Reviews// Halo 2

Say Halo 2 a crap pun

Posted 17 Nov 2004 13:48 by
It?s here. The sequel to the game that launched a thousand (well, several hundreds of thousands) Xboxes has arrived. Bungie?s seminal FPS pretty much defined the Xbox when it was launched alongside the console at the beginning of 2002. For many gamers, seduced by the super-slick graphical prowess on offer, Halo 2 has been the single most anticipated game of the year. As promised, it?s a further improved take on the console FPS genre.

The sheer level of attention attracted by Halo 2?s release does invite a certain amount of scepticism though. In many regards, Halo 2 reflects the state of Microsoft?s outlook on and understanding of the console gaming market. As the follow up to the Xbox?s single most important flagship title it should show off the machine?s full potential. Technically speaking, it accomplishes this with consummate ease; but in terms of offering a new or innovative gaming experience, it does fall short. It reminds us of a well-polished, yet slightly chilly show-home: with sparkling skirting boards and the ambient chemical hum of alpine meadow breezes hanging in the air, yet lacking the toasty hearth with which to truly warm your gaming cockles.

The extent to which Halo 2 will impress you simply depends on what you expect it to offer. As an FPS, or a straight updated sequel to your favourite game, it works brilliantly and goes down instantly as a classic. As the most crucial Xbox exclusive title of this year, however, it does seem less remarkable. Let?s say, for example, that an owner of the old-style PS2 has come into a little spare cash this Christmas. What would make these people buy an Xbox as a second console? Probably not Halo 2: because if the original Halo wasn?t enough of a temptation, Halo 2 isn?t sufficiently different to warrant fresh investigation. So instead, looking at the likes of San Andreas, GT4, Jak III and Ratchet and Clank 3, such folk might choose to simply opt for a nice new slimline PSTwo. If Halo 2 had spread its net further, advancing the FPS genre in the process, perhaps then it could have been as important a game as Microsoft claims it to be.

Quite simply, we believe that Halo 2 should have been a more expansive experience than it is. With such substantial resources available to the development team, and a comfortable, reassuringly popular precedent behind it, Bungie hadn?t necessarily needed to take any undue risks. The anticipatory hype had commenced over a year ago, and Halo?s fanbase had pledged its allegiance to the idea of a fairly sober, no-nonsense sequel. But the fact that Halo 2 is more of the same definitely invites a certain level of criticism from more demanding gamers. Just how life-shatteringly exciting can another FPS be?
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Comments

ben mills 17 Nov 2004 17:01
1/6
I very good and fair review but i feel the reviewer has maybe been a bit 'anti-microsoft' on us.

The gameplay in single player is pretty much the same as many other FPS. But maybe its not what it looks like at face value that makes this a great classic. From a AI programmers point of view it shows some amazing techniques. For instance when a comrad or a foe falls other NPC's will come over and talk about him/her/it. The AI in Halo 2 is matched only by Half-life 2.When you say there is stealth on Thief and not on Halo 2 maybe try playing it on a diffculty harder than normal.
I feel that the reviewer has not looked at it in a very semiotic way.

For instance there was no mention of the sound and music in the game. The music in Halo2 is some of the best seen in any game. Metal gear solid maybe had something that came close, but the music here inspires and impresses.

The reviwers says that online co-op is not a option but does he actually know what it would take to make it work? The bandwidth needed to send every deformed object, every sprite, projectile and AI instruction between Boxes would be about 100mb/sec.

Graphicly is is maybe a bit of a let down - The cutsceans are good but the poping is bad. However the fact there are no loading screens does make up for it and it helps move the story through alot better.

When the critic talks about the lack of 'evil' in the covenant has he plaid the game through?!
The covenant are not evil, they simply are following thier beliefs. The thing with Halo is that sides are not clear cut. The flood is the only true evil. The covenant, Mankind and the Forerunners are all coming from diffrent points-of-view.

The story is maybe lacking and Halo does indeed have better plot. I feel that bungie have tried to fit to much in a short period of time and they are unable to develop the plot as much as could be possible. Also being able to play as a elite is maybe a cheap gimic. Playing as a elite should be like a wild sexual fantasy - never actually acted out but always lusted after.

As for online - Nothing comes close on ANY FPS ever. The detail on the bungie website is fantastic and the screenshots of your movements and kill placements can help develop stratagies well.
Rod Todd 17 Nov 2004 18:03
2/6
ben mills wrote:
I very good and fair review but i feel the reviewer has maybe been a bit 'anti-microsoft' on us.


Anti Microsoft sentiment is one of the things to love about SPOnG ;-)

But it's true, Bungie used to be wildly creative in comparison to other games at the time of Marathon, it was a narrative masterpiece. But Halo 2 seems kinda run of the mill.

If that isn't corporate development methodologies eroding creativity, then it must be something else, far less sinister instead.
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fluffstardx 17 Nov 2004 19:31
3/6
Halo 2 plot, boring?

Read First Strike.
Follow all of ILB.
Read "conversations from around the universe".

The plot isn't boring, it just simply cannot all fit in.
QuaiD 18 Nov 2004 00:43
4/6
Whose gone onlibe with it and found it slow?
fluffstardx 18 Nov 2004 10:52
5/6
You got the patch? It fixes a LOT.

Plus, on a 1mb/sec line... no, i notice no slowdown. Ever.

As for the game being "run of the mill"... watch the DVD. They had to cut a ton of stuff, because frankly they were just too damn creative. So, the plot we got was a little... jagged. Time constraints.

It is, however, still a LOT better than Killzone, the supposed "PS2 Halo". If you want to really fry a game for being overhyped, look no further. The AI is ropey, the controls missing a little something (jump, for example...), and the multi-character implementation made totoally pointless.

Oh yes, and the plot is non-existant.
Master Chef 19 Nov 2004 11:24
6/6
fluffstardx wrote:
You got the patch? It fixes a LOT.

Plus, on a 1mb/sec line... no, i notice no slowdown. Ever.

Totally awesome --if you have a 1mb line


As for the game being "run of the mill"... watch the DVD. They had to cut a ton of stuff, because frankly they were just too damn creative. So, the plot we got was a little... jagged. Time constraints.

Yeah, I'm hardly pumped by the stuff they left out.

It is, however, still a LOT better than Killzone

I thought this was a discussion about Halo2, not something that has been hyped as baing a Halo-beater by the game's own publisher.

I'm totally whelmed by Halo2. More of the same. IMO it doesn't offer a great, mindblowing leap in the Halo story arc like we got with the progression of Marathon. Following the plot in the ILB/Haunted Apiary game was better than progressiong in the game. I can handle another run of the mill FPS if the plot rocks, otherwise it's a dud.

Still, I'll plow thru and finish the game.
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