Halo 2 is a 2004 first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft. Released for the Xbox video game console on November 9, 2004, the game is the second installment in the Halo franchise and the sequel to 2001's critically acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved. In 2007 a sequel to this game, Halo 3 was released on the Xbox 360.
Why It Rocks
- The graphics are a major step up over the first game, such as more detailed character models and vehicles that have actual damage modeling.
- An awesome Multiplayer mode, which kickstarted the Xbox Live service, which still continues to this day.
- There are new online multiplayer additions, such as adding ranked matches and easy play with players from far away.
- They are even new maps to play on, such as Coagulation, a remake of the Halo 1 map Blood Gutch, and many more that were added through the Multiplayer Map Pack.
- A really stellar soundtrack, composed by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori.
- The multiplayer includes some areas exclusive to this mode.
- There are more weapons, vehicles and locations than its predecessor. You can even dual wield many weapons, something that was reintroduced in Halo 3.
- There are many new enemies to fight, such as the ape like Brutes and the bug like Drones.
- You can even now play as an Elite in the multiplayer mode and even use human weapons as the Elite.
- The game features a new game engine, as well as using the Havok physics engine for its ragdoll physics.
- You can play as both Master Chief and the Covenant elite known as the Arbiter in the story mode.
- The story is really good, with likeable characters both new and old, such as the Prophets, The Arbiter, 343 Guilty Spark, Tatarus, Master Chief and Sgt. Johnson, who was the most popular Halo character.
- The Covenant, in particular, are given more character development, such as the Elites talking English, and the fact than one particular Elite, who had failed to protect the Halo ring in the first game, is given a second chance and becomes The Arbiter.
- The voice acting is amazing, with Steve Downes as Master Chief and Jen Taylor as Cortana not only reprising their roles, but also well known actors such as Dee Bradley Baker as the Gravemind, Keith David as the Arbiter, and Ron Perlman as Lord Hood being standouts too.
- Every one of the level includes some hidden Easter eggs, such as the skulls (which give interesting effects to the campaign) and the powerful Scarab Gun.
- There are multiple power-ups such as increased energy shields and invisibility.
- Improved gameplay from its predecessor including the ability to swap weapons with your team-mates and the ability to hijack enemy vehicles. The first allows the player to make some sort of strategy since your allies have infinite ammo regardless of the amount in the weapon you give them; meaning that you can create an advantage for your team if you give a powerful weapon such as a rocket launcher to an ally.
- The game partly suffered from a rushed development, which caused a few flaws despite Bungie's efforts at making an excellent game. This resulted in the notorious cliffhanger ending and the Brutes being overpowered. Many levels were also scrapped because of this.
- The infamous E3 2003 demo, which didn't look anything like the final game.
- There are unpopular changes regarding the weapons, most notably the absence of the assault rifle. The shotgun and the magnum were downgraded in clip size and fire power (especially the latter) from the first game, which unpleased a lot of players. One inaccurate aspect about weapons is that you can't reload plasma rifles when you play as the Arbiter (or Elite in multiplayer).
- The game’s campaign on Legendary difficulty is considered one of the hardest FPS campaigns in video game history. To summarize:
- Player shields are now insanely weak, often going down in one hit with another killing you instantly.
- Enemies fire much faster and from multiple directions, making it impossible to attack head on without having to retreat constantly. They are more tougher than they were on CE's Legendary difficulty (although they aren't complete bullet sponges).
- Some weapons are almost useless on Legendary, so you will always have to rely on the Battle Rifle or Covenant Carbine for headshots, while staying behind cover constantly, which takes away the feeling of being a Legendary super soldier like you were in Combat Evolved.
- The Infamous Sniper Jackals. They have insane accuracy and can kill you in one hit regardless of hit location, and unless you know exactly where they are, you’re going to get killed a lot. To make matters worse, they will always respawn 15 times in many levels, especially in the "Metropolis" level.
- Vehicles can be destroyed after just a couple hits, making many of the driving sections incredibly tedious.
- The Iron skull is automatically turned on and can’t be turned off. On co-op the Iron skull makes it so that if any one in your co-op squad dies you’ll all reset to the last checkpoint, and on single player it restarts the entire mission. All of this makes Halo 2’s Legendary campaign incredibly frustrating to the point of being unfair.
- The Spanish dub is horrendous, it was announced as a neutral Spanish dub, but in reality, it has a lot of Mexican slangs that can be annoying for some people and the voice acting is terrible, most of the characters sound like if they were on drugs and some quotes are incredibly cringe-worthy.
- The Windows version was forcing you to use Windows Vista, which was considered to be one of the worst Windows versions ever. Because of this, fans tried making patches and finding exploits to run the game on Windows XP, which was the best selling operating system at the time.
Halo 2 received critical acclaim. On review aggregate sites GameRankings and Metacritic, the game has attained overall scores of 94.57% and 95 out of 100, respectively.
Halo 2 has also received multiple awards, including Best Console game and Best Sound Design from the Interactive Achievement Awards. According to Xbox.com, the game has received more than 38 individual awards.