Review by SkankinPickle
Reviewed: 04/12/07 | Updated: 11/16/11
Intro- This review has a lot of comparing with the first Halo, and in comparison with the first one, Halo 2 is quite disappointing. I'll start off this review by saying why the "Best Game Ever." (more like most hyped game ever), Halo 2, doesn't deserve anything close to a perfect 10. I would given it a 8, but then I remembered how the game's story ended. Then on top of that all of these little things bungie tried to improve (but made worse, the top most frustrating being how master chief throws his grenades like a little girl.) This game was supposed to be "The Best Game Ever.", but how can this be when the first Halo is still so much better?
This game is almost as fun to play as Halo 1 (I'm grading this on a curve). Despite the faded effort in the story line and some annoying things that shouldn't have been changed, it's a real fun game to play. The difficulty "Legendary" is a lot harder than the "Legendary" on Halo 1, and that can be a good thing, depending on whether you like a tough challenge. The reverting after your co-op friend dies was a terrible mistake, it's hard enough to get through without both of you dying. As for the difficulty "Easy", it is a lot easier than it was in Halo 1, which means a six year old could beat the game, without dying even at the single most challenging point in the game (because the marines will do all the work.) Basically the Difficulty compared with the first Halo, is more extreme, a wider spectrum. The few controls that changed from the first Halo, were not for the better. One change that I mention above is how master chief now lobs his grenades. Then how they changed the fall damage, from partially realistic to no fall damage at all (except when you fall off a steep cliff and die). These minor changes weaken the already strong gameplay. Another thing that was quite bothersome about the second Halo was shooting the SMG. The Spartan who can bench press a 1000 pounds can't keep a tiny SMG straight while firing. One cool improvement in Halo 2 is the destructibility of all the objects in the game. The details were also good when it came to debris and other things like the translucency of water.
This is the most disappointing part. Sadly the story line felt like it was thrown together instead of being well thought out and presented well. I don't want to read a book to understand the storyline. There are not as many fun levels as there was on Halo 1 and I think that's because of the storyline. The first few levels of Halo 2 are very entertaining and lead you to expect all of the levels remaining will be as fun or more fun. Just as you think the story is going to get better, the Covenants' side of the story barges in. Suddenly you don't know whats going on, but you continue on with the game pretending its not getting less entertaining (because it's the best game ever right?) I can't help thinking the Covenants' side of the story could have been a lot better, but like the whole story line, it was thrown together too fast, or just not presented well within the game. I do not like gravemind. What were they thinking putting him in there?! Stupid fat octopus speaking in parables. Parables are for school, not entertainment.
A great side of this game is the graphics it presents. The textures are a bit better than the first one. The lighting is about the same. Oh, speaking of light, what in world happened to the flashlight in this Halo?! I'm talking about when you turn it on, it only stays on for about five seconds before shutting off again. Once again, something that was fine in the first Halo was changed in an effort to somehow make better. What could have made it better was an infinite lasting flashlight. In reality batteries don't die in 3 minutes, nor in five seconds (do you think they will with the technology 500 years in the future?) For the most part the graphics on this game were excellent. Aside from the little lag on putting in details when it changes camera views (for such I dock a point), the graphics are great for the time.
Another good quality about this game is the sound. Although the music isn't as good as the first Halo's, it's still alright. Besides that moment when you are the arbiter flying around to that wailing guitar... Again Bungie-- why? The sound effects of the guns and explosions fulfill expectations. The voices of the characters are loud and clear. Sound in the cinematics are easy to hear and understand. Other than the slight degrade in the soundtrack, the sound couldn't be much better.
Play Time/Replayability- 9/10
The overall length of the game is about what was expected, which is good. Its replay value is above average. This means you will still be picking this game up after years and still be entertained. It is usually rare for video games to have a high replay value so this is a strength. Its also one of the most important factors when reviewing a video game, because if a video game has poor replay value, then sometimes you can't even finish the game it gets so boring and that defeats the purpose of the entire game. How long will it stay entertaining is what it's all about. Lots of games aren't nearly as fun the second time around.
Here's a story about the game's length and disappointing nature... After picking up my reserved copy of Halo 2 at the age of 14, me and my cousin (being huge fans of the first Halo) prepared to beat Halo 2 in one sitting (probably not the best Idea, especially if it's on Legendary for your first time =/ ). We picked a Thursday night to start. We were to beat it in my parent's theater room, because of the big screen and surround sound for the best experience. We played the first three levels without complaining much about the wrong moves bungie made. We fell asleep at about 2:00 Am. We woke up at about 10:00 Am or so and without leaving the room we started to play again, starting where we left off from last night (level 4). Since we were not used to the immense difficulty on Halo 2, we were stalled in a few areas, sometimes for a 1/2 hour or more. After playing for almost a straight 12 hours, we were very anxious for a good ending. After beating the White-Mohawk brute, we were finally going to go back to earth to fight one last level. We watched the cinematic after the so called "last level" and then the worst happened... the last level of the game was cut out!! We sat there staring at the screen as the credits rolled by. We were stunned that the game could end in such a way, especially on a note like the last level. My cousin said, "We didn't see the sun the whole day for this kind of ending?!" That was a sad day indeed. Not only was the ending of the game sad, but how long we had just played without stopping, save only to sleep and go to the bathroom.
Final Recommendation- Hey, a used copy now days is like 3 dollars. It's worth owning at least, but only if your a big fan of the series and plan on running through it.
Outro- I know the review was mostly about how the first Halo is better, but that just because this game deserves to be bashed on a bit for not being as good as the first one. I didn't write a review on the first one and don't plan to, even though it is probably the best game for console ever to be released. Who doesn't know how fun Halo is anyway? Who needs to read a review for a game they know to be a blast. I doubt there will ever be another game that is as fun as Halo was in its time on the Xbox . As for Halo 2, there are better games out there, like Might and Magic VI for the PC ; D
(v 1.3 11.15.11)
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Halo 2 (Limited Edition) (US, 11/09/04)
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