Review by cranium

"HALO2, good but not perfect(especially multiplayer)"

Im just going to break down the game into a few different categories here and give you some thoughts on them, hopefully it gives an accurate view and insite into the game.

Sound 10/10

Ok so we all know HALO had good sound, well HALO2 is no slouch in this area either. Theres the typical HALO style chanting music we all got used to, and the more action oriented electronic style. They added in some heavy guitar music this time though. There were a few times when some really rockin guitar music kicked in which was a great addition.

Graphics 9/10

Well first off the game is just beautiful. What it does well, it really does well. The lightening is awesome, your plasma blasts trail across reflecting, Elites armor is ultrashiny and reflects like a mirror. The textures are simply out of sight. They are by and far the best textures I have ever seen, ultradetailed. I cant give it a 10 here though because there are some graphical flaws. Most noticeably in the cutscenes at times the textures will look extremely plain, then suddenly kick into a high texture mode. Nearly every cutscene has this flaw. It doesnt really happen in game though, at least not noticeably.

Gameplay 9/10(broken in subcategories)

weapons:

Here they did some good additions but what they took out was a bad idea. The new human weapons are kind of junk. They arent really fun and seem like a throwback to more conventional FPS in a current timeframe. Theres a SMG that seems like something out of a current military shooter, not a futuristic one. They took out the pistol which sucks. I can understand they didnt want it in multiplayer for a variety of reasons but it could still have been in the single player. They also took out the assaultrifle and replaced it with a battlerifle. The battlerifle has a zoom which is nice but only shoots in 3 round bursts, which is lame. They also dumbed the needler down. It doesnt home in nearly as well as it did in HALO. The new batch of covenant weapons are great though. Other than the needler change, all the old weapons are the same and they added a nice batch of new ones. The dual-wielding feature is nice too, although you cant do much else without having to throw a weapon down. All in all they made some really good additions but the changes to the human weapons were all really poor.

vehicles:

There are some good things going on here. They added some vehicles and let you drive some you couldnt drive in the first one. They also tightened up the controls on the vehicles. Also you dont always have to drive now, your allies will drive you while you can play passenger or gunner. The carjacking feature is an especially fun addition. If someone gets close enough you can hop on, throw them out of their vehicle and take it.

AI:

Big improvement here. The Covenant AI actually seems to basically be the same to me, I thought they were smart in the first one, they are slightly smarter this time around. The marines however were dumb as dirt in the first one and this time they are actually pretty smart. In the first one they were basically targets for the covenant or for you if you needed some ammo. Now you can switch them weapons without killing, big bonus. Also they fight well now, and are pretty helpful in battle. They will also lead you through the long and at times confusing maps, and they will drive you around in the vehicles. The only time their AI seems to be a bit poor is when they are driving, they will often flip the vehicle, and drive very erratically in battle, sometimes driving you off ledges and such.

levels:

Well not a whole great improvement here. The levels are different but essentially the same deal. Later in the game they start getting back into the repetitiveness again, not nearly as bad as before but there is still some. There was one new addition, a city level, and it was simply amazing. This area is only moderately improved over the first game though.

Story 9/10

I don't see why people are complaining about this. There are some interesting twists to the story and it seems pretty complex. The story in the first game only had 2 twists that I can think of and was not all that great. This time they have way more than 2 twists, the twists are pretty good, and the story is alot more complex. Im not through it yet so I cant comment on the length but again it seems on par with the first game. The levels take basically just as long and Ive played through 5 of them. There are actually some bosslike battles this time around also.

Multiplayer 7/10

Heres where they dropped the ball. You have almost no options in multiplayer. You pick if you want to play a big game or a small game and beyond that they pick where you go and play. You dont get to choose what type of game you play, what server you play on, or anything. They have the party function so you can form a party and play with friends but if your party is over 2 people than its very hard and takes a long time to get into a game. Also when you do optimatch it takes several minutes to get into a game at the best of times. Even though Bungie controls everything and is supposed to be putting you in the best game for you there are also some big lag issues.

So overall I have to give it a 9/10. The single player is improved quite a bit from my experience. The multiplayer though isnt as great as it was made out to be, fun yes but not that great.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/04


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