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Halo 2 – Xbox

Halo 2 – Xbox

cover artPlatform: Xbox

Developer: Bungie

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Release Date: November 9, 2004

Genre: First Person Shooter

Nerd Rating: 9.9 out of 10

Reviewed by Dovahkyle

O.K. let’s start this out right. The Halo series is great, you can’t go wrong with any choices from this progression, except maybe Halo Wars, not really a strategy fan. This sequel to the critically acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved is surprisingly a step up, not just graphics but the actual game engine, designed by Havok Software, to essentially redefine the collision effects of bodies, primarily on video games, like the “Rag Doll Effect” when you shoot someone in the head with a .50 cal sniper rifle, or when you run a stupid alien over with a Ghost. This elite framework allows a custom interaction with not only the environment, but enemies as well.duel wield 1

If you are unfamiliar with the Halo series, Master Chief or John 117 is the character of importance with his holographic counterpart, Cortana. The first game ended with the chief’s narrow escape of the Halo ring planet as it’s being destroyed(at the hands of the UNSC), after he discovers it’s real purpose. Halo 2 starts off shortly after these events, with an in court scene of the Covenant ex supreme commanding officer, Thel ‘Vadamee(an Elite), who is being tried for his failure to protect the ring planet. bruteThe Elites are replaced by the Brutes for protection of the High Prophets. ‘Vadamee is sentenced to become the Arbiter, and is commissioned to kill the Heretics(a group of Elites that broke away from the covenant). The Spartan’s story starts on Cairo Station in Earth’s orbit, where John receives his new Mark VI armor, and must defend the ship from covenant attack(much like the intro to CE).

Some of early levels are on Earth, these are fun, Allot of snipers though. The duel wield feature is adapted, which leads to deadly weapon combinations, like the Plasma Pistol and the M6C handgun, although the zoom capability was removed from the handgun, the gun’s rate of fire has been drastically increased. You won’t find the Assault Rifle anymore, but you will find a Sub-machine Gun to duel wield, I loved these, pretty useless at medium to long range, but devastating up close. The Battle Rifle was also introduced in this game, an M-16 like military rifle with 3 round burst and a short zoom, awesome gun, along with a range of new mounted turrets to man.warthog

“Halo 2 is a lot like Halo 1, only it’s Halo 1 on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas. And, the ninjas are all on fire, too.” -Jason Jones(co-founder of Bungie Studios)

New vehicles available are the Gauss Warthog(same vehicle with a Gauss cannon on the back), and the Spectre(a covenant “land speeder”,duel wield 2 with a cannon very much like the Wraith but weaker). I found the Gauss Warthog to be extremely powerful, a one hitter quitter if you will, but hitting a target is allot more difficult as the gun fires a split second or so after you pull the trigger, so once I got the timing down I was blowing up covenant left and right.sword and elites

“Heh! I ran out of grenades and accidentally threw my lunch.” -UNCS Marine

“(approaches dead enemy) This waste of ammo, but me no care(fires multiple rounds into corpse)” -Grunt

There is lots of comedic dialog from marines and covenant alike, especially the grunts. The multiplayer or “Matchmaking” online was the first way I played this game, totally killer. I love the diversity of the online playlist with everything from Team Slayer (4 vs 4) and Capture the flag to SWAT (bare bones) and King of the Hill. The matchmaking is based on online experience points, so as I gained more experience, I was matched with others with more experience.plasma Obviously perfect conditions never exist so noobs end up battling pros every once and a while. Believe it or not, the servers are still up and running for Halo 2, so online matchmaking is still happening. I can confirm this for the PC anyways, as for Xbox I understand they are down, though I haven’t played on the box for a while. According to Bungie forums, as long as people are still playing it, servers will continue to run.MC and Elite

If you like Halo CE, imagine it on steroids and an adrenaline shot, while falling out of the sky at breakneck speeds. This game is intense to say the least, and definitely a set a higher standard for FPS campaigns and matchmaking for it’s time. The re-playability is without a doubt high as the graphics are still decent and the Legendary difficulty is still ridiculously hard. Not to mention the split screen multiplayer will never get old. I would have given this one a 10 out of 10 if the handgun still had zoom capability, so a 9.9 will do. If you are going to purchase this one I suggest trying in on the PC as you can still get online with it, otherwise the campaign and the local play should keep you entertained for a while.

 

 

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