Ok i got Halo 2 because for my birthday i got a $25 gift card, most PC games are at that now so i figured, hey ill get halo 2 and look! you can play people on 360 too!! so i was like, it might not be a bad purchase, here's why i gave it a 3.
This is Probably the only thing Halo 2 has... and lots of it. The story line is kinda of deep and gets you drawn into it and pretty much the only reason why you want to keep playing the game, to find out what happens next. Another thing that keeps the story interesting is the getting the two sides of the story from both the Humans and the Covenant. Although i will mention the whole Arbiter part was kind of boring to me because the Carbine rifle didn;t do it for me so i was like "ok when is this going to end, i want my battle riffle." although in the flood part you do get one though for no good reason since it takes nothing less than a rocket launcher to kill these guys. Some of the large quantity of cut scenes can get a bit tiring and there are some long ones you can't skip through. I guess is because they want to you to see vital story parts.
Weapons and Gameplay
Halo 2 has a pretty good variety of weapons with most coming back from the original halo including the all beloved sniper riffle, rocket launcher, SMG, shotgun and on the covenant side the rifle, needler ect. Bungie though came with some great additions such as the much awaited energy saber, and the replacement of the assault rifle with the battle rifle. I personally like the battle rifle better because not only of the added scope but also that you don't need to empty an entire clip to kill someone.
Gameplay remains the same as the original with some much needed improvements. if you didn't know by now halo 2 is a first person shooter and its a sci-fi shooter. in campaign is pretty run and gun along the environment you have loaded. you can pick up enemy weapons and you can also dual-wield weapons now in this installment. Not only can you shoot your enemy you can also run up to them and smack them in the face with a melee attack. this kill grunts and jackalls in one hit but elites and higher enemies will take multiple hits or drill them with a gun and them run up to them. Another good improvement was the elimination of health packs. now is just you and your shields.
I will make a PC specific note here, I would strongly recommend changing your controls if you are using a mouse and keyboard. if you have ever played or you are coming from another game like counter-strike or Call of duty 4. Seriously, what game developer puts "throw frag" in the right mouse button??? that button should be exclusively for weapon zoom. if you don't want to change controls you can plug in your WIRED USB 360 controller and play like that.
Vehicle controls and gameplay are pretty good on most things like bamshes but something i will be picky about. First i'll mention the Ghost, it flys really well but what bugs me is the up and down flying, i would like for there to be a way to fly up with out looking up. I'll also mention the scorpion, i don't like that you have to look in the direction you are moving, if there is a guy shooting at me from the side, i want to keep moving in the direction im going, if i turn the turret, it will turn the direction of the tank.
Games for Windows Live and Multiplayer
The addition of GFW Live to Halo to makes it a somewhat worth while purchase but don't hold your breath. It is a good move that you can open the dashboard at anytime in the game by pressing the "Home" button on your keyboard. In the dashboard you can see all of your friends and yes ,you can add people on XBL with a 360 and play with them via LIVE. You can exchange messages and chat with voice and write reps, so on and so forth. The greatest addition to the GFW service is that its now free. So you don't have to pay $50 a year to play one game on LIVE, you can also System Link with your PC. Automatic game updating is also good. Where it becomes depressing is when you are sitting on your dashboard thinking you big and bad now because u have a LIVE account an then you look at your friend's list and see the different kinds of games their playing and you've just got one. (well, 2 if you have Gears of War for Windows) Plus, LIVE want to smack you in the face even more by putting a "join session" option when you look at a friend's profile!!! to join a game you CAN'T get!
The Multiplayer is another element to the game that will hold you in there for just a little longer. To start off there aren't that many server now a days, i'm guessing about 20 or 30 last time i was on. Most of them are some whet modded. Your going to have to do some digging if you want to find a plain match. I've been told by some of my friends that most people hack in Halo 2 online so be ware of those, i think i've only seen one so far.
Graphics and Visuals
This is probably where halo 2 falls the hardest, i mean, since it was on the shelve in the store i knew it was going to look ba- "not-as-great" as other games this day and age but come on. even if it was an xbox port they could of done some tweaking to it! Textures look like crap. water is not even believable, with that I'm not even going to mention water reflections because there are none, Lighting is none existent. there was like one scene in the game where they were trying to do some lighting on Master Chief's Helmet but it was in a cut-scene so it doesn't count. There's not even that many option on the video settings to crank up! the textures only goes to high and i have my resolution at 1280x1024, x4 AA and i still get great frames. check my profile for my rig specs. The visuals here are just not doing it for me, this is DirectX 10 for crying out loud! look at something like Crysis and see how good that looks in DX10.
In Brief, Halo 2 is something you would get if you have a lot of friends that still play Halo 2 and you don't have a 360. Or if you want to hear a good story and shoot aliens. Otherwise save your money. The overall story of the game is great. The signature gameplay of Halo still holds on the PC, Live and online is not the best experience out there compared to something like Counter-strike or CoD4, and The Visuals are just not even close. If you are looking for a great looking game please do not look here.