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Halo 2
  opened by paleface at 05:23:47 07/16/05  
  last modified by paleface at 04:28:37 07/30/05  
  paleface [sys=XBX; cat=Shooter_3D; loc=NA]
Have only played in three-player DM mode, and I guess it's okay, but it doesn't really stand out as anything particularly special. A lot of the weapons are uninspiring, and the map selection is pretty bad (I suppose that's why they released a map pack later).
What's with the "Hold X to..." function? In order to swap weapons you find, or climb into vehicles, or really do anything of vital importance aside from moving and shooting, you usually have to press and hold the X button for several seconds--seconds you don't really have in a tight deathmatch. Couldn't they have made a quick single-press for this somehow? Maybe you can change it in the options, I didn't look, but the default is kind of sucky.
Seems solid enough, but a rather genero mix (and not a really large one) of bullet weapons, plasma guns, and small explosives. The vehicles are sort of amusing, but some of them seem way too powerful--like, regular weapon fire just bounces off them.
Oh, and I thought it was interesting that instead of having health powerups lying around, your health or shield or whatever just automatically regenerates to full after a few seconds of inactivity. It seems to me that this makes it a little too easy to go on a campy rampage.
  paleface 04:02:36 07/18/05
I don't know if it's a narrow FOV, or maybe a slow default turn speed or something, or maybe I was just tired, but in deathmatch I always felt like I didn't quite have a good awareness of my surroundings, and it was hard to keep a moving target in my sights. I don't have this problem in most other shooters--Timesplitters (see entry 785), for instance (and targets move much faster in that game, too).
  paleface 04:28:37 07/30/05
Well, I've played some co-op of this now and it was...okay. There is a ton of really bad slowdown, and even processing problems, like textures on a big ship turning all black for a second or two. The levels are massive, so I imagine this thing is stretching the Xbox's memory limits a bit.
Too many of the levels are genero sci-fi high-ceilinged corridors with buttresses, usually packed with, yes, lots of crates. Oh, the joys of crates! They also rely overmuch on sticking you in one spot for a while and spawning in waves of aliens, with suspicious pauses in between that leave you wondering what the heck is going on. The HUD could really use a better display of what you need to go, or where you need to go.
The game usually gives you some friendlies to shoot things with you, and the problem becomes one of telling friend from foe. The crosshair is supposed to turn a different color when pointed at an enemy, but this is often hard to make out in the heat of the moment, and also I think it doesn't work consistently past a certain range. They really should have made it more obvious somehow. Friendly fire is on throughout, so prepare for a death or two in that way if your co-op partner is a little touchy on the trigger.
Sometimes you get vehicles, and these stages are often the more amusing. My favorite so far has been one in which you drive a huge tank over a very long bridge--the tank has this awesome booming cannon that makes spectacular mincemeat of the various alien craft sent your way. My partner didn't have anything to operate on the tank, though, so he just had to make do running alongside.
Midway through you switch over and play an alien in some kind of plot about a religious hokum guy. It's hard to understand the alien voices, and really they sound like they're saying boring stuff anyway, and it's nearly impossible to tell some of the good aliens from the bad this is really not my favorite part. They'd have done better just to focus on the marine stuff, if ya ask me.
The game is quite rough in spots, surprisingly so for one that ought to figure so highly in Microsoft's console wars arsenal. Many of the cinematics are boring or puzzling. The lip-syncing can be pretty far off. As mentioned earlier, the framerate (in co-op, anyway) gets dire. Sometimes the AI just stands in place until you're nearly on top of it. In one airship level, the game would respawn me in midair--to fall to my death--when my partner got close to a landing area, but didn't zip right on top of it. And I got myself stuck once by falling off a platform and into an area which, evidently, I wasn't supposed to reach until later on.
I can only conclude (and the small number of multiplayer maps would tend to support this) that the game was a bit rushed. It isn't a bad game--the AI is usually pretty good, and the physics (except for some vehicles) are good, and some of the levels are decent. Co-op all the way through is a big plus. But they certainly could have used a bit more time to polish it up.

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