"It ain't over til' the fat lady sings"
I bought Halo 2 the day it was released, I walked into a shop just across from where I work, approached the counter where a short balding guy was playing street Fighter Anniversary Collection on the shops demo xbox. I said – as if it was a perfectly reasonable question -- “you got any copies of Halo 2 left?” The balding guy looked up at me, the sides of his mouth turned up just enough to show that something had amused him, and his shoulders jolted slightly as he allowed a small chuckle. “No chance buddy “ he told me “we sold out of halo 2 within two hours of last nights midnight release.”
Disheartened, but not beaten I decided I’d go to my favourite coffee shop. I ordered a large Americano and a piece of cake, which looked like cheesecake, tasted like cheesecake, but I was informed by the Australian girl who served me, that it was in fact not cheesecake. I pulled out my mobile phone and called my good friend Chris. “Guess what?” I said when he answered. “They were sold out weren’t they?” he asked, with a hint of ‘I told you so’ in his voice. “Yeah you were right there’s none left. The guy at Gamestation said there’s very little chance anywhere will have it.” I took a long sip of my coffee. “Well I think I know one place that may have it.” He told me. I wanted the game pretty badly – although clearly not enough to have pre-ordered it, and cued outside in the middle of the night. I was willing to try anything, so I asked Chris what his genius plan was.
Long story short, it turns out Chris’s plan was genius. We went to a large supermarket -- and I mean large – that also has a huge electrical goods section, they had tons of copies.
While we were there, we picked up enough redbull to kill a horse and enough food to feed a small country. We headed home and settled down with the co-op mode for the whole night.
I AM THE MASTER CHIEF
Halo 2 has nice graphics; I mean for a current generation console game they’re very pretty. Weapon models are lovely with great detail on player and vehicle models too. The environments are also extremely nice to look at, especially the earth portions of the game. However the graphics are far from perfect. When close up, some of the player models do look quite ugly and texture popup is, at times very bad. With environments and models appearing onscreen with low quality textures, and then suddenly the high quality ones will pop right in. This is usually only during cut scenes, but you’ll sometimes notice it in game play too.
They didn’t just stick in all the old vehicles from the first Halo either. All the vehicles have been remodelled from the ground up and subsequently, look much better. They’re also destructible with detachable hubcaps, bullet holes and chunks that break off completely. This damage is not just cosmetic, damaged vehicles are much harder to control.
These graphics are backed up by some outstanding audio. In fact the audio far surpasses the graphics in sheer quality. Everything in the game sounds exactly how it should, the guns sound powerful the voice acting – although not perfect – is very good and the soundtrack is worthy of a place in a Peter Jackson movie.
So it looks nice, but how’s the storyline you ask?
Let me get this out the way and tell you, that Halo 2 has a very disappointing storyline. For all you diehard fans of halo, all you people who waited patiently with bated breath to see what in the world was going on, hopeing that the sequel would hold the answers to your many questions. You’re going to be disappointed.
The story takes place straight after the events of the first halo. Having successfully destroyed the ring you’re celebrating a job well done aboard a ship headed for earth. Your party, however is gate crashed, by your good old friends the covenant. After a little excitement, a good old fashion shootout, and a crazy stunt, involving the master chief riding on the back of a bomb through outer space. You end up on earth. This is by far the best part of halo and you’ll be more than happy, gunning your way through the destruction filled streets of your home planet. However you don’t stay they’re for long, and things take an interesting and somewhat disappointing turn.
A second story is thrown your way. Now all these covenant bastards you’ve been mercilessly killing, are supposed to be simply caught up in the wrong war. You’re now made to feel sorry for them and during all this our good friend the master chief is nowhere to be seen.
Lets not get mistaken though. Despite a dodgy storyline Halo 2’s single player campaign is immense fun. The rock solid game play of the first one is totally intact, and the addition of new weapons, vehicles and dual wielding adds a lot. Fans of the first halo and those of FPS in general, are going to find a lot to like here, but despite all the fun you’ll be having it won’t last long. Chris and me finished this game in one sitting, granted it took all night, but it can be done and there is one more huge disappointment waiting for you at the end, those credits appear out of nowhere and those questions remain unanswered.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings, right? And that fat lady is singing down the microphone of an xbox live headset.
When you’ve --very quickly-- finished with single player portion of halo 2, theres a metric ton of multiplayer options to mess around with. You can play split screen with four other players on one xbox; there’s system link, which supports up to sixteen players through several xbox’s, or you can take Halo 2 online with xbox live.
MORE ADDICTIVE THAN A CUP OF COFFEE SWEETENED WITH HIGH-GRADE CRACK!
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the live functionality of halo 2; I’m not going to go on about how you can customise almost anything about the game. Neither am I going to say stuff like “Halo 2's multiplayer options build on the strong foundation established by its predecessor” or “The maps themselves are clearly designed with well-balanced multiplayer competition in mind. What I will say however and this is all I will say is that Halo 2’s multiplayer is more addictive than high-grade crack!
On that day I purchased Halo 2 me and my friend played it all night and completed it in one sitting. Does that make it a bad game? No of course it doesn’t. Although we completed it in only a few hours they were some seriously fun hours and the incredible multiplayer adds an unlimited amount of play when the story mode is finished.