Halo 2

Overview

Finally the day has come, the day millions upon millions of Xbox fans have been waiting for, for quite some time. Halo 2 for the Xbox has finally been released with more hype then I have ever seen for a game before in my lifetime. So is Halo 2 all that it’s cracked up to be, or is this a game we could just say fell to the plague of hype? Read our full review of the most anticipated game of 2004 - Halo 2 - to find out.

Gameplay

Never in gaming history has a game been as highly anticipated, and highly hyped up as Halo 2 was this year. Many of the younger generations’ first LAN parties came from the original Halo. Halo was also the first great game to ever make its way onto Microsoft’s Xbox. What made Halo so good was the amazingly smooth gameplay mechanics that involved a very moderate speed, which combines accuracy and precision. What made Halo so great was that it was a game anyone could pick up and play but only the diehard could master it. Combine that with great maps and extremely fun vehicles and you have a game that has been the best the Xbox has had to offer since the game was released. So now the wait and anticipation is all over, with all of the hype aside, is Halo 2 a great game? You’re going to have to keep reading to find that out.

The single player portion of the game in the original game spanned a good ten-hour campaign that really had an interesting storyline. This time around Master Chief is taking off right where he left off, get awarded for all the good deeds he had done in the previous game. But alas could he really get some time off? The answer is quite simply no, as the enemy forces ruin the award ceremony and the Covenant decides they want another shot at Earth. So basically it’s the same sort of storyline, just a whole lot more interesting this time around. Halo 2 is a game that really combines some extremely intense cut scenes with an interesting plotline throughout. Although the game may not have the most intriguing storyline in the world, the game once again leaves you at the edge of your seats come the end of the campaign mode.

The campaign mode itself really has been stepped up quite a few notches from the original, with quite a bit more variance in the gameplay department, throwing a number of different types of enemy forces at you. One of the original game’s biggest drawbacks was the linear level design, which is still for the most part apparent in Halo 2. The game never really gives you much freedom to decide, but does offer once again some even more amazing environments in which the levels take place. What I also noticed is that Bungie didn’t go easy on us in this one, as even on the normal difficulty setting the game can be extremely challenging.

But I think more then anything with Halo 2 people want it for the multiplayer support, especially the new Xbox Live support which is absolutely amazing. What is so amazing about Halo 2’s multiplayer is not just that it’s a great experience, but it is so deep that it’s hard not to just sit back and say wow, this is truly an amazing single player mode.

The Xbox Live support is by far the strongest addition to Halo 2. No longer will LAN parties be necessary, as Bungie has created a "party" system so you and your buddies can all stay at home, put on your bunny slippers and play Halo 2 till the morning. Not only that, you are going to start seeing more and more clans being created as Bungie has also implemented a very solid clan system in the game as well. From my experiences on the Live service, all I can say is that Microsoft and Bungie really did this game right as it has little no lag (no matter who you are playing against), and the community in this game just makes the whole experience all that much more entertaining. But of course for those who like actually seeing the eyes of the players in which you want to take out, the system link option is still available, and the game plays as amazing as ever. To put it quite bluntly, this game goes where no Xbox Live enabled game has gone before, giving gamers the best Xbox Live experience to date.

Overall, all I can say is that Bungie has done a great job polishing the amazing Halo, adding a much more interesting campaign mode, and by far the best Xbox Live game on the planet, to create an extremely smooth and enjoyable experience that will remain in Xbox’s around the world for quite some time.

Graphics

When Halo was released so many years ago it really set the standard of what a great Xbox game should look like. The game did an amazing job of showing off the true potential of the Xbox, which really has only been captured by a select number of games. So did Bungie do even better this time around, or are we looking at a game that went downhill?

When I look at Halo 2 I see a game that really has improved on almost every single aspect of the game. One of the most apparent improvements that you will find right away is the amount of detail that has been added to Master Chief himself. He looks like a new man this year, with amazing lighting effects, and a much more detailed coat of armor. The environments in the game are also quite impressive with a heavy amount of detail, and all seem to have a great amount of color in them. One of the only downsides to the game are the glitches, which I have come to find in the game. It’s unfortunate that there are these slight graphical glitches but luckily for us they aren’t any major problems and does not detract from gameplay at all.

Overall Halo 2 is still a bar raiser with a game that is still beautiful from start to finish. It is although unfortunate that they have a few small graphical glitches.

Fun Factor

Halo 2 is a game that provides not only a solid single player experience but also an amazing multiplayer experience. The Xbox Live support in Halo 2 is the best Live support that I have ever seen in a game. There are so much statistics in the game, and the game really has quite a bit of different options to deal with. Let’s just say this I have never been able to sit down and just play this game for ten minutes, it just has such addicting and involving gameplay, that will keep people coming back for more, for years to come.

Overall

So does Halo 2 live up to all the hype and anticipation that was surrounding it throughout its long development process? Overall Halo 2 is by far the best game to ever make its way onto the Xbox. It combines a great deal of strategy with the best FPS action I have seen this year. Any fan that hasn’t gone out to buy Halo 2 yet needs to go do that now, because this is not a game that will just be popular for the next few months, but quite possible the next couple of years.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.