by Polly

I guess the obvious question might go something like, "Hey! Why the hell are you reviewing the original Halo? It's old n00b olololol." Well, to put it bluntly, it's the only Halo game I ever got close to really enjoying. A Halo 2 review would go something like the StarFox Assault review. So, if you want my thoughts on Halo 2, just skip the StarFox related stuff and skip right down to the 5 things you could spend your money on instead of StarFox Assault and just replace all instances of "StarFox Assault" with "Halo 2." Halo's another one of those games that I honestly don't quite understand why it gets the attention it does. I suppose it's pretty decent for a console first-person shooter, but the flaws in this game are BLARING and its gaggle of idiot-fuck-non-thinking fanboys can't quite come to grips with that.

You're Master Chief. A flat, one-dimensional, cardboard cutout cyborg thrust into a mediocre sci-fi adventure that tries to lull you into thinking it's more than what it is. It all comes down to Master Chief saving the world, and there's nothing wrong with that tried and true concept, it's just that Halo stumbles all over itself as it tries harder and harder to make the situation feel dire. And when it's all over, said, and done you don't feel like you've accomplished anything. The story isn't epic, it's not strong, it's just there. The only thing that kept me paying attention to the story at all was hoping they'd throw some more background information at me about The Covenant. But, you won't find much out about them until Halo 2.

Halo's audio isn't too shabby. Weapons sound like weapons. They're neither bad nor good, they're adequate. Your enemies are constantly barking hints at your location to one another or comically running away from you pleading for their lives, so it does help give them a bit character, even if they're funnier than they may have intended to be. The real star in the audio department is the soundtrack. Halo features some very nicely done orchestral scores that always fit the action and the situation. I find myself listening to some of the game's tunes when I want something to chill out to. There's also a lot of cool ambient environmental sounds that try to draw you into the experience.

The meat of the course is obviously the combat. They don't have the game tagged with the subtitle "Combat Evolved" for nothing. And I did enjoy the combat. Chief can carry two weapons on him at any one time and he's armed with two types of grenades. The weapon combinations you choose to run with will sometimes turn out to be the deal breaker on how well you can get yourself out of certain situations. But, I found that most times, it was okay to go with whatever they drop you off into the mission with. That's not to say that you shouldn't play with all the weapons, because I believe you should. There isn't really one weapon in the game that I don't like. They're all pretty useful and pretty fun to use. You'll never be at a loss for something to use. Your enemies usually always drop thier weapons, so as you rack up carnage and your reserves become depleted, just bash that Elite and gank his Plasma Rifle and let the damage continue.

Along with weapons, Halo features a nice little set of vehicles you can take control of to lay waste to those Covenant swine with. Surprisingly, while I expected it to suck, vehicles are both really fun and very, VERY easy to control. They're implemented into Halo's combat very well, and transitioning from on foot combat to vehicular combat feels pretty seamless.

Halo does sport some fairly decent AI. Enemies are always on the move giving your aim a run for its money. You get the feeling that your enemies have a strong desire for self-preservation as they duck and maneuver around your shots, hide behind walls and rocks, and sometimes just tuck tail and run away altogether. Very rarely will you have an enemy flat out suicide rush you unless they're a member of The Flood, which are purposefully programmed that way. Though your enemies are a lot of fun to fight, I was rather disappointed that there are no bosses to speak of to break up the monotony just a bit. Which basically means once you've figured out a way to dispatch your normal enemies, it becomes an excercise in just assessing who's in the room and which order to take them out in. Bosses were added to Halo 2, but didn't quite turn out as good as I'd hoped they would.

And then the game takes a really bad turn. What good are cool weapons, vehicles and above average AI if the stages you're experiencing all this in suck all to hell? Halo's level design is a fucking travisty. This is some of the worst cut and paste work I've ever seen. And it's not like they cut and pasted large areas either. Far too fucking often you'll go into a room, clear it out, run down a hall and into a room that looks EXACTLY like the one you just left. This makes for a whole hell of a lot of confusion especially in the stage entitled The Library. The early outside stages tend to mix things up a bit more. In fact the first few stages of the game are done well, however once you reach "The Silent Cartographer" expect to experience far too fucking much deja-vu. The level design is a big part of what held this game back from being really good to me. It almost kills the entire single-player campaign.

"But, Polly! You dumb fucking twit! Multiplayer is TEH COOL OLO!!!" Well...guess what? Not everyone in the world loves multiplayer. And as far as Halo multiplayer being fun or requiring any kind of skill, fuck you. Halo's multplayer has always been a horrid unbalanced steaming pile of polygonal vomit. One weapon to conquer all. Fuck that shit, there's no skill in remembering where a certain weapon respawns. Halo 2's Sword. I don't even have to say another fucking word.

I hear arguments all the time that Halo is the ultimate multiplayer game. It's also an excuse I hear people throw around to defend the fact that Halo 2 sucks. "it's a multiplayer game. The singple player game doesn't matter much." What the hell? You're just giving permission to Bungie to pull their pants down and drop a link right into your eager little mouths. You're giving them an excuse and a reason to be lazy and never do anything original ever again. And you're telling them that you'll willingly give them your money to do so. Paying for nothing but multiplayer maps. You stupid fucking sheep. I hope you die.

Rant aside...I did have some fun with Halo. I finished it on Normal and Legendary on both PC and XBORX. It makes for a day or two of nice shooty action, but that's really about it. Halo didn't do anything for me that other better First-Person Shooters hadn't done already.

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