Tuesday, November 09, 2004

First there was light...

and on the eighth day he created Halo...and their was much rejoicing. After being surgically removed from my XBox only long enough to eat dinner, I now face a long inner struggle to do anything other than play Halo 2 for the rest of my natural existence. From the suped-up intro music (now with extra guitar) to the ability to dual-wield awesome alien weapons, Halo 2 is faaaannntastic. Before I was pried away from my utopia, I managed to "own" a few games online and blast my way through the opening two scenarios in the single-player campaign. Already I can tell that this is something very special. Apart from the fact that XBox Live has never been this busy...EVER...and the fact that people in Wilsonville were queuing at the Game Crazy at midnight to get their copies, the game itself is simply outstanding.

I have heard rumors that the single-player campaign is uninteresting and short. I can't yet speak as to the latter, but I can guarantee that the action so far is absolutely top notch. Anyone thinking that this game is either too easy or straightforward is obviously playing it on pansy difficulty rather than Heroic or Legendary. Try cranking the difficulty up to Legendary and the game becomes a whole different beast. Even the hardiest Haloite will find a challenge when four or five red elites are bearing down on them in a closed corridor.

Then you fire up XBox Live and really prove who you are by duking it out online. After completely owning the whole arena for the first couple of matches, I was introduced to the 'matchmaking' system in Halo 2. Nothing to do with romance, the matching system endeavors to always pit you against players of a similar skill level. It evidently didn't take me long to raise my head just high enough on the rankings for the matching system to put me in with people who would happily take it off at the neck. I proceeded to come in last for the next three matches. I did manage to get a couple of shots off in one match, but unfortunately it was not enough to deter the more elite combatants from slaughtering me. Fortunately I should now be matched up with the 'how do I control this thing again' crowd for a while, at least until I win a few.

In short, Halo 2 not only rocks, it re-defines what it is to be a passive aggresive pass-time where pixel pushing is king. Wish me luck...the master chief IS BACK!!!!


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