I realized it had been ages since I'd played an FPS, so I dusted off my original Xbox which I've barely touched and played one of my first proper Xbox games, the famous Halo: Combat Evolved. The game is widely regarded as one of, if not the best Xbox games of all time, and sold millions of copies. I knew next to nothing about Halo in general or this specific game, and so I went in pretty much blind.

As with Goldeneye 007, I was left assuming the main draw to the game must have been the multiplayer (GamesRadar seemed to think so), or maybe it was just that people were hyped for Xbox and looking for a game to justify their purchase of it. Whereas Goldeneye's single-player mode was just frustrating, I found Halo's single-player mode to just be boring. Maybe the reason the game received so many accolades was that it was another leap forward for FPSes on consoles, but since I'd already played Half-Life on PC there was little new for me to be impressed by. The graphics were fine for their time, but not stunning. The two guns + grenades setup works well, but the weapons themselves didn't feel that unique, although I appreciated that each had its own identity. I'm also not completely sold on the shield mechanic, since it's too easy to just run away and recharge since enemies rarely chase you down (at least on the normal difficulty level).

The story is standard space fare and so I found it pretty dull, and the settings were decidedly ho-hum. I'd expected the space setting to look really exotic whereas it just looked like Earth, and the same enemies get recycled over and over again. Driving the main vehicle took some getting used to but ended up working pretty well, but driving in general feels more like a slight diversion than something really core to the experience.

I don't know when I'll get the chance to try out the multiplayer, but for now I'm happy that I got to try out Halo firsthand. I'm not a big fan of FPSes and clearly not the game's target audience, but I'm definitely glad that I've gotten to a point in my life where I don't feel I have to force myself to plod through to the end of games like this.

Shoot down these Halo: Combat Evolved links:
- FAQ at IGN
- Entry on Metacritic

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