The game is pretty good, once you get used to dealing with a tunnel-like vision, and the subtle changes in the controls. The online fragfest was unparalleled by anything I’d played before, including Unreal Tournament and Quake. Well, perhaps Quake II was more fun, in a now-archaic way.
The Flood Research Plant level is confusing, the alleyways seem to go nowhere and you never know what’s round the corner. Zanzibar is a great level to experience the Halo version of Earth. The vertical split screen in multi-player greatly reduces the field of vision. New stuff like an elevator that is something like an air cushion is coupled with weapons I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’ve been sticking with the sniper rifle. Stealing moving vehicles is surprisingly easy and fun.
The back story is significantly enhanced. I had to skip past it to get to the game itself. The cut-scenes are well shot. The Convenant brutes I encountered are unintelligent, but rush you like a wave, so it’s best to get them before they are on you. Other Elite troops are smart, but talk a lot. I wish there was a way to turn them off.
The Steve Vai music is resonant with something from Rush – I’m thinking of 2112 here. It sounds very powerful in 5.1 surround sound, as only the XBox can truly deliver. The game visuals themselves are quite dark. They might be better enhanced on a HDTV.
XBox Live matches are awesome, although I didn’t play much – yet. I went back and played a bit of Halo 1 – to see how it felt. Right now, I prefer Halo: Combat Evolved. That could change, though.
This game will provide a second wind to Microsoft, and drive holiday buying. I predict Halo/Halo 2 bundles, and XBox bundled with both as steal deals on Black Friday.