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November 12th, 2004 · No Comments · Gaming, Reviews, Xbox

Halo 2 is, well, more Halo basically.

New level design, new story, slightly modified gameplay, changes to weapons and vehicles, mostly incremental improvements of varying degrees. This is not a bad thing, but the commercial success of Halo 2 has more to do with fierce loyalty than the game’s merits.

Well, that, and the support for Xbox Live, which is outstanding. The ability and method of setting up “parties” which can then play several games together is very effective. Maintaining group cohesion across games is an important way to keep things fun. Any developers considering Xbox Live support should look to what Bungie has done as the high water mark for interface and group management on Xbox Live. The game customization options are excellent as well, allowing you make up your own games and save the settings.

My only two beefs with Halo 2 is that push-to-talk is required to speak to teammates (or other players if it isn’t a team game) who aren’t in your vicinity. Seeing how Bungie allows for almost every other aspect of a game to be adjusted and customized, it’s a crying shame that there isn’t a “radio mode” option to allow either open mike or push-to-talk. It would make the game a more enjoyable social experience for some of us. I also wish they had managed a cooperative Xbox Live campaign, even if it only allowed two people.

My one pet peeve with twitchy shooters like Halo is believing that jumping up and down like a jack rabbit on amphetamines will really be an effective tactic in the battlefields of the future. Somehow, I just can’t see Marines being taught to deal with enemy fire by running like mad and skipping. Though, perhaps when Marines can jump six feet high, this will indeed become commonplace.

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