Review by Sour DieseL
"One of the Few Instant Classics"
The first Halo met with such a massive success that Bungie and Microsoft quickly began work on a sequel that would suck money and time out of so many people. And there's a good reason for that. Halo 2 is hailed as perhaps the greatest first-person shooter since Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, if not the greatest of all time. Nearly two years after it's release, more than 710 million hours had been played in the game's online multi-player. It was easy for anyone to pick up and play, and the gameplay was addictive. Unfortunately, in April of this year, the original X-box Live was finally shut down, making the online mode now impossible to play.
Story: 8/10: It's a first-person shooter, folks, so you shouldn't expect too much. But it does have it's moments, as well as a few twists. The game starts off as the UNSC is celebrating their victory over the Covenant, a group of aliens who were bent on activating a device called a Halo, a massive ring that harbors a deadly and powerful laser, akin to that of the Death Star from Star Wars. However, the celebration is halted as a fleet of Covenant ships begin a surprise attack on a massive UNSC gunship. Master Chief and several others escape and make their way to Earth. Upon tracking down a High Prophet who jumps into slip-space, they follow him and discover another Halo installation. In the meantime, An Elite commander of The Covenant goes on trial for failing to stop the UNSC from destroying the first Halo, and is labeled as a heretic. The Covenant views the Halo as a gateway that will lead them all to salvation. The Prophet Hierarchs decide that although The Elite Commander failed to stop the destruction of the Halo, he is no heretic. They decide to give him the coveted title of "Arbiter" who is to go on personal missions for the High Prophets. On a mission to kill a heretic, he discovers an oracle and it is revealed that the prophets are misleading the rest of the Covenant. The Arbiter joins the UNSC in an attempt to bring an end to the Halos once and for all.
Gameplay: 10/10: Many people find the Campaign mode boring and leaving you unfulfilled. Regardless, the actual gameplay is fantastic. Along the way you'll pick up all sorts of weapons, both of human and alien origin. You also get to hop into vehicles such as the UNSC Warthog, which requires two people to operate fully; one to drive, and one to man the turret on the back of the vehicle. You'll also find Covenant hover vehicles like the Ghost and Banshee. The online multi-player supported up to 16 players per match, allowing for two 8-man teams in Team Slayer. The online supports the mic, allowing you to communicate with your team to hopefully gain a little leverage. Unfortunately, in many matches you would find hackers or those who would exploit a number of glitches such as the "Super Jump" glitch that would give you a superior vantage point to snipe from. Still, if you wanted to, you could still take these glitchers out. One of the real issues would be when some ten or twelve year-old would hop on with their mic and just let loose with a series of expletives that made you want to mute microphones. Still, for the most part, the multi-player is great fun, whether you have your friends over or are playing online. Most weapons are dual-wield able with only a few exceptions, such as the energy sword. The multi-player modes also offer a variety of different game modes, such as the popular Team Slayer, and Juggernaut, which have their own rules and weapon sets. You can even create custom game modes and others can join in to play by your rules. It truly is sad that the online mode is now gone, but you can still get some friends over and have a Halo 2 tournament/party. Controls are easy enough, you shouldn't have too much of a problem getting them down, that is to say if you've never played this game yet.
Graphics: 10/10: The graphics look fantastic for it's time and still hold their own in 2010 pretty well. They don't really feel or look too dated. Graphics usually aren't that big of a deal but everything looks splendid here and you can make out what everything is. The CGI cut-scenes look fantastic and the in-game graphics are pretty fluid and smooth. There is definitely no pain on your pain on your eyes with this game. It's not too bright or too dark, it's just right.
Sound: 10/10: The soundtrack is pretty good, and the infamous Halo theme makes its return at the title screen. The sound effects are great and everything sounds as it should. The composers did a fantastic job as well as the voice actors for each character. Overall, the game has a good soundtrack and it's worth turning on the surround sound if you have it.
Overall: 9/10: The story isn't all that fantastic for the campaign but like I said, it does have it's moments. The area this game mostly shines in, is the gameplay. It features a great set of maps and various weapons that make the game a blast. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the multi-player is now all offline and so if you want to play multi-player, you'll have to be just a tad more sociable. Still, if you haven't picked up this game yet, go ahead and buy it, because it should be pretty cheap now and it's a game that will probably go down in history as a "classic".
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/04/10
Game Release: Halo 2 (US, 11/09/04)
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