First Impressions: Halo 2 (XB)

InsidePulse received an incredible surprise delivered to our door at approximately 9:00am this morning, a nice and shiny silver case containing none other than Halo 2!

People are already lining up outside stores across the country for the Halo 2 Midnight Madness sale that begins at 12:01am on November 9th.

With a few solid hours of action under my belt, here are my early impressions of the hottest Xbox title of the year.

-Visually the game looks nearly identical to the original, but that is a GOOD thing. Great textures, and the voiceover to voice movement is about as realistic as I’ve seen in any game. While the lip movement is not 100% accurate, it is EXTREMELY close – arguably better than any other game I’ve ever seen.

-Voice acting is very well done, and the game feels like a major movie, which is exactly what I – and the loyal Halo fan – was expecting. While I won’t spoil the story here, I will say the storyline picks up right where the original left off. Be prepared for roughly 20 minutes of cutscenes before you actually get into any type of action. But be prepared because once the first action starts, it becomes pretty intense.

-In the first mission I had trouble maintaining ammo, and was stuck using those awful plasma guns to blast my way through some areas. The controls are identical to the original – and even the opening “augmentations” are very similar to what welcomed you to the original Halo.

-Xbox Live action is what many had been anticipating even more than the single player campaign. The game automatically signs you in to Xbox Live shortly after turning on the console. Obviously you have the option to turn this off, but the Live Gamertag and your single player profile become immediately linked if you do in fact choose the auto sign-in option.

-Once in Xbox Live play, I was confused over just how to get in on the action. Selecting QuickMatch or Optimatch takes you to a “Party Room” and a countdown begins. Originally I had thought this meant that there was nobody online (granted this WAS 12 hours before the stroke of midnight) but it turns out the opening room is where you and other buddies on the same console can sign on together – thus the “party” aspect. Seeing as how I have no friends….in the room at the time I was playing online for the first time this afternoon…waiting out the ten seconds then sends you to another room, where you are matched up with up depending on which online game you chose.

-For me, the online game of choice was good old fashioned slayer (aka the Deathmatch). The maps are very well thought out, include plenty of sniping areas as well as pillars and walls for instantly addicting shoot ’em up action.

This isn’t our full “official” review, and I have not played the game enough yet to make a final verdict. Needless to say the game sure seems like it is living up to the hype so far. If you can find a copy, by all means go out and pick it up! Stay with InsidePulse for an in-depth review and eventual tribunal on Halo 2!