First off, the campaign mode on Halo 2 is way too short, and not as cool as the first Halo. Sure you don't have to repeat a few levels just going backwards, but there's something just not the same about it. Not to mention, the end sucks. It was a major cliff-hanger, and I was surprised when I got to the end. I couldn't believe it was over already. This is nit-picking though, because the game is still definitely fun. My major complaint is the multi-player on-line mode.
Until you have a friend base built up, you are forced to be thrown into whatever game mode the computer gives you. Plus, 9 times out of 10, it is a two round, capture the flag match at 3 minutes each. And I don't want to play carry the skull for 2 minutes. I want to sit down with a good bunch of players for a good hour and play one long team slayer frag-fest. This never happens. It is SO dumb. I can't believe this is the best that Bungie could com up with after almost 4 years in development.
After a few days things started to get better. I started to build a friend base, and was able to create my own matches. The problem is this: it is difficult to find friends that are A) good enough - B) not too good - C) are not complete idiots - and D) happen to be online at the same time you are. There are very few people (out of about 313,000 registered unique players) who meet all of these criteria...at least for me. So on any given afternoon or evening, I may get lucky and be able to play a fun game of Halo, or I might sit there for 2 hours waiting for cool people to sign-on and/or start something cool.
Having said all that, Halo 2 kicks ass! The multi-palyer boards are amazingly well designed pieces of excitement. The 2 levels from the original Halo have been tweaked to add that little extra something, and there are more weapons and vehicles than before. Already one new multi-player level has been added for download, and I know more are on the way. There are rumors of more original Halo levels being added soon. The server speed is great. Lag time is minimal. Of course the occasional cut-off happens, but it is rare, and usually short-lived, and you are always placed back into the game right where you left off. The headset is a plus as I am able to conspire with teammates, as well as trash-talk the poor fallen bastards that I have slain.
You are able to customize the look of your player, and everyone has there own specially designed icon, as to identify them from "far away." Every player is ranked according to his/her accomplishments and skill level.
One really nice thing I hadn't expected, is the Bungie.net web site. It keeps track of everything for you....EVERYTHING. I recently linked my gamer tag (Drewbacca) to the website, and it now shows me the following stats:
- every on-line match I've ever played in (so far about 375)
- board, time of day, type of game
- kills, deaths, assists, medals, and a lot more for EVERY MATCH!
- detailed maps of where and who killed me and from which direction and what weapon they used
- detailed maps of where and who I killed and from which direction and what weapon I used
- zoom in on certain areas of the map for more info
The list goes on and on of what they keep track of. It's almost kind of scary.
Anyway, I gotta get back to playing now. See you on-line!
Xbox's Halo 2 site
Bungie - official home of all that is Halo
Buy all your Halo 2 gear here.
A much better, and more in-depth review than mine.
A cool article on practical applications of video games.