Review by Wewt Wewt

"An overrated disappointment."

"Halo is the best game ever, it's worth buying an Xbox for, etc."

Many Halo and Xbox fans continually tout these lines. My friend bought an Xbox and Halo when they were newly released. Together, we beat the co-op campaign and played four person multiplayer with some other friends. I always thought Halo was good, not great. Good graphics, but average storyline and slightly above average gameplay and multiplayer. However, the game enjoyed tremendous success. Since its release, the sequel has been one of the most anticipated recent games. I was curious to see how good Halo 2 is and I've played it for several hours in both single and multiplayer. However, I've found that it suffers from its predecessor's mistakes and does not improve much in other aspects.

Graphics - 9 (out of possible 10)

The graphics are still great. Backgrounds and textures look excellent and are full of detail. Edges are clean and everything looks crisp. My only complaint is with cut-scene textures loading a little slowly. I think Bungie could have done a better job polishing. This alone, however, does not detract much from Halo 2's graphical beauty.

Sound - 8 (out of possible 10)

Nothing to complain about here. The sound is done rather well. The voices, ambient music, and sound effects are clear sounding and fit the mood (likewise, guns sound like you'd expect they would). However, I can't help but feel Bungie could have improved here a little bit. Don't get me wrong, the sound is good. Just nothing extraordinary.

Gameplay - 5 (out of possible 10)

Here's where the game suffers. To me, first person shooter games are all about gameplay. Even older games like Counter-Strike are still fun and have huge fan bases despite technical inferiority because they are a blast to play. To me, Halo's gameplay was only slightly above average for its time and Halo 2 hasn't really improved on it that much. There are some dandy new features such as new guns (which is to be expected in any first person shooter sequel) and dual wielding (which isn't THAT special, honestly. Most first person shooters already have this feature in the first installment), but it feels too much like the first game. Single player is redudant and sometimes frustrating. Levels are huge (could be good or bad, depending on your preferences) and enemies seem to have huge amounts of health. Or maybe it's because the human weapons very weak in comparison to alien ones. Weaker weapons, such as pistols, also don't play as much of a factor. Melee feels awkward as well. I also don't like the new health/shield recharge system. The new system helps you if you engage in many small skirmishes but hurts you if you fight big battles (shield recharges faster but once it's gone, you're basically done for). I can't think of any signifcant strides Halo 2 has made in gameplay, in terms of both improving the first's and being innovative. All in all, the gameplay is disappointing.

Multiplayer - 6 (out of possible 10)

Multiplayer is still fun, to an extent. Be warned, however, Xbox Live is almost a necessity. Unless you're having the huge Halo LANs of old, the maps are simply too large to play with four people. You'll find yourselves playing hide and seek instead of Halo 2. While it's a blast to frag online, I kept asking myself, "How is this different than games like Unreal Tournament 2004?" Both are futuristic shooters and personally, I think UT2K4 has superior gameplay. Gameplay, of course, is a huge part of multiplayer. Halo 2's multiplayer suffers from the gameplay's mediocrity. Multiplayer is the meat and potatoes of first person shooters and I don't feel Halo 2's is as good as it could (should) have been.

Replayability - 6 (out of possible 10)

The bulk of the game's replayability lies in its multiplayer. Hardcore fans may find themselves challenging themselves to harder single player difficulties; however, Legendary is even harder this time and it's just frustrating. Depending on how much you like the multiplayer, you may play this game longer or shorter than what I would. Personally, I'd get bored of this game in about 20 hours of play.

Conclusion

Like, its predecessor, Halo 2 is good, not great. It definitely doesn't live up to its hype. In my opinion, it seems more like an expansion to Halo than a sequel to it. I don't really dislike this game, but simply, it's a huge disappointment. To me, Halo was already overrated and Halo 2 is more of the same. I'd give Halo a 7/10. Since this game is just Halo with a few minor tweaks and nothing new, which is a necessity for good sequels, I'd have to score this game a bit lower. If you really loved Halo, you'll love Halo 2. But if you thought Halo to be decent to pretty good (like me) or bad, you won't like Halo 2 much.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/04


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