Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary & SPV3 Mod Review

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The Halo series and I have somewhat of a long history. I was twelve when the original game came out and it always appealed to me because I love science fiction, I love aliens, I love shooting shit, and Halo had all those things so it just looked really awesome to me. I never owned an Xbox when it was in it’s prime so I missed out. Halo was a launch title for the Xbox and I can remember everybody on the school bus was talking about it. Needless to say, I was a little jealous. I did acquire the PC version later down the line, I think after Halo 2 came out, and eventually the Xbox version several years later. At the time, I only got so far but never did beat it. I didn’t actually beat the game until well after Halo 3 came out. Funnily enough, I beat the trilogy in reverse order. As of this review, I’ve beaten every main game in the series except Halo 5 and that’s because I burnt myself out on the series. Several years ago I was playing the games nonstop to the point I just got tired of the entire franchise. Well I finally got the urge to jump back in and decided to replay the first game. Developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios, Halo: Combat Evolved was released for the Xbox in November, 2001 and PC in September, 2003. For this review, I played the Anniversary Edition from the Master Chief Collection. Developed by 343 Industries and published by Saber Interactive, the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition was released for Xbox 360 in November, 2011 and is an HD remaster of the original game. This was included in the Master Chief Collection, which was released in November, 2014 for Xbox One. I played through the campaign solo and I also teamed up with Jeremy for a co-op playthrough. I will also cover the Halo SPV3 mod for the PC version, specifically the Custom Edition. Apparently the mod took several years to make. It stands for Single Player Version 3 and is a complete overhaul of the game and includes new weapons, enemies, vehicles, texture work, and even new areas to explore. It includes gamepad support and I should mention that I played through most of the mod with an Xbox One controller.

I’m going to be completely transparent. The infinite ammo skull was enabled for both playthroughs of the campaign and I used a trainer to provide infinite ammo during my time with the SPV3 mod. The original game didn’t include skulls but they were added in the Anniversary Edition. In the Master Chief Collection, most skulls for all games are already unlocked and can be activated from the main menu. In the other games, skulls were legit collectibles that could be found hidden throughout the environments and basically act as gameplay modifiers when activated. Most of them make things more challenging, minus the infinite ammo skull and a few others. You’re also scored throughout the campaign based on your performance. Killing different enemies rewards you with different amounts of points and you can earn medals for unique kills and kill streaks. However, some skulls are considered non-scoring, like infinite ammo, for example, and disable mission scoring altogether. The SPV3 mod includes its own set of skulls that can be activated from the pause menu and all of them just make the game harder. They’re perfect for sadists. Now playing on the Legendary difficulty can be challenging enough and I’ve beaten this game so many times that I actually find it more enjoyable with infinite ammo, at least on this particular difficulty mode. I’ve beaten this legit on Legendary in the Xbox version, again on 360, again on 360 with a friend, the Anniversary Edition with Jeremy, and I even beat this iteration for the Master Chief collection with Jeremy on Legendary shortly after it came out.

Halo includes four difficulty modes – Easy, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary. The SPV3 mod removes the Easy difficulty but a another called Noble. And believe it or not, I think the SPV3 mod may be even more challenging than the vanilla game. I had to use a trainer to provide infinite ammo because, from what I researched, the mod explicitly disables cheats for technical reasons. Regardless, even with infinite ammo, I still got my ass handed to me several times. I also want to point out that this mod includes Terminals scattered throughout the environments, similar to the terminals found in the Anniversary Edition, which provide information and lore. The Terminals in the Anniversary Edition for Xbox 360 provided information and insight on Halo 4, if I remember correctly. The terminals make a return here but immediately take you to the Xbox Store. Unfortunately, the Firefight mode does not make a return and that’s just fucked up. Granted, I think it was only one map for Halo Anniversary on 360, but ODST had multiple Firefight maps and I think the mode was removed altogether. I thought it was a great addition to the series but I guess the developers said “fuck ’em”? I don’t know, I see no logical reason as to why Firefight was not included.

The story opens with a United Nations Space Command ship known as the Pillar of Autumn discovering a mysterious ring-shaped space station known as Halo. The ship is invaded by an alien race known as the Covenant and they have been at war with the humans for quite some time. The Marines try to fight off the enemies but are hardly successful. You play as Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced supersoldier, tasked with assisting the Marines in fighting the Covenant and investigating Halo. Throughout your journey, you’re assisted by Cortana, an artificial intelligence companion inserted into the Chief’s suit. Eventually Cortana and the Chief discover that Halo is actually a weapon designed to kill all sentient life in the galaxy and was built to combat a specific parasitic alien life form known as The Flood. I’m a sucker for science fiction and really love the story in this series, at least up until Halo 4 since I don’t even remember what happened in that game. I think the whole ring-planet thing and human-Covenant war stuff are neat concepts. I have always loved the Covenant creature designs so it’s easy for me to get lost in the lore and fictional universe of Halo. The voice acting actually isn’t too bad. Master Chief doesn’t say much but what little voice work that is present for the character is performed well enough and Jen Taylor does a great job voicing Cortana. You’ll encounter a few NPC’s throughout the story and many of the unnamed marines will shout and say stereotypical military things you may have heard in films. The voice work for other characters like Captain Keyes and Guilty Spark are decent enough to be believable and the voice work of Sergeant Johnson is stereotypical while providing some humor at the same time.

Master Chief can run, jump, crouch, perform a melee attack, can only carry two weapons at a time, and is always equipped with a flashlight that can be toggled on and off. On the HUD is a motion tracker which is helpful for locating enemies that are nearby. That is until you encounter The Flood since they just overwhelm the tracker. Mater Chief is protected by a shield that depletes when taking damage but will recharge over time if he manages to stay out of harm’s way. You also have to be mindful of your health bars which will drain when your shield is depleted. When you run out of health, you die. You can acquire health kits scattered throughout the environments to restore your health in full. You can also find items to aid you in combat like an overshield which basically provides you with an additional shield layer and the active camouflage item renders you invisible for a brief time, making it easier to sneak up on enemies. Some enemies use active camouflage and can take you out easily if you’re not paying attention. I remember being able to only carry two weapons being somewhat of a big deal when this game came out and it does mean you need think strategically during each combat scenario. By that I mean, you need to think about what weapon to use and when, you need to know what weapons are best for what situations, and you also need to be mindful of your ammo. Ammo scrounging can become thing in this game if you favor specific weapons and like to fire wildly and draining ammo becomes very easy on higher difficulties just due to the enemy AI, alone. Halo offers two different sets of weapons, UNSC weapons and Covenant weapons. The UNSC weapons include and assault rifle, pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle, frag grenades, and even a rocket launcher. The pistol is actually one of the more dangerous weapons in the game. You can zoom in when firing and if you’re accurate enough, you can drop some of the tougher enemies with the pistol rather quickly. The Covenant weapons include a plasma pistol, a plasma rifle which is kind of like a Covenant assault rifle, the Needler which fires needles that home in on a target and then explode causing damage, and plasma grenades which will stick to targets. If you or an enemy get stuck with a plasma grenade, it’s usually always a death sentence. Getting stuck with a plasma grenade can happen easily if you get overrun and it’s also very possible to die from a chain of explosions caused by one grenade which detonated all the rest nearby that you didn’t know were in the vicinity. That can actually be really annoying so you need to pay attention to your surroundings. The SPV3 mod includes revamped existing weapons, some with alternate fire modes, and an entire roster of new weapons, including weapons seen in future games. Some of the weapons included are the battle rifle, SMG, brute shot, carbine rifle, focus rifle, flamethrower, M247H turret, even Sentinel Weapons. The cluster and gravity grenades also make an appearance. The gravity grenades can suck in enemies before exploding which can make a world of difference if you’re in a tight spot. The cluster grenades spew little bomblets upon impact. You can pick up a Jackal shield and use it to deflect projectiles but it does take up a weapon slot. It also significantly obstructs your view. SPV3 also lets you choose from different weapon loadouts before the start of several missions. Some weapons even come with attachments like a grenade launcher for the assault rifle and silencers for the battle rifle, sniper rifle, and SMG. Now one of the reasons I prefer to play with infinite ammo is because of the arsenal, itself, and the amount of ammo found in the environments. With the exception of the plasma rifle, I really don’t like using the Covenant weapons. I’m well aware they are useful, powerful, and have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the plasma pistol and rifle don’t use up traditional ammunition but can overheat and when their battery drains, you’re forced to replace the weapon. The plasma pistol is actually a great weapon for destroying the Sentinel drones. In general, I really prefer the UNSC weapons but, unfortunately, there’s just not enough ammo in the environments to be carrying these all the time. But I guess that makes sense since you’re in an alien environment. The SPV3 mod adds a lot more variety to the arsenal but even so, in my opinion, the UNSC weapons are still more enjoyable to use and feel more satisfying in general.

The Covenant and The Flood are the two factions you’ll be engaging throughout the campaign. The Covenant enemies consist of Grunts which are these little creatures wielding plasma pistols and needlers. They usually appear in squads under the leadership of an Elite and Elites are one of my favorite enemy types in video games. They’re these tall creatures with four mandibles for a mouth, wield plasma rifles, and are extremely fast and agile. I just love their design. Some areas include Elites that are in active camouflage, meaning they’re invisible, and some even wield Energy Swords, a weapon that can kill you in one strike. It’s a rather cheap weapon that you cannot acquire. The SPV3 mod includes additional Elites with energy swords so you’ll always need to be alert. Elites are also protected by shield similar to the Master Chief. Jackals are small creatures that carry a shield that can deflect most human ballistics. They can be a pain in the ass since they normally have excellent aim and if an Elite doesn’t kill you, it’s because a Jackal did. Hunters are big tank-like alien creatures that always appear in pairs and wield plasma cannons that can destroy you rather quickly if you’re not careful. However, these enemies look more threatening than they actually are. They have a weak point on their back and you can drop them in one shot to the back with just a pistol. They’re more dangerous at a distance than up close and personal. The Covenant AI is actually quite intelligent. Enemies will try and dodge your gunfire and grenades by jumping and diving out of the way. They’ll throw grenades, try and suppress you, flank you, and on the Legendary difficulty, they basically have pinpoint accuracy. They’ll even run and take cover. Just one Elite can be more dangerous than an encounter with a group of every other enemy in the game. Elites are fast, accurate, and are extremely deadly and there’s nothing more satisfying than sticking them with a plasma grenade which can prove to be a serious challenge. They’ll be jumping all over the place, dodging left and right, hiding behind cover waiting for their shield to recharge, and can basically extend the length of most encounters just because of how difficult they can be to take down. Furthermore, I believe their color signifies their rank. When you do kill an Elite, it’s squad of Grunts may be running around screaming in confusion and fear due to the loss of leadership and it can be humorous to watch. Now as smart as the The Covenant can be, when you’re shooting from a distance with a long ranged weapon, they will often show signs of stupidity like running back and forth while still remaining exposed or sometimes not moving at all allowing themselves to be shot repeatedly. But even then, they can still shoot you with ridiculous accuracy once you’re detected. There’s a few sequences where you get ambushed, meaning enemies will not only be in front of you but also behind you, and that could mean bad news if you’re low on health and playing on the higher difficulties. There are some areas where it seems like the enemies endlessly spawn, mainly in areas towards the end of the game. For example, the Flood emerging from liquid and the Elites surrounding the Banshees, both in the mission “Keyes”. I’m really not sure if you can kill them all, or if it truly is endless enemy spawning, but I’m pretty sure I engaged every enemy I encountered in these scenarios for about ten or more minutes on my first playthrough before I decided to just make a run for my objective since they just never seem to stop coming. The SPV3 mod not only increases the amount of enemies but also adds new enemies to the roster. The Brutes are here and they act a lot like Elites. They jump all over the place and many of them wield Brute Shots and if you encounter a cluster, they can really fuck up your day. If you’re up against multiple Elites and Brutes, you can expect a lot of trial and error gameplay, assuming you’re playing on Legendary. Some areas just seem ridiculously difficult and many times I just felt like it was almost impossible to succeed. You can easily be surrounded and overwhelmed by enemies and are just unable to avoid the onslaught of projectiles aimed right at your face. It may feel like there’s never any good place to hide or take cover since you’re always outnumbered and the enemies can easily flank you. Every combat encounter basically turns into a hectic war zone. I found myself often hanging back to pick off enemies one at time because I realized that going in guns blazing normally leads to death. I also noticed that enemies in the SPV3 mod seem to be slightly randomized. For example, I would die battling a group of Elites but when I got back to the area after respawning, I had to face Brutes instead. I experienced this numerous times and actually think it’s pretty cool. In both the vanilla game and the SPV3 mod, you’ll be accompanied by marines and they can be helpful like manning the turret on the back of a warthog as you drive or simply diverting enemy fire away from you. However, the marine AI is nowhere near as intelligent as the Convenant and more often than not they just end up dying. They’re not the greatest at staying out of harm’s way and they’ll frequently get in your way which becomes annoying. Now one of the coolest things in the game is infighting. Late in the game you’ll approach areas where the Covenant and The Flood are battling it out and in these scenarios, I find it best to just let the battle play out and then take out the stragglers. A lot of the encounters in Halo involve you eliminating waves of enemies before you can proceed. Whether you’re stuck in a room waiting for waves of enemies to come pouring out of the doors or simply waiting for an enemy drop ship to arrive and deploy more enemies, each wave can prove to be a challenge. Sometimes it feels like a bit too much. The game autosaves but sometimes it doesn’t save until you have wiped out the final wave of enemies and if you die you have to start the battle from the last checkpoint which usually means right before the first wave and that’s just tedious. When playing in co-op, when one player dies, that player will re-spawn if the other player manages to reach a safe zone. However, the player that respawns will be equipped with an assault rifle and plasma pistol. Why the game won’t give you a UNSC pistol, I don’t know, and it annoys the fuck out of me, too. Although, you can reacquire the weapons you dropped when you died.

Now let me tell you a little something about The Flood. The Flood suck, The Flood are terrible, fuck The Flood, I hate The Flood. I don’t care what anyone says, The Flood are the worst enemies in the entire series an almost ruin the first three games in my opinion. I have a love/hate relationship with the original trilogy and The Flood is the reason why. The Flood are basically like alien zombies. The little popcorn chicken fuckers, otherwise known as the Flood infection form, attack a victim and take over its body and then the body mutates or transforms into this hideous creature. These little ones are the most common and do very little damage so if your shield isn’t drained and you have a lot of a health, a good way to save ammo is to let them swarm you since they’ll die upon making contact. The big fat enemy types, otherwise known as carriers, kind of waddle or walk toward you and then explode releasing the little ones and cause massive damage if you’re nearby. The SPV3 mod adds the stalker form to The Flood roster. When killed, they explode, releasing the little ones, much like the carriers. The mod also adds The Flood growth pod things that will explode and also release enemies upon exploding. There’s a lot of exploding Flood and it’s fucking annoying. The Flood are great enemies for story purposes, but gameplay-wise, they suck. Fighting them is not fun and I’ll tell you why. Their AI sucks and they just swarm and rush you. That’s it. That’s what they do. And they seemingly don’t stop spawning. Many of The Flood enemy types jump and leap around, some use a body that wields a gun as a host which means they’ll not only be rushing you but shooting at you, too. Some even wield rocket launchers. They show no real intelligence and every encounter ends up being the same. Kill them all and try not to get overwhelmed. What makes it worse is, the first half of the game has you battling fun enemies with excellent AI, where encounters will never play out the same, and then you get to the second half where you have to deal primarily with swarms of mindless enemies and a few Covenant here and there. Because of The Flood, the gameplay takes quite a turn, and in my opinion, it’s not for the better.

Many areas contain a lot of wide open space and you’re even provided vehicles to help you navigate around quickly. Although, controlling the vehicles can be a bit of a nuisance since some of them kind of slide around. Vehicles turn based on where the camera is pointed and it’s very easy to slide all over the place, specifically when you’re driving the warthog. Crashing into something can often lead to the vehicle rolling over and kicking you out at which point enemies can close in on your position before you have time to flip it back over and get away safely. UNSC vehicles include a warthog equipped with a turret on the back. You can even pilot a tank which can reign serious destruction upon enemies. The Covenant have their own vehicles, even aircraft. The Ghost is like a hovercraft that can strafe left and right and is equipped with energy pulse guns. The Wraith is a Covenant tank that can fire an energy blast that’s extremely deadly. The Banshee is a Covenant aircraft that can be a real bitch to take down and is equipped with a plasma cannon and energy pulse guns. The SPV3 mod includes several new vehicles including the Gungoose, Warthogs equipped with gauss cannons and rocket launchers, the Sparrowhawk, a Grizzly tank equipped with dual machineguns, and it looks like the Covenant drop ships were changed to Phantoms, resembling their appearance in future games. The Covenant drop ships usually arrive to deploy more enemies. The mod even lets you hijack Wraiths. It also includes additional items to help you in combat and to alleviate some of the increased challenge. The Visual Intelligence System, Reconnaissance, abbreviated as VISR, is basically taken from ODST and allows you to see easily in dark areas. It’s more effective than the flashlight and enemies are highlighted in red. The health regeneration item is the only one I wanted equipped at all times and is easily the most useful. It will regenerate your health up to a certain point. Then there’s the Sprint pickup. It allows you to sprint. These items must be found before they can be equipped but each mission seems to include several areas where you can find these. Also, you can only equip one of these at a time. I really wish all of these were implemented as being always equipped because I’m quite certain the game would still be just as challenging. SPV3 also includes new powerups that last for a brief time. These include one that enhances your reflexes which means time slows down and another that enhances the sensitivity of your motion tracker.

Halo is a linear game for the most part. Some missions require you to backtrack but it’s usually not very far. In addition to traversing through the Pillar of Autumn ship, you’ll traverse through a Covenant cruiser and most of the time you’ll be navigating through areas on Halo, itself, which has quite a diverse geography. It consists of forests, beaches, jungles, snowy areas, and alien installations. However, one of the biggest downsides to this game is the repetitive level design. The two missions, Assault on the Control Room and The Library are the worst offenders. You’ll traverse through the same looking hallways and rooms again, and again, and again, and again, and again. It’s ridiculous. The Library is probably the worst because not only is it repetitive but you’re primarily fending off The Flood. It’s a terrible mission. Easily one of the worst missions in the entire series. I don’t know if it’s as bad as the mission known as Cortana in Halo 3 but it’s still pretty terrible all around. Most objectives involve you going from point A to B to activate something. You have to escort Captain Keyes during one mission and that becomes annoying since the friendly AI doesn’t always act intelligently and if Keyes dies, it’s an immediate mission failure. The SPV3 mod adds several new areas to a few missions, including new objectives like rescuing prisoners and destroying a bunch of Wraiths. The new areas fit in perfectly with the existing ones and basically extend the length of the game. One mission in the vanilla game may take you an hour to complete but in the SPV3 mod, that same mission may take you an hour and a half or longer. Some areas encourage you to take a stealth approach but this is hardly a stealth game. You’ll enter an area full of sleeping Grunts and patrolling Elites and Jackals. You can sneak up on the enemies and melee them to kill them instantly. However, if you’re detected, you better run to cover because all enemies will immediately become alerted to your presence. At some point, I usually get detected but it is satisfying to silently kill a cluster of enemies before being spotted, or even the entire group if I’m lucky.

In the Anniversary Edition, you can switch between the original graphics and remastered graphics at any time during gameplay. Some of the areas can look simple and bland with the original graphics and a little more visual variety could have at least made the repetitive areas a bit more interesting to look at. The remastered version looks a lot better thanks to sharp and crisp texture work, more detailed environments, new particle effects, and even lighting improvements. The skies and backgrounds received a major overhaul. For example, what was once an empty black void in the distance may now consist of a beautiful mountain range. I’ve heard some say the Anniversary Edition doesn’t do the original game justice, lacks the same color scheme, and makes the game lose it’s charm. Yeah, I think it looks fine. I’ve played the original game quite a bit and the Anniversary Edition still looks and feels like Halo to me. The SPV3 mod doubles as an HD remaster as well, although, it doesn’t look quite as good as the Anniversary Edition. Still, it looks incredible, complete with HD textures, new enemy models, many of which resemble their appearance in future games, and even awesome looking particle effects. The mod also adds a good amount of detail to the make the environments more interesting. Little alien creatures populate outdoor areas, you’ll come across impaled Marines, vehicles will visibly reflect damage, and you can even shoot the helmets off of Brutes. Now the music is one of the franchise’s best aspects and Halo is where it all started. The soundtrack is full of these phenomenal orchestral scores that add both drama and tension and even get you pumped up during combat. The music isn’t constantly playing and only kicks in during combat or major events which, in turn, helps the soundtrack stand out. The SPV3 mod includes all new or remixed tunes that perfectly compliment the gameplay. The sound effects aren’t too bad although the sounds of dialogue during cut scenes could be louder. Enemy’s will scream and groan, the weapon fire could be better, some weapons sound better than others but the Convenant weapons do all have a nice sci-fi sound. When you’re in an action-packed scenario with marines and Covenant battling it out, you’ll hear gunfire in the distance, bullets and plasma shots wizzing past your head, and booming explosions followed by screams of agony. An active war zone is no joke in Halo and the sound effects to a great job emphasizing that intense action-packed feeling. The SPV3 mod includes new weapon sound effects, all of which sound awesome and powerful, and there’s even new dialogue to accompany the new objectives and areas. I don’t know if it’s cut content or newly recorded but it fits in seamlessly with everything else. As for the performance, the Anniversary Edition runs very smoothly when viewing the original graphics but the frame rate will dip often, even heavily in some areas, when playing with the remastered visuals in co-op. During my solo time, it was fast and smooth for both presentations. I should mention that as of this review, I played this on an Xbox One X before any enhancements and I played co-op with Jeremy on a standard Xbox One. I noticed some pop-in and experienced a few glitches like weapons getting stuck in the environments, the sound effects for gunfire and enemies just cut out at one point, but there was nothing game breaking. Now the SPV3 mod ran fine most of the time but definitely has some bugs. It crashed on me four times, I noticed some frame rate stuttering during some of the cut scenes, the frame rate dipped heavily during once specific segment in The Library but only for a brief time, I saw enemies stuck in mid-air, muzzle flashes would randomly disappear and then reappear, and I also noticed enemies stuck in the environment but it wasn’t often.

I love Halo’s story, I love the gameplay, but the game, itself, has problems. I absolutely despise The Flood and the level design in the vanilla game is insanely repetitive. However, I would say there’s a lot of positives here, too, and for it’s time, the game was quite revolutionary in many respects. Playing on Legendary can prove to be quite a challenge. There’s a lot of instances where I would approach areas with only one or two health bars and have to deal with multiple Elites and squads of enemies, and the Elites, alone, can put you down quickly. I’m grateful for the future games that did away with the health bar aspect in favor of just shield and health regeneration. The Covenant enemy AI is one of the best parts of the game and is one of the reasons I would revisit this series often. Every enemy encounter will be different each time you play, even if you die and have to restart a battle. I enjoy the Covenant enemy designs, the lore, and universe. Playing co-operatively with a friend is a lot of fun and does help reduce some of the difficulty when playing on Legendary, although if you’re not playing with infinite ammo, you’ll need to be mindful of weapons and ammo in the environments since you’ll have to share it all. Now I have to say the SPV3 mod is one of the greatest mods for a game I’ve ever experienced despite some technical issues. It’s ambitious, sticks to the lore of the franchise, and is an all around amazing piece of work. I would go as far to say that it’s better than the vanilla game. The new areas and objectives not only extend the length of the game but also fit in seamlessly with existing areas and offer new challenges to overcome. The new weapons, enemies, and vehicles are all welcome additions. Although, even with the new items and weapons, I think the difficulty could use a bit more balancing because some encounters can really become insanely hard. Most of the time, I died because I was just overwhelmed. Whether it be by multiple Elites, Brutes, or a combination of both. Halo isn’t like Doom where you can carry all of the weapons, stock up on tons of ammo, and can just plow through most enemies with the right firepower. Even though the Master Chief is a super soldier of sorts, he still proves to be quite fragile, you’ll need to conserve ammo, you can only carry two weapons at a time, the enemy AI is actually smart, and it can be very easy to get overwhelmed. With all of that said, Halo is a fun action-packed sci-fi experience and SPV3 is my new go-to mod for the PC version.

Ultimately, I would definitely recommend Halo if you’re a fan of science fiction, first-person shooters, or action games in general. I have no real issues with the Anniversary Edition when compared to the original and would say it’s the definitive version of the vanilla game. I’ve heard some say the Anniversary Edition’s new graphics don’t capture the Halo look and feel. I disagree but whatever. And you can always switch between the visuals at any time during gameplay so you’re not forced to live with either presentation. Now if you have a capable PC, I’m eager to say skip the vanilla game and immediately install the SPV3 mod. I don’t usually say this word often but the mod is truly epic. That’s the best way to describe it. It expands the game in so many ways while still managing to keep it true to the original. A lot of care and work was put into it and the creators basically took some of the best elements of the future games and just packed it all into the original. But it’s not overstuffed. I would say everything but the difficulty is balanced properly to accommodate all of the new additions. But as eager as I am to recommend skipping the vanilla game, if you never played it before, you really should play the vanilla game first. You’ll appreciate the mod a lot more. Even though I find half the game to be mostly shitty, that’s more or less due to The Flood which I know some people really enjoy and if that’s sounds like you, well more power to you. The SPV3 mod, while it doesn’t eliminate The Flood altogether, unfortunately, it resolves many issues I had with the overall design, making the game a far more enjoyable experience for me. Halo was a big step for first-person shooters, and is responsible for how many future shooters would be designed, and is often hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. My hatred of The Flood is subjective, and even still, I keep returning to the game, so I can’t say I hate it and I would agree that, as a whole, it’s a fantastic first-person shooter that everyone should experience.

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