters). However, this was the first not to be developed by Bungie , but rather 343 Studios. Settling down for a quick dose of the multiplayer mode, I wondered what had, or could, be changed to such a well known staple of the Xbox diet.
The answer, of course, was very little. It looks like Halo, plays like Halo, sounds like Halo, and is extremely similar to the previous outings, to the point it is very hard to tell what, if anything, has actually been done to the gameplay itself. There are more superficial and noticeable changes - the graphics look terrific and highly polished, whilst the option of different load-outs (as opposed to character classes) could be beneficial depending on the opponent – whilst old complaints still remain. The balance is still a major problem, with the assault rifle in particular feeling overpowered, and the shield still makes multiplayer combat problematic.
Still, if you love Halo then you will love this. All the staples are here; the fast paced combat, wild grenade fights and up-close punch-outs still rule supreme, as does the rare team player. Key weapons are now highlighted on the map in team death-match; a delay of a few seconds when picking up the items makes it a risky manoeuvre to attempt.
Realistically, there isn't really enough in the way of improvement or refinement to justify this as a new addition to the series from a multiplayer perspective; there is barely evolution here, let alone revolution. Yet, this may be a welcome relief to fans who have grown to love the signature multiplayer experience and who simply want more of the same. Judging by the fleeting glimpse offered at the heaving Eurogamer stand, this is exactly what they will be getting.