Review by EasternDragon

"Great overall, but somewhat lacking..."

Halo 2, the most anxiously-awaited game of all time for most people, particularly those who had played it's blockbuster hit prequal Halo: Combat Evolved. For many of us, this wait for a sequel has been filled with hype and over-excitement, angst and lust, just plain boredom even at some points.

So after all this time, all this waiting, was Halo 2 really worth it?

In many ways I feel it was, but in just as many I feel let down by the game. Given that, I felt I had to write a review for it.

Graphics: 10

Hands down, this is the best-looking game I've ever played. The characters look excellent, the levels are extremely detailed, and Cortana looks better than ever (Got a crush. Sue me.). The water is the second-best I've ever seen in a game (Second only to Elder Scrolls III: The Morrowind), and vehicles move fluidly. The only real complaints I can find are that certain terrain elements (Like grass) are rather flat. But that's not enough to drop this even half a point.

Sounds: 8

The Chief sounds as tough as ever, Cortana sounds sweet and witty, the Sarge is a mean, lean, mouthing machine, and the covenant...well...the covenant drop this two whole points. The old alien tongues of the first game are missed by me. Beyond that, everything is excellent. From footsteps to weapons firing, the sounds are Grade-A+.

Music: 9

Not much to say here. Many of the themes of Halo: CE are back, and remixed. What costs this category a point is some of the new tracks just don't sound vary...Halo-ish to me. Some put me off.

Controls: 5

Controls, from moving, to driving, to button layout altogether, seem to be a bit worse than in Halo: CE. To me this downgrade is altogether horrible. There is little control to your jumps, most vehicles drive slower and reload/fire at a decreased rate, reloading takes longer, and wounded grunts can still outrun you. A 'sprint' option or some nice moves like rolling or something similar might've saved this category. But alas, it was not to be.

Replayability: 7

I personally found the story to be as engrossing as the original, and followed it through to the end. I feel let down by how short it was overall, but the shortness of the game lends to it's replayability, being all that saves this category.

Overall: 7

The game has some major improvements over the original, and yet some major flaws too. It's much shorter (I beat it in one sitting, only four hours), but it also looks better and is thoroughly entertaining. Those looking for a major upgrade all-around will be disappointed, but then most real fans won't care.

Rent or Buy?

No solid answer here. Real fans of Halo: Combat Evolved should buy this, as it offers plenty to go on, acting just as well as a compliment to the first game (As it should) as it does as a stand-alone game (Which it does well in my opinion). Those who have never heard of Halo (Shame on you!), or who are buying into all the hype, should rent it first to see if it's to their liking.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/10/04

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