Review by Weisess_Fleisch
"On top or Mediocre?"
Before you even bother to read this, you may as well brace yourself, because I'm writing about my own personal beliefs and facts about the game itself. Read at your own risk and if you give feedback, don't make it destructive, make it nondestructive and prove me wrong. (By the way, this is my first, so constructive criticism is welcome. Please forgive any spelling or punctuation errors within this review.)
The Legendary Halo made by the guys at Bungie had so much success it was completely unreal. The only problem is, mostly it was -over hyped-, and the simple facts are that it wasn't a revolutionary game that breaks all of the previous games of the genre. Halo didn't introduce ANYTHING that we have NOT seen before, and I dare you to prove me wrong. (As far as game play goes, weapons don't count, because every game has unique weapons, take Red Faction 2 for example... The Rail Gun... shooting people through walls is so cheap... Har har!.) The levels are smaller than everyone gives them credit for, and the PC Version is a power hog, you cannot run it unless you have some expensive stuff in your PC.
The fact is as follows:
Halo was not an unbelievable game for the Xbox; it was one of the only GOOD games for the Xbox. Granted, it's not the only. True, it's probably the best, but it was by NO means revolutionary in ANY shape or form. I have been playing FPS since Doom, and don't get me wrong; I was impressed with it, but not overly. It had nothing that wasn't done before other than little blue dudes that yell "THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!" and the rather... err... lame title of Master Chief. But I'm not here to chastise Halo, because it was a good game. A very short campaign but a fun multi-player exists, at least for the first week.
Halo 2 was WAY over hyped. It flew off the shelves and made millions, but the only problem is... was it worth 50$? The introduction of Dual Weapons has been done, but not the Halo 2 way at least to my knowledge. You can mix and match anyway you want, which is kind of cool, but duel wield does not make a game. Many people say yes that it was worth it, but I disagree completely. Even die hard fans find it hard to say "Halo 2 kicks so much ass!!" They stick with the hype because well, it's a hype.
Granted, the graphics are completely freakin' unreal! I mean, I have yet to see a game with better graphics. Half-Life 2 may tie, but I mean... damn... This is crazy. The Master Chief moves life-like, the shadows and textures pushing Xbox to its complete LIMIT. The environments, although slightly crowded from the original it's still very beautiful. Everything has been upgraded from the first; I don't even think they used the same well... anything for anything. They even included the Master Chiefs feet when you look down. I know I've seen another game that does that, but it's a cool feature that makes you feel more inside the head of the character in which you are playing. Blood sprays rather realistically and flies out of wherever you hit. Sadly, there are a few glitch filled spots when combat gets really heavy, the game play slows down but the sound... still sounds good... Ditch the sound, worry about the game play.
Yet another great score for Halo 2. Even where there is so much crap going on you can't keep your head square on your shoulders, it sounds clear as day, but that does not happen TOO often. The incredible sound does not make a game either though and, can make a little difference in fun factor of the game. And very more often than not, it goes unnoticed by the player of the game. So once again, this does not affect my real score a whole lot.
Another good score, but control do not make or break a game either, but it helps. The simple fact of control is the game lets you modify the controls completely, it can become perfect for ANY player, and Halo does. The main thing a game should offer is control stick sensitivity, and if you fine tune it, you can put your crosshairs anywhere you want, any time you want even if you are not an avid gamer. It is relatively easy to do anything in the game from driving a vehicle to shooting your weapons. And the helmet zoom is a great addition. Even though the Xbox controller is rather... oblong compared to all the other controllers, if you have a smaller one it makes it a hell of a lot easier.
FUN FACTOR: 4/10
*In my reviews and I believe in any other, this is where the game is made or broke.
This is where Halo gets owned in my review. And I'm speaking about the game facts, not following the hype, but from a completely neutral standpoint. The multi-player maps are ENTIRELY too cluttered, I agree with adding things for people to hide behind so it's not a clash of who's the better shot or who has the better weapons, but I don't agree with making it so cluttered you can't get your vehicle around without running into a random piece of junk that does not make sense for it to be in the level or even navigate through narrow passageways to get to your destination. And for all you guys who liked the storyline for the first, the second's sucks. It is mediocre at BEST and possibly one of the lamest FPS storylines I have EVER seen. It adds a slight background to the Covenant race but that's basically it. We should know damn near everything about the war between the Covenant and the Humans by now... but for some reason, we don't. We also know very little about the Brutes, and with them playing such a key role in the Covenant side of the storyline, we should know everything about them. Not only that, but the way the game ends, sucks. The last level, you play as a Covenant and you don't know what the hell is going on with the Master Chief other than the fact that he plans to "end the war." At the cut scenes... There are a few cut scenes that are so stupid I didn't even watch them the whole way through, for instants, one of the first, where they Master Chief rides a BOMB INTO SPACE AND MISSES THE BLAST MIRACULOUSLY,? HE IS NOT A SUPERHERO, HE IS A CYBORG.
Doing away with some of the old weapons, like the pistol (which got CONSTANT complaining forums and what not) was good, yet bad at the same time. It made multi-player less pistol-dominated, but... more... how to say... Needler oriented. Trading one weapon for another does not make sense to me. The weapons should be 100% completely balanced, and should only be good in the hands of the player that is using it. It's not FUN to see everyone with basically the same weapon setup. Making some weapons completely useless and others incredibly strong, well... is stupid.
Understandably, games have been moving more toward Multi-player on-line, and less from the original all-on-one-console ideals. But that does not mean that the people whom do not HAVE on-line capabilities should have to suffer with a lame multi-player game when they only have one console. If you have to, add some bots to it, but then of course, they would have to put more time into the AI, and that wouldn't be a bad idea, because the AI in this game is already a couple years behind. The campaign multi-player is the best crap you can get when you only have one console and one friend, the multi-player death matches, etc. for two people are not worth the time or the effort of the loading screens and get boring incredibly quick. It takes 10 minutes at a time to find someone in the incredibly crowded levels and is more often than not more annoying than fun.
Also, players were expecting at least a longer, can't-beat-in-one-sitting campaign... I beat it in one sitting, and that was with only continuing once or twice, without skipping the cut scenes or even taking a five minute break to go to the restroom or get a drink. My 24 ounce Mountain Dew was still 1/4 of the way full, and I'm a fiend when it comes to soda. Plus one of the only reasons I kept playing was because I had nothing better to do, trust me, I would've ditched it in a second to go do something other than sit in a chair and play a sub-par game with it's original.
One other random thing that bothered me about the game was that you could flip a tank COMPLETELY over, yet you can't hold a submachine gun steady, without it rolling uphill on you. (Thanks for reminding me, Victor!) Granted, I know it's to get the vehicle back into use, but there should be another way to do it Perhaps fifteen second hold up where the chief uses a jack or something other than his bare hands. I mean they made the game have better physics, and this defies the entire point!
So, trying to stick short here, if you want a game that you can play on your own without having to go and get Xbox Live and all the other crap you need to be able to play on-line, stay clear and rent it. This game is not worth owning (in my opinion, in anyway) but if you like on-line-multi-player chaos, I suppose it would suffice, but I would prefer older on-line FPS's like Counterstrike (PC NOT XBOX) than Halo 2.
Halo: Combat Evolved completely and incredibly owns Halo 2. From Multi-player to Campaign mode, it is better, even with the new additions in Halo 2, it is still a no contest.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 07/18/05
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