Again, there has been criticism for certain features missing from the Live modes, but bearing in mind it is trying to forge fairly new paths with extremely large shoes, the occasional tumble does seem quite forgivable. There are some disappointing omissions ? the lack of online co-op is a real shame; and for some strange reason there isn?t even an online scoreboard for the campaign mode. However, in terms of performance, Halo 2?s multiplayer modes perform solidly. Navigating the game lobby and seemingly endless menu options seems a little more complicated than necessary, but after a while these numerous options become more understandable and their inclusions more welcome. If you?ve been waiting for a reason to get on Live, this is the most convincing argument yet.
Once again, however, we have to point out that this is just an FPS. PC gamers won?t see it as anything particularly new or revolutionary, and the inclusion of online multiplayer modes won?t make people who didn?t like FPS game now suddenly like them. It really feels as if Halo 2?s creation is just a reward for those people who bought an Xbox on the strength of the original, in the hope of hanging on to their loyalties until XBox 2 comes along. But in our opinion, this game is what Halo 1 should have been. If this had launched the Xbox, with online play incorporated as standard, rather than dressed up as an extra, the fortunes of the console may have been very different.
The overall feeling we get from Halo 2 is, however, one of general apathy. It does look brilliant, it is the finest console FPS ever made, but, to be honest, so what? There?s simply nothing inherently impressive about such straight-forward gameplay mechanics anymore. In fact, some may find this quite tedious. If a game requires you to chug all the way through a series of environments, however crisply-recreated, over and over again doing the same sort of stuff, you?ll get bored. We?ve come to expect nominal hints from other genres: when you?ve had enough of firing rockets, you want to go to an alien bar and play alien pool. When you?ve had enough of storming up and down dimly lit corridors, you want a spot of mischevious sneakery, stealthing up behind an extra-terrestrial foe before delivering a mighty flick to their scaley-skinned ear lobes. The genre needs to evolve.