“There are those who said this day would never come…”
Warrior – Complete the game on Normal difficulty Gamerscore = 100 Unlocked on 29/07/2011
Inspired by the announcement of Halo Anniversary this Fall I decided that I wanted to complete all the Halo campaigns where Achievements are involved. Since Halo 2 achievements only exist in the PC version, and I happen to own said version, I decided that this vacation I would make the effort to play the Halo 2 campaign through once again. As you can see above I did complete the game and earned the swanky 100-point achievement to boot, but that this time more than ever I played this game through with a more critical set of eyes and have some observations of an FPS classic seven years later.
First off I would like to point out some of the negatives of Halo 2. First off, the PC version on my computer would bog down, while I don’t think it is the software’s fault, it did colour my experience. Now I could have turned down the detail, but Halo 2 is very pretty on the PC, and I wanted to enjoy it as best looking as possible. Some of the games mechanics and A.I. are feeling dated, but that is to be expected considering the age of this game which began its development cycle nearly 10 years ago. Compared to today’s FPS crop, Halo 2 feels sparse and lonely, again that is more a product of its time. Combat while great for its time doesn’t holdup as well. Thankfully I could run past a lot of the conflicts so I could make the painful times less such.
The good news though is that Halo 2 is still a beautiful game, especially on the PC. The games graphics and cut-scenes really pop on the high-res settings that the computer can allow for. The art for Halo 2 really expands on what Bungie started with Halo: CE and lays the groundwork for the remainder of the series thus far. The Halo ring, High Charity, the Forerunner ruins, New Mombasa, all these locals really come to life. They were probably the most enjoyable part of playing Halo 2. Thought dated, I can really see the influence that Halo 2 had on today’s shooters, especially in pacing and storytelling. Nobody had done it better at that time, and Bungie continued to iterate on their formula up to and including Reach, and you can really see the progression and benefit of that development.
Halo 2 went through somewhat of a backlash post launch. While it had initial amazing reviews, it tended to level out after the hype settled down. What couldn’t be disputed was the quality of the games multiplayer which games to this day are still struggling to match. While I am unable to play the multiplayer on my PC version for some reason, I would better be served to play Reach anyhow. I will just have to leave those PC achievements on the shelf.
Next stop, Halo Anniversary this Fall, but I will be sure to keep my skills sharp on the Reach side of things until then. In the future, if I need to play Halo 2, I think I will play it either on my Xbox, or back-compat on my 360, it is just a smoother experience that way.