'Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (2011)' is a one-to-one remake of the original 'Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)', with updated visuals and audio as well as a few quality-of-life improvements such as a more modern control scheme. I wasn't able to play the original title as I've never owned an Xbox console, but I recently acquired a PC that I can game with so I decided to check this updated version out (as such, much of my review will also apply to the original piece). I played it as part of 'Halo: The Master Chief Collection (2011)', which enhances the title a little further by allowing it to run at an unlocked frame-rate and resolution. As such, I actually experienced the game at a crisp 4K and a smooth 60 fps. I have to say, it holds up rather well. Even the original graphics, which can be toggled back on at the click of a button, are fairly impressive considering the time in which they were created, and the game's large levels have a satisfyingly seamless vibe. Of course, the updated visuals look much better, even though they're ten years old at this point; the amount of detail in the characters, weapons and environments is massively increased, to the point that toggling between the old and new versions of the titles is like flipping a switch between night and day. At the core of the piece is its gameplay, which revolves almost entirely around killing the various alien threats that constantly keep your regenerating shield under duress. The game is a linear shooter in every sense of the word, although some of the levels are rather vast and offer a little bit of freedom when it comes to manoeuvring around the environment. Often, your objective isn't marked for you, which leads to a somewhat exploratory vibe. For the most part, the thing is a ton of fun. It's smooth, responsive and engaging. I will say that it becomes frustrating on harder difficulties because its enemies transform into bullet sponges and you transform into a tin soldier, but its 'normal' difficulty provides a decent amount of challenge and feels much fairer. There are a variety of weapons at your disposal, from assault rifles and shotguns to laser blasters and rocket launchers, which all serve a distinct purpose and feel satisfying to use. The different types of enemies behave in different ways and have slightly different weaknesses, which makes the encounters feel diverse and keeps you on your toes (especially later on). This effect is also achieved by the remarkably good enemy AI itself, which is especially strong for a game that initially came out in 2001. The enemies take cover, they throw grenades, they flush you out, they rush you, they flank you, they even panic and, on occasion, jump on grenades to save their buddies. It's great stuff that lends an air of, I suppose, realism to the whole thing and ensures that the combat remains compelling. The game's story is clearly inspired quite a bit by 'Alien (1979)' and 'Aliens (1986)', which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It sees you take on the role of Master Chief, a war-ready cyborg soldier who is brought out of stasis when a human spaceship is attacked by members of an alien race who have been at war with them for seemingly quite some time. The ship soon crash lands on a mysterious semi-organic structure known only as Halo, so the Chief sets out to find his cohort and uncover the secrets of his new surroundings. It's simple but effective stuff that doesn't play its hand too early. It doesn't provide much context around its inter-species war, nor its central character, but it leaves enough clues for you to fill in the gaps yourself and is more concerned about the immediate plot which unfolds over the course of its ten missions. Though it, at times, feels a little barebones, it ultimately does what it needs to and has a nice little reveal part way through that uncovers a more-interesting-than-usual villainous motive. The main issue I have with the overall experience is that it feels a bit short, even though it comes in at around nine or ten hours overall. The stakes are big but the plot is small, if that makes sense. Plus, there are a couple of points that seem perfect for extra missions. Then again, I appreciate that it doesn't hang around for longer than it needs to. It's never boring or repetitive, since each mission usually revolves around a different type of objective (despite all being primarily about shooting baddies), which is certainly a blessing. In general, this is a highly enjoyable first-person shooter. It feels rather distinct from most others in its genre. I'm glad I finally got to play it. 8/10.