Halo 2 significant yet still overrated
13 years ago Stewart Smith Comments Off on Halo 2 significant yet still overrated
So Halo 2 is finally out and I am happy, though, it’s not really in the way that most would expect. You see, for me, the release of Halo 2 was a lot like the presidential election. People would not shut up about it, and I could not wait for it to just happen already so people would shut up about it already. And while people have cooled off (for the time being) about Bush staying in office, Halo 2 is still on the tip of seemingly every Xbox owner’s tongue on campus. I can’t walk anywhere without hearing someone yap about staying up until 5 a.m. playing Halo 2 multiplayer.
I’ll be perfectly honest. I’ve never been a fan of the original. I know this puts me in quite the slim majority here, but I’m not ashamed so I’ll come out and say it. I didn’t like Halo. I thought the single-player game was boring and repetitive despite having made some admirable leaps in enemy (and ally) artificial intelligence as well as the smart introduction of vehicle use into the First Person Shooter genre. I took part in several games said multiplayer and enjoyed it more for the fact that I was blowing crap up with my friends and less for the actual game I was playing. It sorely lacked the ability to play as a chaingun toting monkey so Timesplitters 2 automatically beats Halo on that criteria alone.
However, Halo 2’s release sets a precedence of sorts for video games. It was reported by Halo development house Bungie that over 1.5 million copies of the game were pre-ordered. This record-setting number completely demolished the one held previously by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker which held a then unprecedented number of 250, 000 pre-orders just over a year ago in the Spring of 2003. The long lines resulting from this at the Midnight Madness events hosted across the country garnered some media attention and shows that Halo 2 really is revolutionary, just not in the ways that most of its fans perceive it to be.
I’ve heard some claim Halo 2 is revolutionary because now players can wield two weapons at once, steal vehicles and have online multiplayer. Great, Master Chief should send “Thank You” notes to GoldenEye, Grand Theft Auto, and nearly every First Person Shooter since Doom II for the ideas his game uses. Halo 2 is revolutionary, however, for what it represents as far as the presentation and mainstream acceptance of video games.
Halo was the game that everyone played. And I mean that literally. Even people I knew that hate video games take part in the tribal act of Halo multiplayer and do so even more with the sequel. Trailers of the game have been played in movie theaters. The lines fans waited in were previously only reserved for things like rock concerts and new Star Wars movies. You don’t see this happening with most games, not even the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto series.
Halo 2 heralds a significant step forward for video games “growing up” in the eyes of the public, going from being a kid’s toy to a force that inspires the masses. I’m still not a fan of Halo or its sequel because as a video game it doesn’t bring anything genuinely new to the medium, but that doesn’t make it is any less significant.