Halo 2

Developer: Bungie
Publisher:  Microsoft Game Studios

The first Halo was meant to get you to buy the Xbox and the second game was created to get everyone to sign up for Xbox Live, that's pretty much what it did... and it shows.

The campaign starts out with a bang, the covenant launch an invasion on Earth and you have to do everything to stop it in what is quickly becoming an uphill battle, these initial missions are freaking awesome, they're big, epic and you get the feeling this could be humanity's last stand, you also discover some gameplay changes from the first game like dual weapon wielding which is a pretty cool feature.

Unfortunately it's all downhill from there, once you're done with these chapters the Master Chief leaves Earth and is sent to various other planets, the problem is that the tone mellows down instantly, the missions are just kind of there and I kept asking myself "why am I here? I should be defending Earth", the developers do try to throw a few curve balls at you by introducing a sidestory, on some missions you play as the Arbiter, the leader of the Covenant you fought in Halo, he plays roughly the same as the Master Chief except you're given a very useless cloak device that only lasts for a few seconds and to make it all worse, the Arbiter's missions are excruciatingly boring and long.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the campaign is pretty short and it even ends on a cliffhanger, it honestly feels like the game started on the climax and it didn't know what to do with itself from that point on.

Supposedly the game's strongest suit was the online multiplayer... but Microsoft shut down the original Xbox' servers a few years ago, so if you wanted to try it out... you're screwed.

Of course you could just buy the PC version, problem is, it's only compatible with that abomination known as Windows Vista, so you're still screwed.

Graphically the game looks awesome given the hardware it runs on, if you up the resolution it almost looks like Halo 3 (not sure if that's a credit to Halo 2 or a demerit to Halo 3).

Trivia: Did you know Bungie spent most of the developing time working on the Engine and at one point had to scrap most of it and rebuild everything in just six months? No wonder the campaign gets worse the further you get.

Pros:
- Amazing production values
- Graphics are some of the best I've seen on the Xbox
- Dual-Wielding weapons is incredibly fun
- The campaign starts out with a huge bang!

Cons:
- But quickly looses steam after that
- Arbitor missions are incredibly boring
- Multiplayer was shut down for the Xbox version
- Requires Windows vista for the PC version

Final Score: B-

The cover Art is a definite improvement over the previous game (not like it's hard to achieve that) and I like how case, manual and disc feature three different covers, the game's manual is roughly on par with the first game, giving you some backstory and enemy descriptions, but it doesn't have character descriptions like the previous one had.

My copy also came with two catalogs, a flimsy little thing advertising the game's soundtrack and a second bulkier one showing off some of the console's best games and telling you how awesome the original Xbox live is (or should I say was?), the catalog is alright, but it's a bit too crammed and chaotic when compared to the one found in the first game, I also would've preferred more pictures.

Packaging Score: B

 (Yes, I own two copies of the game)

The collector's edition  comes with a metal case, a making of DVD, an 8 page booklet that fills some gaps between both games, the same soundtrack catalog as the regular edition and finally, an instruction manual as told by the Covenant's point of view.

I have mixed feelings about this edition, I love metal cases and the manual told by the enemy's point of view is nice touch, but I can't get over the fact that the 8 page booklet that fills you in on some needed backstory should have been present on both editions, the two month trial also feels like a bit of a cop out, it's almost like they're trying to make you yet another sales pitch (even the back of the manual is trying to get you to buy more stuff).

Overall: certainly not the best CE I've seen, but then again, this was before they were all the rage like they are now, regardless, I'd prefer less sales pitches and more halo related content.

Collector's Edition Score: B-

2 comments:

  1. The thing I don't like about newer games is that they like only concentrate on graphics and totally forget about the gameplay...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here we go, this right here is what my teenage years was all about :D. I didn't realize the multiplayer servers had been shut down though :(.

    ReplyDelete