Halo 2 Tragedy

Today, I bought the Collector’s Edition of Halo 2.

In a cruel twist of fate, the box I got had only one disk in it – the “making of” DVD – and no game disk. So I had to trudge back to Huge Corporate Chain tonight to exchange it for a box which actually, y’know, had the game I paid for. So, expect the first look review tomorrow, instead of today. Fortunately, I was able to try it out tonight with about 9 other people.


Fundamentally, the multiplayer is nearly the same as the original. But the ability to play on Live without having to muck about with getting a bunch of Xboxen and TVs and sweaty geeks in the same room is, in and of itself, transformative. There have been some gameplay tweaks (notably the addition of dual-wielding) that feel like they don’t add much. The deathmatch levels feel much better designed than in Halo 1. In the first game, all of the levels were these huge, sprawling edifices that felt like they were made for 16 player system link. Unfortunately, we usually played with 4 players, which meant that 90% of our time was spent wandering around looking for each other. The levels in Halo 2, by contrast, feel much more tightly designed: most of your time is spent killing. And dying.

The graphics are brighter, sharper, and nicer than in Halo 1, but not such that you would write an essay about them. I haven’t spent much time in the single player game. Given Bungie’s history of writing good plots, that’s what I’m most looking forward to.

That being said: 90 minutes of online play (in both deathmatch and capture- the-flag matches) has left me trembling from adrenaline overload. Which says something about the pace of the game.

More tomorrow. In the meantime, you can read a great description of the experience at Must Work Harder.