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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: A Review Of “Halo 2”


Entertainment Editor

Even though Halo 2 came out for the Xbox360 and Windows Vista years ago, I feel it’s necessary to reiterate the good and bad points. While I love the second game just as much as Halo: Combat Evolved, I think the second game made a lot of changes that were a bit uncalled for, though quite a few good changes were made.

I could spend all day ranting about the weapons, but I’ll force myself to limit myself to just a few topics. One of my main concerns with the weapons is the amount of ammo that Master Chief carries with him. I rather enjoyed having 600 rounds of ammo in each magazine with the Assault Rifles, as I didn’t have to reload as often during firefights. As much as I like the Battle Rifle, it can only hold 36 rounds in each magazine, which means that players will need to reload more often than if they were using the Assault Rifle which, sadly, is not available in Halo 2.

I enjoyed the fact that Halo 2 introduced so many new Covenant weapons. I still use the Plasma Rifles, but I won’t say no to the Carbines either. I find the Covenant Sniper Rifles to be very useful, as they’re very powerful. The downside to having all of that power is that the battery drains at a much faster rate than it would for the Plasma Pistol and other weapons.

While they were seen in Combat Evolved, the Energy Swords became playable for the first time in Halo 2. I enjoy having the Energy Sword because it is a great weapon to use against the Flood. As with all Covenant weapons, however, it runs on battery power and will run out after a certain number of kills. Luckily, if an Energy Sword is found once in a mission, it is likely that many more will be nearby.

Halo 2 was the first time where players were able to dual-wield weapons, which can really come in handy during certain missions. However, players must dual-wield smaller weapons like the Sub-Machine Guns and the Plasma Pistols. This new ability comes at a price, though. Using an additional weapon costs the player the ability to throw grenades. In order to throw grenades, or to use melee attacks, the player must drop one of the weapons.

The graphics improved by leaps and bounds, especially regarding the people. Players still don’t get the chance to see Master Chief’s face, but the rest of the human characters actually look like people. They are not coloured in pastels like they had been in the first game. Cortana, in particular, changed in graphic appearance, as it is more obvious that she is an AI with the appearance of a human.

The scenery graphics took a turn for the better. The scenes in the game looked more realistic and it didn’t feel like I was just playing a video game. I particularly felt that the graphics during the mission “Outskirts” helped create the image of a city in distress as Master Chief destroys various Covenant enemies.

I enjoyed that Cortana still gave Master Chief advice throughout the gameplay, but I had a hard time understanding what she was saying when she was inside his helmet. I understand that she isn’t going to sound crystal clear, but I feel that the distortion was a bit overplayed. While the game has subtitles for the major cutscenes, they are left out of the actual gameplay sequences.

Then we come to the debate between playing as Master Chief or the Arbiter. I prefer Master Chief, since I think he is easier to navigate through the missions and easier to control his speed as he runs through the various missions. I’ll play as the Arbiter when I need to without complaint, but it takes me a lot longer to become accustomed to playing as him as opposed to Master Chief. It took a while to get used to the height that the Arbiter can jump, as it’s a lot higher than Master Chief’s range. I like how fast the Arbiter is, but I think it’s harder to control how fast he runs at any given time.

Halo 2 also introduced a new form of Covenant enemy: the Brute. These new foes are over eight feet tall and weigh over one thousand pounds, making them a formidable  opponent. It is easy to enrage them and make them charge at you, which is one of the things that they are known for. However, it is very problematic when this actually happens, considering their gargantuan height.

Overall, I feel that Halo 2 is definitely worth the time and money that players will put into it. The changes that have been made, for better or for worse, are more than made up by the amazing plot details as the Halo saga charges forward.