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Halo 2
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Halo 2 (2004)

Category: XBox
Publisher: Bungie
PEGI: 16

"Halo 2 continues the story of the Master Chief, the genetically enhanced super-soldier who is the only human ever to successfully defy the Covenant--a coalition of alien races on a murderous march toward Earth. Their defeat at the ancient Halo artifact was only temporary, and they are pursuing their goal--the complete obliteration of humankind--with renewed zeal. Human military forces are exhausted and unable to stave off the Covenant's rapid advance toward Earth. Even with the Master Chief back in action, the situation looks dire--and this is at the beginning of the game, before things get even worse. In true Bungie tradition, the solo campaign in Halo 2 deepens and expands upon the story that began in the first game: old questions will be answered, new mysteries will unfold, and the truly epic nature of the story will finally be revealed."

Review by
Steve Conway
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Review Date: 19 November 2004 My Rating: out of 5


The original Halo was one of the greatest video games I have ever had the privilege of playing. It was an action packed, fully immersing, totally mind blowing experience. And to say I got my moneys worth is an understatement. Not only did it come free with the original purchase of an X-Box, but it gave me and my friends hours upon hours upon hours of entertainment at the highest level.

And so with such high regard for Bungieís Halo it was inevitable that the anticipation for Halo 2 would be strong. But have Bungie spent too much time on it? Does a waiting period as long as what was between the 2 games kill the expectancy? Well letís find out shall we.

I chucked in the disc, turned up the sound and grabbed hold of my controller.

Well it all certainly seems worth the wait. There are new enemies, new weapons, and just generally much, much more going on. In fact a lot of the time quite possibly thereís just too much going on for the system to handle. The graphics are improved but are flawed in certain and noticeable points throughout the game. Sometimes it takes a moment of two for graphics to appear. But still the game takes on an epic form and a hell of a lot of work has clearly gone into it.

Thereís some nice added touches too, the dual wielding feature (although disabling the use of grenade throwing), the take allyís weapon option and of course the leaping onto flying vehicles and kicking off the driver technique.

The overall main campaign is in my opinion a bit too easy. Iím not the most experienced gamer on the planet but some of the stuff didnít feel challenging enough. Of course thereís always the more challenging versions of the game using the Heroic and Legendary setup options.

Another hitch, in my view, was the nature of how much of the game is broken up and relying heavily on the storyline and plot points. Itís great that so much time and effort goes in to planning the action out but the flow of the game play is often spoilt with overlong storytelling animation in between the levels. And not to mention the fact that you have to play and switch back between playing as the Master Chief character and the disgraced opposition front man the Arbiter (voiced by Keith David, star of The Thing and They Live). I do like in depth background stories to the games to give them a point but some of this stuff should be left for a big screen adaptation.

Iíve not had much opportunity to do much on the Multiplayer levels as yet, so I reserve judgement for that section. The Multiplayer stuff in the first game was so intensely playable that my friends and I played for hours every single weekend for over a year. Thatís how great it was. I just hope these new maps and locations can fulfil our expectations and keep us going for another year. And the same goes for the much talked about X-Box Live stuff available.

All-in-all I think Bungie have bought on some criticism themselves with this game with the overlong waiting phase. But then saying that certain aspects of the game seem a little loose and unfinished. But who the hell am I knocking a game thatís still an absolute monster and better than most competition out there. A must-have game, but just a shade down on the impact of the original. Bring on Halo: The Movie.

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