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on November 10, 2004
I loved the original Halo. It had everything I wanted in a game. Good graphics, excellent story, and lots of action.

Halo 2 is essentially its predecessor, except better. I know that sounds unlikely, but the few things that I didn't like about the original game such as bad Marine AI and monotonous maps are gone in this version.

For example, I was playing last night, and I was on the second level where you and a team of Marines are going through an African city killing everything. A Marine in front of me gets killed as soon as he rounds a corner. Instead of charging ahead, the rest of the squad hugs the wall. So, I swap my sniper rifle for Sarge's auto rifle (another kickass feature, you can swap guns with marines). Since the Marines are better shots, Sarge charges ahead and takes out the Covenant sniper. The marines and I then charge ahead and waste the covenant.

Here is a summary of cons and pros about the game.

PROS: Marines are much, much more intelligent.

You can swap guns with marines.

marines can drive vehicles on their own now.

the flood return


Cons: The only bad things I noticed so far were some minor graphial glitches, such as guns and vehicles sticking through walls. Also, every time it loads a charecter in a cutscene, a milisecond later the game seems to "draw" the person. It is kind of wierd looking, but in no way hurts the game.

If you are into a good sci-fi story or lots of action get this game. Also, Halo 1 fans wont be dissapointed, all changes were for the better.
0Comment80 of 91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I just finished the full walkthrough for Halo 2, as well as played a number of multiplayer games. I'm finally ready with the review of this awesome game!

First off, this is obviously the sequel to the hugely popular initial Halo game. You are Master Chief, a space marine who is sent out to battle the enemies. You are fighting the Covenant, who are your main foes, but you also run into the Flood, who are a space parasite that wants to eat all life. In addition, there are mechanical creatures on Halo who want to kill pretty much anything including the Flood. So each location and creature type has its own look, feel, attitudes and reactions.

The graphics are simply gorgeous, from the rippling water to the clouds in the sky and reflections off of surfaces. I love taking screenshots of this game. The music is also extremely well done, in that the quality is always very high. But it's a little bizarre to be going from new age lilting softness in one heated battle to high intensity rock music in another and so on. It doesn't necessary track to the location you're in, either. It's just whatever the designers felt like putting in.

The gameplay and plot is where this game really shines. Your characters that interact with you are simply BRILLIANT in how they each do what a real live creature would do. Grunts are my favorite - these little Covenant front-liners are brave and talkative when they're in groups, but when you whittle them down they suddenly turn and flee, shrieking at the top of their lungs. Your teammates leap into vehicles with you, either driving or shooting depending on your preference. They'll come alongside you to give you support, and duck for cover when appropriate.

The quips the characters come out with mid-battle still make me laugh out loud. In one sequence you are the covenant Arbitor and are working your way through a room. You come across a pair of grunts and a jackal under attack, and take out the enemies. The grunt comes running to you in glee, shouting, "Arbitor! My savior!" Then he pauses and adds, "Jackal, say thank you to the Arbitor!" :)

The cut scenes are equally as brilliant and are truly movie quality in the interactions. The timing, dialogue, everything is great. The little touches are everywhere. In one sequence, the Sergeant is preparing his troops to get ejected in pods down to the surface of Halo. He walks past the Master Chief's pod and thumps twice on it, as if to say "All OK in there, ready to go?" Right on beat, you see Master Chief inside his pod, thumping once back in response. You really forget that these are just computer generated characters.

Multiplayer is the stellar addition to this release and there are reasons to be thrilled. You can play on a large variety of maps, in a number of styles, and there is even going to be downloadable content in the future.

That all being said, there are of course a few non-stellar aspects to this release. First, the ending SUCKS. The first one was bad enough with its "Oh I bet there is another Halo out there" so you don't even feel like you really saved the world. In this one, not only is it not a "you're done but it's not over" ending - it's pretty much cut off mid-battle! That is INCREDIBLY frustrating for a gameplayer. Obviously they want you to buy Halo 3, but that's going to be a year or two away. Can't we have some satisfaction in the meantime?

Next, the game is really short, even on normal mode. We had a friend start the game up Sunday morning at about 12:30 and he was done with the entire game by around 8. You can have fun replaying it on the harder levels, but that's a rather quick game.

Finally, the multiplayer, while brilliant in concept, is lacking in implementation right now. There are two general ways to play - either you set up a game yourself for friends ONLY, or you launch into the ether to play a quick match. If you get up your own game you can control all the settings, but you can only invites people on your friends list. That limits the chances of having a full game unless you are VERY proactive in seeking friends. The quick match game only lets you make a few choices, and then in essence you are auto-connected with other people who are also actively seeking those game types. You can't browse or look. You just say "I want to play X type of game" and then you wait - literally for 5 minutes or more sometimes - as the servers gather together other people who are also actively seeking that game type. Then the game auto launches without you even knowing who is on your team or if you want to play with them. It's very frustrating to people who are used to the more customizeable lobby situations.

Still, the online experience can always be tweaked going forward, and the base gameplay is amazingly good. I highly recommend the game to anyone who enjoys shooting / strategy games - but you might want to rent it for a week first, to see if what it offers to you after that point is going to keep you playing.
44 comments206 of 259 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 22, 2004
GRAPHICS: The Graphics have greatly improved since the original Halo. The bump-mapping has done a great deal for the game. Throw a plasma grenade on the ground and watch the lighting effects.
SOUND: I love the sound in this game, great music, and great sound effects. My only complaint is that the warthog sounds less "scary" and the smgs sound more like fully-auto cap guns instead of real guns. but other than that the sound is great.
GAMEPLAY: FUN! I love the new addition of dual weilding. I also like the way that you can board and enemy vehicle. These are just a couple of the many things that have greatly added to the already fun gameplay of HALO.
STORY (no spoilers): Good story. There have been many complaints about the ending...but I thought the story was very immersive. I loved it. Although the ending was SLIGHTLY dissapointing.
MULTIPLAYER: In Halo this was one of the main attractions. In Halo 2 multiplayer could have made a game. Its incredibly fun and addicting. Now with the new addition of LIVE you can play with new or old friends while on completely different continents. Multiplayer is what helped make this game what it is...a great game.
VALUE: Definatly a game that will keep you occupied for years.
OVERALL: Halo 2 leaves me completely breathless...well, it leaves me with enough breath to say "DAMN!"
0Comment22 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 14, 2004
That's right, I've actually finished the game and I enjoyed the game thoroughly. The graphics are really cool, and the game play is nice. Overall, everything is more or less better than before. That is everything, except for a few things like having to hold X longer to get into a vehicle, not always knowing where to go in a level (a personal difficulty,) and the lack of a true health bar.

Now, my main problem with the game, don't worry no spoiling here, is the end of the campaign mode. Put simply, it pre-empts Halo 3, and it better come out soon!. Yet, ignoring that the game is great fun, because, well it's a Halo game.
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on December 8, 2004
Okay, yes, it was over-hyped. Well, that's our commercial culture for you. Expectations are regularly juiced beyond all sanity. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, people will remember that Halo 2 was a thoroughly deserving successor to Halo but left room for improvement in Halo 3 (oh yes, there will be a Halo 3. Or at least, there better be, after that ending!).

The Good: It's amazingly fun. A wider variety of weapons, better level design, and more intelligent AI - both friend and foe - enhance the experience. Also, it's nice to have something of a more fleshed out story, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing as Covenant. It's so sad when your little Grunts buy it! Come on, little soldier, you can do it! Also, the multiplayer is great, but no 'bots. I don't really go for multiplayer, but this is good. Having bots would have been good though for those of us who don't want XBox Live service, but still want to play the multiplayer maps a bit. The production values are great, no complaints. And the soundtrack is every bit as good as the first one, a real keeper. Some of the only game music that could stand alone with a straight face. What voice acting there is is well-done. The level design has been improved. The Earth levels and Chief Halo levels are particularly entertaining and offer multiple paths. The presence of "rail" sections is strangely prevalent, but that's a quibble. The human weapons are actually useful this time (the battle rifle in particular is hard to beat for utility), and dual wielding presents an entertaining new option, though you'll probably find yourself using it less than you might think. Also, David Cross is hilarious. Try to keep him alive so you can hear all his lines.

The Bad: It's easy! I beat it the first time, straight through! Course, I'd been playing Legendary on Halo 1 as practice, but still, come on. On Regular difficulty, you're Die Hard, charging into groups of Elites and raining death on them with nary a scratch. That's a lot of fun, but that's for easy mode, people. Heroic is a little more satisfying; you can still get in trouble if you're not careful, but it's manageable as one player. Then you hit Legendary. Oh. My. God. How can anyone beat this?! Even two player co-op, Legendary is an aneurysm waiting to happen. All in all, the difficulty was better balanced in Halo 1: normal was a challenge, heroic upped the stakes, and Legendary punished you but was, with a lot of luck and even more retries, doable. Good luck getting past certain death rooms in Halo 2 Legendary. Man.

The Ugly: The story is great, and it's nice to have the world fleshed out, but man, I wish there were a few more Master Chief levels. Also, one of the charms of the first Halo was that you spent most of the game behind enemy lines, surrounded, with no hope for survival and no contact save with enemies. Here, someone is always chattering to you, and it's a real team effort. That's not bad in itself, it's just a different feel from the first one. It's missing that quiet desperation that the first one had. Halo 1 was the Master Chief as ultimate survivalist; Halo 2 is the Chief as Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. The best analogy I've seen for the difference in feel between the two games is that Halo 1 is Alien, and Halo 2 is Aliens. That sums it up. Obviously, they're both great, but they couldn't be more different. Also, I want 'bots in multiplayer so I can tool around in those cool maps without having a truck of friends over. Hey, I'm a hermit, okay? Lay off.
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on November 13, 2004
Now, as most of you know 'Halo 2' is A first Person Shooter game, that has had the worlds attention ever since the Original 'Halo' came out more then 2 years ago. It's about a Genetically, and Physically Engineered soldier known as a 'Spartan'. he's the only one left and was the one known for destroying the 'Halo' a Ring-like Planet that was created by the 'Covenant' a evil race that wants to destroy the Earth. in the sequel, we find out that the covenant is now after him, and the earth once again. now with a few improvments, a new Duel Wield Ability, To hold two weapons at the same time, and a new 'Boarding' ability which lets you steal a viechle from someone as they are using it, by killing them with a grenade or kicking them out of the viechle. also, new settings, for instance, customizing your Character as either a 'Spartan' or 'Covenant elite'. although this is only for Multiplayer and the new Online Mode, it's still fun to experiment. the only thing i really dislike about the game, is the Radar horrible, it doesn't work sometimes, and leaves you dead, also the weapons system is a little difficult to switch weapons properly without picking up something you don't want, or to get more ammo without losing your weapon. another final thing, the soundtrack is amazing, but for those who were looking for a really really good score, then sorry, they used "Hoobastank" "breaking Benjamin" and "Maroon 5" as inspiration, so it's more rock, and less truly good music.

other then those kinks, it's a perfect game, but i'd rush, because there may not be many left soon, believe it or not.
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on November 12, 2004
Okay first things first. This game is better than the original Halo by far, and being a huge PS2 gamer, I must admit this game blows away any FPS game for the PS2; the only game that will give this a challenge is TimeSplitters: Future Perfect.

The graphics are a 9.7/10. The reason it's not a full 10 is because of some minor glitches were you sometimes walk up to a wall and the gun goes into the wall, but it doesn't have any effect on the actual gameplay.

As for sound, that is a 10/10 hands down. The explosions, gun fires, even walking through water or on rocks is crystal clear and sounds like you're actually there, especially with surround sound.

Now for what most of you probably will read this for...the gameplay. Okay, for the first person mode, the game doesn't last too long (about 10 hours should get it done), but that doesn't mean it's not a good game. There are several difficulty levels to make the game more challenging than the time before. The gun selection is decent, however new to Halo 2 is the ability to hold 2 guns at the same time (one in each hand unless it's a sniper, assault rifle, or missle launcher that requires both hands to hold) and with the L and R buttons, respectively, you can shoot either gun when you want. There's also a few twists in the story line that make the game a little more interesting, yet it seems to end a little prematurely.

As for multiplayer (multiplayer as in with friends either on one X Box or with system link--I've yet to try X Box Live), it is, handsdown, the best I've seen (beating out Counter Strike for PC). You can customize your character in several aspects, making you unique from anyone else. There are, if I can remember, about 20 multiplayer maps each with their own cool feel. Vehicles are back and there's more!! About half of the levels are capable of having tanks and other vehicles, which make this game blow by the rest. You can customize what vehicles you want to be in a certain level. There are two types, basically the smaller vehicles and the bigger ones. You can have a Scorpion Tank in the level, and at the same time have 2 smaller vehicles like a Banshee (which flies) and a Ghost (which is IMO the best small vehicle). The only downside is that there are only 2 big vehicles to use, but the way you customize the levels with each one makes the game never get boring! The gun selection is pretty good, and most of the guns return from the original Halo but have been modified (either they look a little different or have heat-seeking ammunition).

Multiplayer is easily the best mode (they have the jeep-like vehicle back-Warhog-which one person can be in the back shooting the machine gun while the other is driving). The game modes are pretty much the same, except they are named differently, but they did add a few more. Team matches (capture the flag, slayer-kill the other team-) are back and are probably the best way to play multiplayer. There really isn't anything I can say to put the game down, being such a huge PS2 fan. I was really impressed with this game, and as much as I hate to say it (it feels like being a Red Sox fan then becoming a Yankee fan) I think I'm going to buy an X Box just for Halo's really THAT amazing. (I'm a Sox fan btw-2004!!)

If you want my honest opinion, aka you don't want to read all of what I've written above, you really don't need to rent this game. Go ahead and reserve it while you can and buy it - you definitely won't regret it even if you only remotely like FPS games. Graphics were overall astounding, sound was incredibly clear, and the gameplay is easily a 10/10 whether it's single player action or multiplayer. If you want a really good (actually the BEST FPS game) multiplayer game to play with friends on the weekends or during parties, this is easily a must have. No question.
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on August 31, 2005
Halo 2 has good gaphics, good game play, and a good story. This game is a great sequel to the first. It has great multiplayer split screen game play.You get to be spartan and the Elite alien, you get to play both sides of the Halo 2 story! The thing that I don't like about Halo 2 is that the Flood returns. I hated fighting the flood in the first Halo, and wasn't expecting to fight them again in Halo 2. The main theme of Halo 2 was that you were going to have to protect earth from the aliens, you did do that, but I was expecting to fight them on earth the intire game, but you don't, you fight on earth for 2 levels and then you don't come back untill the end of the game.

This game still is a great game despite the few flaws. When you beat the game, split screen is still a very fun part of the game if you have a friend to play with (its acually my favorite part of the game).This is a great game so go play it!
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on April 15, 2006
There are many things I can say about this game, but having also played the first game and read the firts two books like most of have. I have grown to understand how the story is connected with the books and the game.

Needless to say if you havent read the books I suggest you do so because you wont have a clue as to whats going on. Even if you pay attention to the details given in the game it will leave many unanswered questions for you.

Now onto the game. I loved the first game and this is no different. Well with the added new features such as duel wielding, faster shield recharge, new enemies, weapons, missions, locations and the included XBOX LIVE MUTLIPLAYER. Which everyone has heard about.

I couldnt take part in that however becuase of lack of xbox live but the single-player, coopertive campaigns, and two-four multiplayer it kept me busy for a long time. Which shows that you can take the single or multiplayer path or both for that matter.

Which proves how good this game is.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2005
I know my review will have a lot of people "disagreeing" with me. I'm waiting for my counter to show that. But I just can't give this game the glowing reviews professional game sites and other reviewers have been giving it.

Microsoft is good at advertising and building hype. When Halo 2 was released, millions of fans were at the exploding point of anticipation waiting for it to be released. I was one of the crazies waiting in line until midnight in the cold and snow. I'm not just a casual gamer who had a mild interest in Halo 2. I was anticipating it with more ferver than any game (except Resident Evil 4) coming out recently.

IMO--The bottom line: The game is good. If you own an xbox and like FPSs then you should at least rent it. If you own an xbox, love FPSs and have Xbox Live then what are you waiting for? Buy it, already!

The single player game is fun. It's not what I expected. Defying expectations can be good or bad. But when you say in all of your ads that it's time to save earth, you're going to play on earth, earth doesn't need a hero it needs a savior, then you better have the game take place on earth. MINOR SPOILER: So when I beat the second mission I was ready to go to.....another Halo? Um...ok, we're following the Covenant, so I'll go with it, but we're going back to Earth right? Oh. Um, ok. So who is this Savior saving Earth?

I know I'm being sarcastic and people can argue that by going to a different Halo we were saving Earth in the process...but I think a lot of people wanted to fight on earth. After the demo at E3, people were salivating for the war-zone battles that it presented and hinted at. Ironically that scene never happens in the game. The city where it takes place in is, but not the scenario. I never felt that excitement that was shown in that video. The video promised a war zone like game, armies totally duking it out for their very survival. Instead, we got another Halo planet to go to.

I also don't think the story was as cohesive as the first one and lacked the dramatic pacing of it. It didn't have the driving force the first one did. I often wondered why I was doing what I was doing. Even though I enjoyed it (another spoiler) I think playing as the Covenant hurt the plot pacing. I'm hoping the third Halo will be more climatic with a better pacing to it.

The graphics are beautiful. There are some clipping and aliasing issues. However, the reason for it is because you have a seamless game. After the original load, there is not a single load time throughout the entire game. You go from mission to mission without realizing it, unlike the first game that loaded each mission. I was really amazed by that.

But the single player is not even half of the game, IMO. The best part is the Live experience. Halo 2 has the most cohesive online experience I have played on PC or on console. It's real easy to find different people to play, and people who are at or around your level. Even later in this game's life, if a new person buys it they shouldn't have much problems getting into the Live experience. For example, in Half Life 2, the updated Counter Strike is offered. However, it's been my experience with that, that if you haven't played the original don't even bother because people will pwn you. I think this rating system for Halo 2 will help extend it's life not only by allowing new people to slip in with ease but it also gives veterans something to work for. That "level 50" is always there, urging you onward.

One complaint about the Live experience is people dropping out of a match because they didn't like the level or settings, etc. This happens often. People also drop out if they are losing. I'm glad it hurts the people's standing because dropping out automatically ranks you last in the mission, but it can cause frustrations when you have a team of 1 or 2 going up against 4 in capture the flag.

But, gripes aside, the Live portion is simply awesome and really pushes the game into the must own category. If they had just released the single player part, I would have been greatly disappointed.

Single player: 4

-----I would love to give it a 4.5 or a 5, but I can't when there are better single player games out there...and no game is perfect.

Online: 5

-----As far as lasting value, if you like it, you will play it forever. I lose track of time playing this.

Total: 4.5

-----Great game if you have Live. If you don't and don't have many friends nearby who own an xbox to do split screen or system link, I would definitely rent it or possibly buy it. If you have Live, buy it now. You won't be disappointed.
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