Review by blackenedhaiku

"Halo, how could you have failed me?"

I don't know how it happened. I really don't. The game that I have been waiting for since the day I beat Halo has come out, and I hate it.

Let me begin by saying that I desperately wanted to like this game. I stood out in the cold for 2 hours for this game. If you had told me that Halo 2 was going to be this bad on Nov. 8th, I would have called you a liar. I would have been wrong.

Let me explain...

Graphics: 8 - At the very least, there's nothing wrong with the graphics. Actually, I'd say that they're pretty good, excellent even. All the shiny new effects and the bump mapping look really keen, and I can dig all the new animations for the characters. Granted there are a few little spots in the movies where textures don't load as fast as they should, but overall this game is visually very sharp.

Sound: 8 - The guns...sound like guns. The alien energy weapons sound like alien energy weapons. All in all everything sound like it ought to. You ask, what is so special about that? I answer: everything! There is no fakeness to the sounds, they sound more lifelike than a lot of video game sounds I've heard recently. The music is also very nice, although a bit of a penalty for the overuse of wailing guitar. To the gentlemen at Bungie: yes, wailing guitars are awesome, no doubt. They are, however, not appropriate for every other level. I'm sure that an alien space warrior doesn't rock out on metal when he's storming a stronghold.

Control: 5 - To set the record straight, I did really like the Halo 1 control scheme. I thought it worked very well. When playing Halo 2, however, I constantly felt like there was something wrong with my controller. It seemed just a little broke. After trying three other controllers I decided that the problem wasn't on my end. Everything just seemed....squirrelly. The melee attack doesn't work for crap now, dual wielding is more of a burden than a blessing, and the chief jumps like a friggin' rabbit. The vehicles also don't seem to control quite right. It seems like to compensate for the overly slippery nature of vehicles on Halo 1 that they made everything too tight. In general the controls left a sour taste in my mouth.

Multiplayer: 3 - Heaven help you if you haven't got Xbox Live. Almost all of the maps are absolutely cavernous. Want something for you and a few friends to have a quick round on like Halo 1's Chill Out? Well that's too bad, because in place of fast-paced action, you get to wander around for what seems like forever to try and find your opponent. Want to play with more than you and your friend, maybe fill out the map a little with some bots? Tough! If you want the luxury of shooting something on Zanzibar at 2AM besides an exploding barrel and you don't have any friends over then you have to pay for Live. Make sense? Without bots you have to buy Live to play a halfway decent multiplayer game. You buy Live, Billy Gates gets richer. You wonder why they decided not to do bots? You could set up a system link game of course, provided you know 16 people with enough equipment and copies of Halo 2 to get things running. From the experience I just had tonight trying that I can tell you that you're better off going to bed early and telling everyone to stay home. Also, co-op is a joke. A sad one. The graphics get bad, already dark levels get get even darker, and even getting a vague idea of whats going on in a dark level with only half a screen is even less fun than having your teeth chipped out with a screwdriver and a claw hammer.

Single Player:1 - Talk about frustrating. Easy is far too easy. I'm talking to the point where I never even had a moment where I thought I might die. The whole game was a cakewalk. Normal, on the other hand, was a major headache. By comparison in Halo 1 easy was easy, but not to the point where it was insulting. Normal was a decent challenge, but by no means undoable. Heroic, where I usually played, was hard and required you to plan ahead (and die a little), but eventually you could figure out what to do. Legendary was just that. Halo 2 skips the gradual progression in favor of "easy enough for kids with no thumbs" mode and the ever so popular "let's label it Normal and make it as obnoxious as possible without making it totally impossible so that they play for hours at a constant state of enragement." At any higher difficulty you'll just become too angered to play and will wither quit or smash your controller through your TV. The whole thing is so bad I just want to cry.

Story: 1 - OH GOD, WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO? After only 9 hours of playing through an obviously slapped together story, I was summarily treated to the most anti-climactic end EVER. Not only was it a horrible anti-climax, it wasn't even the end! It was a lame cliffhanger. I didn't even know the game was over until the credits rolled! I completely expected to start another mission, and BAM! Credits. I was in a state of shock. Not only was it over, it was awful. After all that time playing, begging for the sweet release of a well wrapped up story, all I got was a lame cliffhanger. One of the main reasons I bought the game was to find out what happened after the engrossing story of Halo 1. This is what I get? Heresy! Absolute heresy!

In closing, it has to be an illusion. This can't be the sequel to my beloved Halo. This can't have come from Bungie. It's impossible. This is just a cruel joke played on us by Bill Gates. Shame on you Bill, shame. I've loved everything Bungie did before this, the Marathon series, the Myth series, even Oni was ok. But this, this can't be from them. If it truly is, if this is really what Bungie cranked out as Halo 2, then this is a sad day for us all, for it means the yet another company with talent and fresh creative ideas has burned out and become but a hollow ashy shell of its former self.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 11/10/04

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