Last night I finally finished 'Halo 2'.
I know, I know - anyone who plays games is right now thinking 'How old is this post?! Halo 3 is out and he still hasn't finished Halo 2?? You're kidding me right??'.
No. I'm not kidding.
I am a huge Halo fan. Let me be clearer - I am a huge Halo 1 fan.
I love the story, the world in which the game is set.
I love the characters, the plot and the sprawling gameplay which frankly beats Gears of War into submission.
But let me say this: Upon completion of Halo 2 last night I can state that it truely is an abomination.
I know already that Halo 3 is a far superior game (I started the Campaign last night) but I have a bitter taste in my mouth that the Halo trilogy is so hidiously marred by the second installment.
'What's wrong with it? Why do you despise it so?' I hear the fans cry..
The music? Excellent in places - Marty O'Donnell is a genius of smooth, soft emotional music but lacks all tact and sense of urgency during the action scenes.
During the later levels my friend Mike who I forced to play through with me kept asking 'Is this Enya?'.
The story? Downright fabulous and sprawling but unfortunately rushed because of the structure of the game. Story telling wasn't aided by a poor voice/music volume balance - it was very hard to understand what Tartarus (one of the lead bad guys) was saying..
Gameplay? Halo 1 shoved in a corridor. Not enough great set pieces and too much opportunity to just run through without killing any of the adversaries.
To be honest though - I wanted to play as John, Spartan 117, the Master Chief. Not as some alien guy, 'The Arbiter'. I didn't buy Halo 2 because I thought it would be an awesome game in it's own right - meaning I bought it because I loved Halo 1 and expected more of the same - and I was seriously disappointed.
I'll write up a more lengthy review if demand warrants it - there are some aspects of the game that are welcome additions to the franchise (like the Battle Rifle, oh my goodness, what a gun..) but as a summary: Halo 1 was ground breaking and deserved it's high acclaim and huge praise. Halo 2 was like playing Quake 2 with nicer graphics and some bells and whistles - and I didn't even like Quake 2. How about that to stir up some anger, eh?