Reviews// Halo 2

Tedious genius

Posted 17 Nov 2004 13:48 by
Just sitting here trying to put off playing any more Halo 2, we can think of a thousand things that would have made it feel like a more substantial sequel. But there is simply no novelty here whatsoever. Surely the FPS genre isn?t destined to a future as consistently stale as this. Keep your war games and bug-eyed muppets, how about an FPS with a slightly original concept? Thief 3 has shown how to meld stealth with FPS style engines, Chronicles of Riddick has shown how immersive a game environment can become with the addition of an engaging, interactive script, and Deus Ex Invisible War has lent an RPG like depth to FPS set-ups. If Bungie had truly tried to surpass expectations, rather than resting on its jewel-encrusted laurels, it would have conceded to incorporate at least one of these extra gameplay tweaks; and with that we would have been far more forthcoming in our praises.

We would still suggest that Halo 2 is an essential purchase for Xbox owners though, especially if you don?t own the original, which now pales in comparison. The single player mode is spectacular, if slightly monotonous; but the multiplayer mode is the best of any Xbox game yet. Buy it and appreciate it for what it is, but just don?t pretend that Halo 2 is anything close to the masterpiece it might have been. In a very Microsoft kind of way, it?s just boring, partly malignant genius that will somehow monopolise your console: a little bit like Bill Gates himself.

SPOnG Rating: A

Halo 2 is a superb game, but it also represents Microsoft's disputably heartless approach to the console gaming market. Technically, it's extremely accomplished, and it pretty much achieves what Bungie said it would, but it lacks the passionate design and creative flourishes needed to truly snare our attention and gain our loyalty.
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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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