Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Top 50 Games - 16. Halo 2
I know that my entries have been getting longer as I move closer to the top of my list, but I don't think I have a whole lot to say about Halo 2. This is not because there's nothing left to be said about it. It's not like Ocarina of Time, where thousands of raving fans have exhausted their weak little lungs hurling superlatives at the game. No, I think my job here is to briefly but somewhat effectively defend a game that I feel does not get the positive attention it deserves. I think a lot of people regard Halo 2 the way I regard Halo 3 (that is, not particularly well). I'm not exactly sure what I can say to change anyone's mind (probably nothing), but I will claim wholeheartedly that Halo 2 took the solid FPS w/ vehicles design of its predecessor and polished it up till it shone like --insert simile here--. Halo has always been the arcadey, pick-up-and-play type of shooter, and Halo 2 embraced that. You could jump higher, you could dual wield like in a John Woo movie, you could hijack vehicles, you didn't need to worry about health packs. I remember that I loved the vehicles in Combat Evolved and wished they were more prominent; Halo 2 made my wish come true. There was less backtracking and overall better level design, the graphics for the time were pretty neat, the music was even better and to this day is one of the best video game soundtracks out there, and although many complained about it, I thought the story and alternate hero were more nuanced and interesting. Where the original Halo felt like a true justification for the Xbox and non-Goldeneye console FPS, Halo 2 (at least at the time) just felt perfect to me; it had the glow of a true masterwork. Now... the multiplayer. I won't get too deep into this, but Halo 2, despite not seeming very innovative, truly set the standard for online console gaming and allowed Xbox Live to become what it is today. The multiplayer mode, whether you're playing CTF or Slayer, online or split-screen, is the heart of the Halo experience and I truly cherish the hours that I've spent mercilessly fragging and being fragged by my friends. And just as a final fuck you to the haters: I was satisfied by the campaign's cliffhanger ending. So put that in your pipe and smoke it or something.