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About the product
- Master Chief can now wield two weapons at once, board Covenant vehicles and steal Covenant weapons like the incredible double energy sword
- Lead an all-new unit of super-soldiers, the ODST -- tougher, badder and deadlier versions of your old comrades
- New enemies, allies and surprises around every corner - intense combat action with enhanced AI and real-time lighting
- Immense single-player action with maassive landscapes and huge cities to explore and defend - destructible and interactive environments
- Take the action online with your Xbox Live and switch sides, to become a Covenant Elite!
- Works with an Xbox 360 console
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Halo 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful and critically praised Halo: Combat Evolved. In Halo 2 the saga continues as the genetically enhanced super soldier, Master Chief, must defend humankind from the evil Covenant.
Halo 2 is one of those rare video games that garnishes attention from regular folk who wouldn't know which direction to point a game controller. With more than 1.5 million pre-orders and a massive release party in Times Square, the game enjoys the sort of buzz, and sales, generally reserved for boy wizards. But does it merit the hype?
Halo 2 opens with a cut scene in the Covenant Holy City of High Charity. Much has happened since Master Chief (that's you) created so much havoc for the Covenant in the first Halo, and the Arbiter has much atoning to do for his failures. This first cut scene is long, but the lush graphics, orchestral sound, and polished voice talent for both this and other cut scenes as well as the game itself put most animated television shows to shame.
Much has happened since Master Chief created so much havoc for the Covenant in the first Halo, and the Arbiter has much atoning to do.
In the end, though, Halo 2 is unabashedly a first-person shooter. It has a Mature rating and is not meant for kids. Gameplay is constant and intense. No sooner is one bunch of aliens taken care of than another descends. The controls are identical to the first game so those familiar with it will be up and blasting in no time. And the sound and graphics have been beefed up so that Halo 2 is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful console games available.
Most of the weapons from the first game return, although strangely the MA5B Assault Rifle (the default weapon in the first game) is not available. There is a single melee weapon known as the Covenant Sword, but the controls for it are the same as that for all the shooter weapons, making it difficult to direct. Also, for a new twist, you can hold two of the smaller guns at the same time and shoot double-fisted.
As for vehicles, the old favorites are back and joined by a few new, mostly Covenant wheeled monsters. Some improvements have been made to the AI so that the nonplayer characters can drive without running into too many obstacles while you man the turret. This improved AI also has enemies ducking for cover, and the banter from both the Marines and the bad guys has undergone massive improvements so that it no longer sounds quite so repetitive.
On Your Own
The most significant change in the single-player game is with Master Chief's much-touted defensive suit. At the beginning of the game, he is told that the suit has been upgraded, but it's really undergone a severe downgrade. In Halo 2, the player has only one lifeline. Unlike in the first game, there is basically no defensive shield on the suit, making gameplay tougher. It can often take multiple--sometimes a maddening number--attempts to make it through thorny parts of the game.
Or with a Friend
Finally, no review of a Halo game is complete without mentioning multiplayer. One of the main reasons to buy Halo 2 is the ability to play through Xbox Live, a feature not included in the first game, which was among the original releases for the Xbox. Multiplayer for Halo 2 uses all of the same weapons and vehicles as in the single-player game, and the types of games available in Halo (King of the Hill, Slayer, Capture the Flag) return with a host of new maps. Multiplayer Halo 2 offers customizable profiles, control layout, and screens as well as a voice proximity feature, where you can talk with other players via an Xbox Communicator so that those closer to you sound louder than those farther away. Players can also create both permanent clans and temporary parties in the Xbox Live world. Undoubtedly, this multiplayer feature alone ensures that Halo 2 will remain a top-selling game for years to come. --David Morel
- Lush graphics and orchestral sound
- Constant, thumping shoot-'em-up action
- Multiplayer available through Xbox live
- Suit downgrade makes single-player often overly difficult
- Get ready for some bleary-eyed mornings
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Halo 2 is better than but very similar to the original Halo. New weapons and vehicles are introduced, as well as dual wielding. While dual wielding adds a lot of depth and variety to your fighting strategy, the controls for dual wielding were somewhat unintuitive. Halo 3 fixed this, and those who say Halo 2's controls were better only say so because they have played it for so long that switching, even to better controls, is hard.
Story wise, Halo 2 was a massive improvement to the original, adding beautiful video cut scenes and a riveting plot, but it did repeat a little of the same story as the first, at one point even re-including the same tedious level (The Library) as you once again try (and fail) to save the world in exactly the same way you did before. Once again, Halo 3 improved on this. Some people didn't like playing as the Arbiter, as they wanted to hate the enemy, and playing as the Covenant rebels made it hard to hate them. I rather enjoyed the new weapon options, new enemies, and new storyline.
The music is spectacular, with many new and gorgeous tracks and arrangements added to the good of the original, many of which are still considered the best of the series and best of all video games. Halo 3 redid most of them with a live orchestra, so if you are an audiophile, Halo 3 is the version you want to listen to, though there are a few good tracks not repeated, and only to be found in Halo 2.
Graphically, Halo 2 still looks good, but you can tell it was made for the original xbox. Still good enough to play, the old graphics have their charms. If you are a sucker for graphics, and don't find any charm in antiquity, you would probably do better getting the remastered version, though it is full of glitches and does not feel the same as the original.
Online, Halo 2 was one of the most popular games ever, and was played by loyalists until online support was cut by Microsoft, this despite three newer Halo's had been made. Some may say it is hard to change, but it really is that good of a game that who can fault them? System linking is still possible.
If you like first person shooters, and liked the original, this is a must play. If you like first person shooters, and want something that feels different than Call of Duty or Battlefield, this will do it. If you like a good story, this will suit you, though you need to play Halo 3 to finish it. If you like dual wielding, Halo 2 and Halo 3 are the only ones in the series with it. In short, unless the first halo was too graphic for you, buy and play this game. Play through with a friend on your couch. you will not regret it.
This game is one of the most amazing games in existence. I can hardly put forth the words to describe how much fun this thing is to play. The game has a great story and has several great new features: duel wielding certain guns, hijacking vehicles and letting you use the energy sword.
As fun as the main story is, the real fun begins with your friends. If you have a buddy with an xbox and six other friends, both of you get this game. Set up in the same house, do a system link and do 4 vs 4 or free for all. The more the merrier. Seriously, thats a lot of fun.
Also works on the 360.
Only downside is the co-op campaign. Spit-screen is done vertically rather than horizontally. No way to change it, at least that I know of. Its annoying, but eventually you get used to it.
That aside, this is an amazing game. I highly recommend this any true Halo fan.