Universal acclaim - based on 68 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 68
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 68
  3. Negative: 0 out of 68
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  1. Xbox Nation Magazine
    Halo is quite simply the closest thing we have ever experienced to a living, breathing alternate universe. [Jan 2002, p.72]
  2. GMR Magazine
    The definitive reason to own an Xbox. [Feb 2003, p.95]
  3. 100
    When you finally set down the controller the first time, and eventually hunger or exhaustion do force all of us to take a break, Halo has pulled you completely into its world and started one of the best sci-fi gaming adventures of all time.
  4. Besides the amazing cooperative campaign, playing with sixteen players via system link is the absolute most fun I have ever had with any multiplayer video game. You will be yelling, cursing and causing much ruckus well into the night during these frantic LAN parties.
  5. I couldn't possibly say enough in this review to give you an idea of how unbelievable this game is, you will have to experience it for yourself...and try and do it with a 5.1 stereo system...One of the best videogames ever created.
  6. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    This game has me totally mesmerized…[It] engages your intellect on a whole different level. [Jan 2002, p.224]
  7. A game that will become the new benchmark for first person shooters. Quite frankly, it's one of the better ones that I have seen in a long time, at least since Half Life.
  8. The gameplay on Halo is utterly brilliant. It takes about 5-10 minutes to get used to the controls...and you may even wonder why it is controlled that way...but, after you get used to it, you will not want it to be any other way!
  9. The attention to detail blew me away. The graphics are beyond anything I imagined.
  10. 100
    The environments are giant and beautiful, sometimes taking up to an hour of gameplay before ever loading. The dark and grimy interiors and real time lighting effects are certainly gorgeous.
  11. 100
    If you're playing a Campaign, it'll take between 15-20 hours on the Easy, Normal and Hard levels. To complete the Legendary level, it'll take approximately four and a half lifetimes.
  12. A brilliant balance between graphics and gameplay that must be seen, and experienced, to be believed.
  13. By far one of the most appealing titles to play over, and over, and over! By the time you finish the first level, you'll want to play it again.
  14. A classic. It's one of the best games of 2001 and a good shot in the arm for 3D shooters and the Xbox.
  15. Halo crushed all my expectations of what a FPS should be. I love this game.
  16. 100
    You watch in amazement as enemies dance and react to your gun fire, the AI gets progressively stronger throughout the game, with enemies that will avoid you and eventually out think you.
  17. 100
    This immersive sci-fi epic delivers both an expansive story and electrifying first-person combat, making it one of 2001's best games.
  18. Your objectives are simple enough that you never have to flip switches, jump over pits or hunt down missing keys, but at the same time the smart enemies, brilliant level design and strategic combat will tax your brain more than any scavenger hunt ever could.
  19. 100
    Those who take a quick look at the game may not see what the fuss is about, but spend some time looking at the incredible detail and you're sure to be floored.
  20. 100
    An excellent, sophisticated, and mature game that will appeal to sci-fi and action fans, and currently represents the best of what Xbox has to offer.
  21. Next Generation Magazine
    One of the best games you'll ever play. Period. [Jan 2002, p.25]
  22. 100
    The graphics are amazing - as in better than what you've seen on a PC. They are just incredible to look at and you'll drool in awe.
  23. 100
    Stunning graphics – from the individual blades of grass underfoot to the eye-popping 3D – married to crystal sound and gameplay more addictive than a Class A drug make for one lethal time-killing package.
  24. Cheat Code Central
    I love the intense fire fights as they really captures the "shoot out" mood if you get my drift. Bungie did an excellent job melding story, action and suspense.
  25. 100
    The action comes in waves, giving you time to catch your breath between massacres while catching up on the foreboding story. But once in a while, there are those marathon levels where you're shooting for 10 minutes straight, and loving every nerve racking second.
  26. The control is perfect. Deathmatch standards like circle-strafing are a snap, and pretty much every common FPS convention from crouching to secondary fire functions is supported here.
  27. Halo has totally revolutionized how we look at console FPS games. Before you go to that big sweat-stained sofa in the sky, you absolutely have to play this game.
  28. The game most easily comparable would be "Half-Life," but even that just pales to the overall scope and vision of Halo.
  29. Surprisingly impressive. In fact, the enemy and ally A.I. is done extremely well. Even on lower difficulties, you'll find enemies give you a challenge.
  30. One of the best FPS games I have played on a console since "Goldeneye" and "Perfect Dark."
  31. Halo with its awesome AI is the kind of game you will play over and over again and each time will be unique, you will never have the same thing happen 2 times in a row and the enemies will never be in the same places, and thats just the single player.
  32. To have a game this amazingly good on day one brings tears of joy to our eyes. Everything in Halo is going to make you praise the day you were born.
  33. Graphically it bench presses any other console FPS out there, and the gameplay is varied, interesting and full of superb environments.
  34. Despite the lack of bots in Halo (something that I was extremely displeased with when I heard the news) the multiplayer aspect of the game can be extraordinarily exhilarating.
  35. It may be the best FPS ever created. Yet from my personal standpoint, Halo is one the greatest games ever created. Ever.
  36. From the look and feel of the game to its balanced learning curve and careful pacing, every aspect of Halo has been polished to perfection.
  37. While technically the game is just a better done fps than usual, it is just so gosh darn fun.
  38. What do you get when you mix an upstart console with an upstart game developer? You get a flagship title called Halo.
  39. To not pick this up for any reason is almost foolish.
  40. 97
    With a story good enough for a full length novel, audio and visual elements as detailed as any you've ever seen and excellent pacing, Halo is the reason for Xbox and vice versa.
  41. A complete thrill ride from beginning to end, an experience perhaps best described as a 16-hour-plus version of the siege scene from the film "Terminator 2"...easily one of the best shooters ever, on any platform.
  42. It is far and away the greatest title of its kind ever to grace a console system and stands par, if not better, with any PC-based First Person Shooter.
  43. I started playing Halo early one afternoon. Several hours in, I figured I should probably take a break to get a bite to eat, so I said to myself, "I'll just finish this one level first". Suffice to say, I never did get around to eating much that day.
  44. Not only the perfect next-generation first person shooter, it has redefined the genre, on a console no less. Never before has a combat game been so amazing in every way.
  45. netjak
    The hype is real, readers.
  46. Halo will stand the test of time as the most played Xbox game ever.
  47. Incredibly intelligent AI, a wide selection of well-balanced weaponry and vehicles, and audio/visual to do the Xbox launch justice.
  48. One of the most engrossing games I've ever played in my entire life.
  49. Game Informer
    Its graphical prowess is truly unprecedented, lighting up the screen with a flurry of chaotic effects that can best be described as glorious. The sheer depth of gameplay, and the countless innovations within it, are equally impressive. [Nov 2001, p.118]
  50. Official Xbox Magazine
    Surpassed the hype completely. [Dec 2001]
  51. 95
    Weighing in with 13 maps, 26+ game modes, and a slew of adjustable options, Halo is a veritable cornucopia of multiplayer goodness. Add System Link Support to the fray, and you're looking all night frag-filled benders.
  52. It's one of those near-perfect games that just about everyone will love even if they detest the genre in every shape and form. In short: Halo's a good game.
  53. Controlling the Master Chief, on his mission to save the multiverse from the nasty Covenant aliens, has never been so enjoyable. Conversions may be a risky business, but here, the risk has paid off. Halo is a sublime piece of software.
  54. The most advanced all-around shooter I've played so far, in a sense that it successfully combines some of the most spectacular team based action and enemy AI, very good visuals and impressive sounds, and it does it all with a lot of style.
  55. A must-have for 3-D shooter fanatics.
  56. 90
    The interior textures could have done with more variety. They get awfully repetitive quickly, and one ends up looking much like the next. Some of the levels use the same layout as well, and you'll get tired of running through one area, only to enter another that looks just like.
  57. The in-game AI is nothing short of remarkable.
  58. An experience not to miss...Halo evolves first person combat to new highs. But it doesn't do anything shockingly new. [Xgamer Magazine]
  59. Plain and simple, Halo is "Perfect Dark" taking place on a different world with a slightly modified story.
  60. Though all of the vehicles, especially the Warthog, are given odd control mechanics, playing with the vehicles adds quite a bit of enjoyment to the otherwise standard FPS game mechanics.
  61. The two-player experience is utterly brilliant, but it's all the cool detail, the mysterious plot, and tight gameplay that make Halo feel so involving and unique.
  62. Even after several years, this exquisite Xbox entry is still a pulse-pounding and amazing experience that begs to be replayed multiple times.
  63. Halo has the best control of any console shooter I've ever played.
  64. Halo does suffer from repetitive gameplay, a lack of full exploitation of the ideas and gameplay introduced at the beginning of the game and a disappointing multiplayer mode. But all in all, it is a worthy release for gamer's willing to bet on Microsoft next-generation console.
  65. 85
    Most of it is done really well, but there simply aren't enough great moments to offset the repetitive gameplay seen throughout much of the game.
  66. The first half is fast, exciting, beautifully designed and constantly full of surprises. The second half is festooned with gobsmacking plot twists and great cinematics but let down by repetitive paint by numbers level design.
  67. This staggeringly polished first-person shooter (which also includes a Quake-style multiplayer option) will have even the most passive players sweating, er, bullets as they take control of an eight-foot-tall cyborg and greet intergalactic invaders with open arms-or open fire.
  68. The animation on each Marine you encounter is remarkable, possessing almost endless moving parts and distinct facial features, while the lighting, textures, and massive landscapes prove Halo and the Xbox to be without equal on the console market.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2001
#1 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2001
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2868 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 13, 2010
    This is my attempt at a helpful NO SPOILER review.
    With popularity you get hate. Halo has gained many fans over the years, but it has also
    This is my attempt at a helpful NO SPOILER review.
    With popularity you get hate. Halo has gained many fans over the years, but it has also gained many haters. The reasons that I have heard that people do not like Halo are its originality, itâ
    Full Review »
  2. JesseP.
    Nov 25, 2003
    Too much hype not enough content. Half life is so much better and its years older. so the graphics are better in halo but thats expected. Too much hype not enough content. Half life is so much better and its years older. so the graphics are better in halo but thats expected. cause its newer. just wait for halflife 2 Full Review »
  3. May 5, 2012
    How do you write a review 11 years after a release. The game will feel dated, it won't look or run like you're used to games running. ThatHow do you write a review 11 years after a release. The game will feel dated, it won't look or run like you're used to games running. That is not a problem for Halo:Combat Evolved. The graphics still hold up, even from a different system generation. The gameplay is still fierce and engaging, the multiplayer still robust enough to lose several hours with a few friends, and that's playing it now. The game has held up beautifully because it was so far ahead of it's time. Colourful scenery with an absolutely incredible soundtrack, the ambiance of Halo takes you away. How do you review a game released in 2001? Quite favourably, it seems. Full Review »