Review by TheRedneck14
""It's not a new plan. But we know it'll work.""
Ah, Halo 2. After the release of the first game, and all of the people who bought an Xbox just for that game, Bungie became a household name. But the question was this: could they do it again? I have said before that I think the first game is overrated [its a great game, but not the gift from god everyone thinks it is], but this one just did not seem like enough was really done to make it a great game. Although the Multiplayer mode is great [and one of the best on Xbox 1], the Campaign was terrible in some spots. So, lets light this candle.
The story for Halo 2 seems like it was much deeper than the first game, and it takes place almost immediately after the first ring is obliterated.
Master Chief is back at Earth on one of the space stations around it with Sergeant Johnson [don't ask how he got back... its classified], and suddenly a small Covie fleet attacks you, and you have to fight your way back onto to earth to kill more of these ugly things. You are then sent to another Halo Ring while you chase down the Prophet of Regret [one of the Covenant leaders].
You also get to play as the Arbiter, one of the leaders of the Elites is being punished for being unable to stop Chief for destroying the first Halo, instead of being put to death he is given the role of killing a "heretic" who is saying that the Prophets are wrong and that the great journey [firing Halo's Rings] will just kill everything.
There is also a Covenant Civil War when the Brutes take over the Elites role, and the Flood is still alive and devouring people.
Like the previous game, you are just going through missions using whatever the hell you can find to bash your enemy's skull in. There are even more weapons now, but I found the human weapons to be almost useless on the higher difficulty levels, unless I was fighting the flood because that Plasma rifle would not hurt them at all [and sadly that was the only damn thing I could find on most of the Flood levels that had any ammo in it]. You are also capable of dual wielding guns now, I haven't really tried this much but I heard that the Needler and the Plasma Rifle are a good combo for it, and the only real drawbacks are worse accuracy, and being unable to use the butt of your gun to whack someone, or use grenades, but the higher rate of projectiles digging into the aliens makes up for it enough.
You are also playing as two characters, the Master Chief, and the Arbiter. The only differences between them are that Master Chief has a flashlight, and the Arbiter has a 5 second cloak. Basically, Master Chief is going through some levels with the Marines [if any are available] and killing bad guys, and the Arbiter does the same thing with some of the Covenant so its not too much of a difference.
There is also a new HUD, the Shield has been moved above the radar [stupid decision in my mind], and there is no health bar but now it is just a shield, which recharges much faster than in the first game.
The enemy AI is also improved, for example the Hunters will now be tougher to beat because that they aren't just shooting their cannons and trying to charge at you with their big metal thingies now. They do try whacking behind them now, and it does seem like they are smarter [and their cannon now fires a stream instead of a big ball], your allies can also hold their own but they still need to be babysat sometimes to keep themselves from dying, and I have seen them get stuck on a wall until you help them out.
As for the levels, there are still checkpoints that save at a certain point of the level [good in the tougher levels because you will die a lot], my only problem is that the game freezes for a second to save the game... it takes you out of the moment. As for using the Chief and the Arbiter, the levels with the Arbiter seemed really long and monotonous sometimes, I found myself saying "Oh hurry up and end damn it!" [and several other expletives in the level "Quarantine Zone"], I also hated The Flood while using the arbiter because his levels mainly had Covenant weapons, and those suck against the Flood [which seems like it got much tougher to kill now], I was also annoyed by how boring the Brutes were to fight, because all they did was charge at you and start punching you. There is also another new brood in the Covenant fleet, the Drones, which are just annoying bugs that fly around and annoy you. At least in Halo: Comabat Evolved, some of the annoying enemies like The Flood were at least entertaining to fight, but in Halo 2 it seems like they just made them even more of a pain in the ass.
Finally, for the levels, there are 14 of them but it seems like they went by really fast, because on my first play through I beat this game in around the same amount of time I beat Halo 3. Once I checked [I thought I done 4 levels at that point] and I think I was on level 9]. Also, I played this game on my 360, and there was some lag in a few points of the game, I am not sure if this was in the game when you play it on Xbox 1 so I won't detract anything for it.
Halo 2 isn't too much more difficult than Halo: CE, the only real change is getting used to some of the nerfed weapons. And, as I said above some of the enemies like The Flood became even more of a pain in the ass. Much like the first game, the biggest challenge is staying sane in some of the levels, because they replaced the repetitiveness from the first game with just making the levels annoying to do.
Things aren't really changed much from the first game, you can customize some things and everything moves fluidly enough in my mind.
Say what you want about Halo, but you gotta admit that these games do look gorgeous. Halo 2 has a very high amount of advanced texture mapping which makes this game almost look as good as a launch game for the 360, everything looks a lot better in Halo 2 than in Halo: CE, except for the Flood, they don't look like popcorn anymore, but they look too veiny.
You still get a pretty spurt of blood from shooting the bad guys, and now you are also capable of blowing up vehicles in more detail than the first game, you can blow off chunks of the Ghosts and Banshees by hitting them with something hard enough [Tank missiles were the most fun for me].
The only problem I had is that there is a popup issue with some of the textures, in some Cinematic scenes the textures takes a second to appear, the same thing also happened with a lot of things in the Campaign.
Halo games also have incredible sound, the score [even though a lot of the songs were in the first game] is really good, the weapons sound like weapons should, and the chatter you hear from the Marines, and the Covies is entertaining, the voice over work is also very well done and it seems much more professional than the first game.
I have been mentioning several things about how the game looks and sounds in the above sections, and that does help with the atmosphere. And most of the levels do a great job depicting what they need to show to immerse you. its just that as I said above, some levels won't really immerse you, they will just annoy you.
First off, I need to admit that I haven't spent much time on the Multiplayer mode, infact I have played multiplayer a couple times with a friend at his house before I got my 360, and I have only played a couple rounds on the Multiplayer mode. But I fully intend to update this once I get a reliable Modem to play on Live with.
[people who know me will know this, I have Dial-Up, and I have to bring my 360 to a neighbors house to use their connection.]
You can do Co-Op, death match, team death match, capture the flag, assault [attacking and defending a base], and many other modes you can play online. There are not as many people playing this one online now, but hopefully you can find some people who play on the old Xbox to play against. The online service is great, and the only problem is when the little kids start cursing at you, and when you get tea-bagged.
Halo 2 is more playable than the first game, even though the Campaign is worse the Multiplayer lasted until everyone moved on to Halo 3.
Good AI, good story, great graphics and sound, great Multiplayer.
Human weapons suck, The Flood and The Brutes, weak Campaign.
Should you get it:
If you just like Halo for the Multiplayer, get Halo 3 because everyone is playing that now, but if you like Halo games then go ahead and get it because even though there are some problems with the Campaign the story is good enough.
Halo 2 was not as good as the first game, and the only thing it does better is the Multiplayer, but it is still a fun game that any Halo fan should have in their collection.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/04/08, Updated 02/06/08
Game Release: Halo 2 (US, 11/09/04)
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