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Review: Halo 2

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I caved in and picked up Halo 2 yesterday. I did this under protest – I’d rather be in Los Santos or San Fierro. I did offer to swap, but have had no takers yet.

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.

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About aacool

  • $125 million first day sales for Halo 2. This game is smoking right now. Plus they offer RSS player stats!

  • I’m working on my full review as we speak, but you hit on my main complaint. There is a complete lack of any kind of map and the mission objectives are VERY obscure. I’ve spent far too much time completely and totally lost. Other than that, this is one of the best games on the market. It’s a shame you skiped the cinemas. The story is fantastic, the cinemas amazing (better than any of the Star Wars prequels), and some of the twists are well worth it. The Coventant religion is really a fascinating little thing.

  • I’m loving this game… if only I could get myself hooked up to X-Box Live then I’d have absoutely no life! It’d be ace!

  • Agree with the review. Halo was a radiant piece of Art. Halo 2 is a just a good video game.

    What happened? What happened to the brilliant enemy AI, why the confusing levels and obtuse goals? Why the ‘pursuit’ levels wherein you can’t possibly lose the one you are pursuing? (What fun is a race you can’t lose?). The list goes on and on.

    And what’s with the plant from Little Shop of Horrors? Am I in an alternate universe or something?

  • My 12 year old is dying for this game but i am concerned about the m rating. why is it rated m? is it appropriate for a 12 year old?

  • There’s some spotty language, and gore. Some red, some blue, some green. Of course you’re shooting everything. If he plays online, he’ll be at the mercy of the other people playing.

    Good job being a parent. Thanks you.