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Score of the Game
by Kurt Johnstone

Halo 2 must be the most hyped and anticipated video game of all time. It sold more than 2 million copies on the first day it was released, making more money than what most movies in the theatres ever make. The question is, does Halo 2 live up to the anticipation and hype?

The graphics have been improved over the original, but not as vastly as one would think. Bungie basically took the same graphics engine from the original game and created a technique called Normal Mapping which increases the polygons, framerate and gives the developers room to add amazing effects to the game. The framerate stays at a consistent 30-35 fps throughout the game which is amazing considering the graphics and amount of enemies on screenat one time.

Gameplay is once again spectacular as one would expect. Halo 2 plays essentially the same as Halo 1. There are some someminor and major adjustments made to the game. Some of the major ones is the ability to wield two guns at the same time. You can mix and match with several guns to find your favourite combo. There is no fall damage now. There are some new weapons such as the Brute shot, Battle rifle, Beam rifle, Convenant sword, and the Carbine to name a few. There is more and now a noticeable amount of auto-aim which I wish they never changed from the original. That’s pretty much it. Seeing as the game doesn’t play much different from the original, I can see many people being disappointed—but not me.

Why change something that worked so well in the first place?! However the level design is much improved, making the levels much less confusing as before. The A.I. for the most part is better especially your teammates. One problem I noticed is that the A.I. gets stuck in the environments on several occasions during the campaign mode. The storyline and cinematics are greatly improved and make the game more of a cinematic experience this time around. As far as huge twists and turns that bungie once claimed would be in the story never really happened or least not in my opinion.

The biggest surprise is that you can play as a convenant character which doesn’t change gameplay much except the fact that you can cloak with him for a short time. Though Halo 2 in the campaign mode has a few flaws I can’t say the same for the multiplayer. It is brilliant. The Maps are designed extremely well. The weapons are strategically placed and so are the explosive objects. There is a huge amount of strategy and teamplay involved making you constantly think and outwit your opponents. Once you get use to it, the match-Making system works perfect. It eliminates cheaters and creates awesome competition.

The sound is Surprisingly the best I’ve ever heard on any game. The guns sound realistic and the music is perfect. The theme music is a classic and I will never forget it. The voice acting is top notch from some well known actors. So does the game live up to the hype? No way. Nothing could live up to this amount of anticipation and hype. What this game does it does near perfect. This is Halo 1 only with more and better. That is the best way I can describe it.

The game design is amazing. The gameplay is even better. The multiplayer is the best on the console. The graphics are impressive but not the best on Xbox. The framrate is consistent. The story is good and best of all it is fun. MY only complaints is there is too much auto-aim taking away some skill. The A.I. gets stuck and the campaign is too short.

Other than that all I can say is that I love you Halo 2.

On a side note here is my list of the top games for this Christmas (not in any particular order).

1. Metroid Prime 2
2. Halo 2
3. Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within
4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
5. Burnout 3
6. Dead Or Alive: Ultimate
7. Jak 2
8. Ghost Recon 2

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