Halo Anniversary as a Brief History of the FPS Genre

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

The deep irony about Halo: Combat Evolved is that its influence on console gaming was so profound, so complete, and so irreversible, that it has often been underrated as a result. Ten years on it’s hard to remember exactly how half-baked and inferior console shooters were in the days before Master Chief. We take it for granted now, but Halo was nothing short of revolutionary.

We’ve been living with its influence now for just over a decade, but since the release of the seminal Call of Duty 4 the genre has embraced new design ideas. Halo’s DNA is still in every first person shooter, but recent releases have gone in a different direction; prioritising speed and intensity over a more methodical pace. The school of thought is to my mind neither better nor worse. Its uniqueness was indeed worthy of praise – that is until everyone started doing it.

The point I’m trying to make is that my mindset going into Halo: Anniversary was a world apart from what it would have been ten years ago. I had played the genre inspired by the game, but not the game itself. With that in mind I cranked the graphics and sound all the way back to ‘original’, opened my arms, and simply said, “show me.”

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