I've already completed Halo 2, Batman: Arkham City and started playing Call of Duty 4. I decided that I should review at least Halo 2 before going further into other games, so here's the review; it is much shorter than I thought it would, but not too bad either, I think. Enjoy!
HALO 2 - For PC - Review by Bamul
Time Spent:10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:"Almost, but not quite"
Halo: Combat Evolved was a huge game back in 2001, and its PC port in 2003 was even better! It was a revolutionary game. While it wasn't wholly original in most aspects (except some; such as regenerative shields), it widely propagated the first-person shooter genre for the consoles that was already famous on PC. Halo's success as a launch title for the first XBOX led to the general achievement of the whole console, and without it, perhaps there wouldn't even be an Xbox 360. Overall, it was a fantastic game and it was popular for good reasons. In 2004, the sequel to that product of shining quality - entitled Halo 2 - was released for XBOX, with the PC version arriving three years later, in 2007. Does the follow-up expand upon its predecessor's grand ideas? Does the PC port live up to its expectations?
Halo 2's story starts off in two different places, one starring the Master Chief and the other with a new playable character - a Covenant Elite. The plot from Master Chief's perspective begins during a reward ceremony, when a sudden attempt at invading Earth is made by a fraction of the Covenant forces. On the other hand; the Elite's narrative starts with him being stripped of his rank, branded a heretic for failing to stop the humans from destroying Halo, tortured by the Chieftain of the Covenant Brutes and on the way to being executed. Of course, things get complicated; the plot thickens as it all eventually leads to the discovery of another Halo ring. The player takes control of both Master Chief and the Elite at different points throughout the singleplayer campaign; witnessing the events leading up to the finding of the second ringworld and what comes after.
I've heard Halo 2 being criticized for its "disappointing story", but if you ask me, it's actually surprisingly good. Obviously I mean "surprisingly good" for a shooter. There's no master storytelling to be found in this sequel, but the plot is certainly a lot more interesting than the first Halo's was and the characters' personalities have seen some more extensive development, making them easier to relate to. Unfortunately, Master Chief is still the cliché badass who is devoid of any interesting things to say, but I guess that's pretty much required from protagonists of shooters.
The gameplay has remained very similar to that of Halo: Combat Evolved, meaning that it's still the same type of entertainment. As long as you don't expect too many novel features, you'll still have plenty of fun playing Halo 2. Something that unfortunately hasn't been improved from the first Halo is the "light" feeling of most weapons. Whether it's because the sound effects aren't powerful enough or the recoil seems too weak, guns in this game just don't pack enough of a punch. This sure does make you feel like you're using modern weaponry, but it just isn't awesome enough. Fortunately, not all of the weapons are like that and some of the alien armaments are especially exciting to use. Melee blows seem to lack impact half of the time, yet when they don't, they're really good.
Variety in both the Arbiter's and Master Chief's arsenals is nice, from shotguns and plasma pistols to rocket launchers and plasma rifles. There is a larger number of interesting arms to use than there was in the first game and some of them can even be dual-wielded. This adds to the "cool factor" and is, all things considered, a wonderful addition that was absent from the first Halo's combat. Driveable vehicles are still in the game; however the controls are a bit different this time around. The Warthog has seen the most change - controlling it is much less "floaty", making it not as unique as it used to be yet also much easier to manoeuvre. All of the controls related to shooting are still a bit unusual for a PC FPS and it takes time to get used to them. Nevertheless, it is still nice to see developers trying something original that actually works.
Halo 2's graphics are great for a console shooter released in 2004, but for a PC game in 2007, they simply can't compete with that of modern releases. And that's precisely why Microsoft did some improvements. A superior frame rate, improved textures, widescreen support and smoother edges are some of the visual features that were absent from the console version… but is that really enough? Unfortunately not; games like Crysis were released for PC in 2007 and Halo 2 can't even be compared to that. Naturally, as long as you keep in mind that the game's content is originally that of a 2004 XBOX game, it won't bother you as the game certainly doesn't look that bad at all.
The audio design of Halo 2 is irrefutably great. The use of the game's soundtrack is much more frequent than it was back in Halo: Combat Evolved. All of the music from the soundtrack matches the action in the gameplay, making each big battle feel epic. Most of the firearms also sound good, but some of them just lack the energy to make them feel believable - thus sometimes breaking the immersion. Each character's voice acting is very well-done, giving spoken lines the personality they need.
Now, let's review everything this game has to offer.
GAMEPLAY - 8.5/10 (Great)
The singleplayer campaign is a ton of fun and strikes a perfect balance between easy and hard. On the other hand, it's a little too much like its predecessor.
STABILITY - 10/10 (Marvellous)
An improved frame rate, and pretty much no bugs or glitches whatsoever, make Halo 2 a very well-designed and technologically stable game.
STORY - 7.5/10 (Good)
This time around, the characters are much more interesting, the plot is more engaging and the story is overall better; however it's still all quite predictable.
GRAPHICS - 5/10 (Mediocre)
I have to give credit to Bungie for the graphics in 2004, but Microsoft simply didn't include enough improvements in their 2007 port of this game.
SOUND - 8.5/10 (Great)
Some of the sound effects are unsatisfactory, but the quality of the voice acting and the really impressive soundtrack more than make up for it.
LONGEVITY - 8/10 (Impressive)
The campaign is of surprisingly satisfying length, but the multiplayer (while good) is not anything special and it's very biased towards those who use controllers.
At the end of the day, Halo 2 for PC is better than it was for XBOX. However, that is only because there was time to progress, and because computer hardware is capable of running more visually impressive games than consoles. With that said, Halo 2 simply isn't as brilliant in 2007 as it was back in 2004. Had it been released for PC in 2004, I would have given this game a rating of 8.5/10. Nonetheless, Halo 2 is still a cla$$ic that should be played by those who missed its first announcement. If you want to see what the Halo franchise used to be like, don't hesitate to buy this game. This game is worth it - you can get it pretty cheap, and it comes with the multiplayer map pack and map editor on the same disc. As long as you don't expect anything as revolutionary as Halo: Combat Evolved and as gorgeous as Crysis, that tells a story as amazing as The Witcher 2 and has multiplayer that's as addictive as Call of Duty 4, you will find a very good and entertaining FPS.
OVERALL RATING - 7.5/10 (Good)
If you thought this review was good, please give me a thumbs-up here:http://uk.gamespot.com/halo-2/user-reviews/784503/platform/pc
My Killzone 3 review didn't get many readers, so I'll remind everyone that it is in my previous blog post. Thanks for reading and have a nice day. ;)