"Amazing sequel that lives up to the hype. Might wanna get XBL though."

Halo 2 is finally here. The long awaited sequel to the biggest selling Xbox ever. After the greatness that was Halo 1, there was alotta hype building up around this sequel. But I can say with confidence that this game delivers and meets all of that hype. But hey, on to the review:

Graphics
Xbox is a powerful system, and with that we're treated with amazing graphics. Halo 1 had nice visuals but this game surpasses it greatly. Everything looks better like gun models, explosions, characters, level design etc. 10/10

Sound
Halo 2's audio is incredible as well, just like everything, it's a big improvement over the first game. Mood fitting music sweeps in at key moments, explosions sound great, gun sounds sound great. Your marines are even more hillarious this time around, saying more things and they really have more character. Talk between your covenant enemies are also nice sounding. 10/10

Controls
Controls are rock solid. Halo 2 keeps up Halo's consistency of being the best console shooter series there is which is largely due to the controls. There's alot more to do in this game but Bungie manages to fit it all in. The only small problem I had with the controls was dual-wielding, or using two weapons at once. Sometimes its kind of hard in the heat of battle to pick up and drop the weapon you want. Other than that, great. 9.5/10

Single-Player
This has been a concern of many Halo fans, particularly those without Xbox live, whether or not it's worth it if you don't have Xbox live? Well it's kind of hard to say. I really depends on the player, whether or not that person enjoys playing by themselves. Personally, I love playing online. I'm all for single player games but online is really where it's at. The single player though in this game is sort of short, a tad shorter than Halo 1's single player campaign. So I guess if you're a total Halo fanatic then sure, pick it up. The story is much improved over the last game and it plays well. But like I said, online is really where it's at. 8.5/10

Multiplayer
Now this is what i've been waiting for. Halo over Xbox live. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. This is probably the most fun i've ever had playing an FPS online. Hell, it's probably the most fun i've had playing any kind of game. Seriously it's practically flawless. The whole Xbox Live system is lag-free and Halo 2 utilizes XBL in all ways. You can create clans ( that come with a website) have clan-specific logos that show up in game, bring guests on your Xbox to play with you on your live acount, find other games with players matching your specific skill level. There's world rankings and stats. Almost any cool online feature you can think of is in this game. And of course the actual gameplay is amazing. The gameplay is relatively the same as Halo 1 but there's just so many customizable options, and little tweaks you can apply to the game so it stays fresh. The maps are extremely fun too, all of them new, with the exception of Blood Gulch. That's right Blood Gulch is still in the game, just under a different title. 10/10

Buy or Rent
Well basically: if you Xbox live BUY THIS GAME NOW! This is the greatest online experience in a game that i've ever seen. If you don't have Xbox live well you might wanna rent it so you can still play the excellent campaign. But once that's beaten the replayability really drops. Yet, I know there's plenty of Halo fanatics that will still get this without XBL and that's cool. It's definitely worth the 50 bucks.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/04


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