Review by flight33

"Almost FPS Perfection......"

We waited for 3 years, dealt with delays, heard the hype in every video game mag in production and now its here. Quite simply its the only "REAL" Halo killer.

Graphics: 9
Plain and simple, the game looks stunning. It shows that Bungie bump-mapped the hell out of this game. From the superb detail of the Spartan armor to the dirt that you can see on the treads of the Warthog, this game basically pushes what the XBOX can do and shows off the extreme raw power of the console. Once you see Master Chief's armor and how it shines as well as the use of shadows and lighting, you will know exactly why this game is such a sexy beast to look at. The Covenant is now shown in more detail and you can actually see the various colors in their armor. Like I said, this was done extremely well and it shows how much attention to detail Bungie wanted to bring to this game. Another thing you notice is with all the action going on everything moves as smooth as silk and something like that is a shocker in itself. The only problem that I have with this game is the fact that most of the humans actually show hints of choppiness (I actually saw an empty chair and someone just magically appeared giving orders to the troops) does mar things just a little bit. Some of the human faces actually look kinda flat. Its not something that I would consider to be too bad, but with all the attention given to Master Chief and the Covenant, I would have liked to see some of the supporting characters to look a little more lifelike.

Story: 9
The story in this game actually has you seeing things from both sides of the war. You actually get to see more of the Covenant the different chains of command and the reason why they are doing the things that they do. Seeing things from both sides of the war actually will kinda make you feel sympathetic to the covenant and their plight. They still have the Master Chief as a total bad ass, but the fact that he seems more human now does make things seem that more believable.

Control: 9
The control is basically the same setup as the previous game with a few subtle changes. Since you can now wield 2 guns at the same time, the controls have changed to accommodate that. In the previous game (and with all FPS for that matter) I would always use the left trigger to jump and the right trigger to shoot. Since you are "dual-wielding", you can use either trigger as the hand that you can shoot with. Its nice being able to throw a grenade as you fire an SMG, but I am more used to the old setup and it was more comfortable. Probably the biggest gripe about the control in Halo 2 is the fact that you cant fully customize your controls and button layout (like you can in Unreal Championship). Something like that would make things a lot easier and actually make the game better accessible for vets as well as the newbies.

Music/Sound Effects: 10
From the haunting wailing that is the signature of this game, to the explosions that follow after you chuck a grenade at an Elite; the sound in this game is well above par. The music that has been incorporated into this game is simply wonderful and it makes the soundtrack worth picking up. Probably one of the best parts of the sound is the fact that the marines talk a lot more and the dialog is straight up hilarious. One of the things that took me for a loop was the fact that the Covenant now speak in english. Its kinda funny to hear it because all the voice acting is done well but now that I look at it, I would have preferred their native language with the subtitles for a more authentic feel.

Gameplay: 10
Imaging being thrown into the first scene of Saving Private Ryan and you will get an idea of what I am talking about. You are rushed into the action and its fast paced. I actually liked that they speeded up the gameplay more from the previous version. It doesnt seem as slow and plodding in some areas and it actually moves at a faster pace, kinda like Unreal Tournament. The aliens are much smarter but then again, so are your allies. The AI in this game really shines. Its kinda cool getting flanked on both sides by aliens and seeing the AI go through the different attack patterns. There are more aspects that I could elaborate on but I will save that for.......

Multiplayer/Live: 10
We all know that the single player of the first Halo was wonderful, but we all knew that this game was just tailor made for XBOX Live. Its dripping with multiplayer modes. Even if you dont have Live, just grab some friends and get together for multiplayer heaven. Creating your own game modes, fighting with the vehicles and just a crop of people online makes this game more than worth having. Halo 2 is wonderful but you need to play the multiplayer aspect to see how addictive this game is. The ability to make clans also makes this game more than worth getting. I just wish that they would have made it so you can play multiplayer against the bots though, its nothing hampering but it would have been nice to do. Its kinda hard to believe that you can get this much fun out of a $50 dollar game.

Replayablilty: 10
This is a game that few people will ever grow bored of. Although single player is fantastic, the multiplayer aspect is where this game glistens. This is one of those games that you call off of work for, lose your social life and prolong sleep and food for. Halo 2 is pure FPS platinum.

Buy/Rent: If FPS games are your cup of tea, you own an XBOX, or if you were a fan of the original, then you should have already have this game. If you are not an FPS player then rent it and give it a shot. 2.5 million preorders cant be wrong.

Overall 10/10
Very few games live up to its hype but Halo 2 does. Its the golden feather in the cap of Microsoft and probably one of the best games of all time. This is a game that will be remembered and the fact that it still breaks ground doesnt hurt it either. This is the only true "HALO KILLER" and its a game that no one who owns an XBOX should be without.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/04


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