Not many sequels can please the audience of the first game. This sequel however, breaks all the foundations for what a sequel should be. Halo 2 was teased and demoed at an E3 event in 2003 before releasing November 9th 2004. As a sequel it didn’t change what it felt like to play a Halo game, all of the original magic was still there along with the kick-ass soundtrack. The game however looked visually stunning compared to the first game, as well as gritty. Humanities struggle to fight the Covenant felt real as you walked through the streets of Mombasa.
Characters also felt a lot more like real people, while returning favourites like Cortana and Johnson were around, we got a taste of what the Covenant was up to. Players were put into the role of the Arbiter, an elite protecting the Halo ring from the first game. He’s gone through a lot of shit and we can really start to feel something for this character who we fought before.While at the time it felt like an MGS2 switch all over again, it further deepened the story of the universe and got me into the extended material.
I remember playing through Mombasa on legendary and being annihilated by those Jackal snipers, god I wanted to kill them so bad – Me
Gameplay got a good kick up the arse too, new mechanics like duel wielding and hijacking would be present. While there was nothing wrong with the first game in that regard, it certainty felt like you had a lot more to play with. Combat Evolved had its fair share of overpowered weapons, Halo 2 brings us many new toys to use and experiment with that feels a lot more varied over using the same pistol over and over.
The most worldwide change that was brought to the series was Xbox Live. This is where instead of inviting friends over for fish n chips and halo, you could play online. It was crazy at the time to believe you were fighting strangers over the internet. It would remain immensely popular all the way up till the closure of Xbox Live. Halo 2 made the social experience of video games what it is today and we should all thank it now and then.
Going back to that E3 demo before, Bungie clearly had higher aspirations for the game from the gameplay shown. Unfortunately due to the limits of the hardware at the time, the final product was not as polished as the demo. While this is definitely a bummer it did not reduce the overall quality of the game and it still stands as one of the most loved games out there. I rate CE a little higher, but that’s from the experience I had growing up and I wish we could still experience the multiplayer as it was then. We also have to remember that the end to this games story was a little…Lacklustre for say.
Halo 2 comes up with a 9/10.