Microsoft is responsible not only for Windows and other useful software packages but also for developing a few coo! games like Zoo tycoon and Mechanics. After the release of its game console Xbox, Halo, a First Person Shooter (FPS) multiplayer game was released that took the market by storm. Now, it is back with the sequel named Halo 2. The game was originally released for the Xbox 360 in 2004 but is now available for PCs as well.
The game picks up from where it left off in the previous part, with the Halo ring destroyed and the Master Chief Space Marine's return to Earth as a celebrated war hero. On the other hand, in the Covenant race the alien Arbit, responsible for the safety of the Holy Halo was brought to trial and was stripped of his rank, armor and publicly pronounced a heretic and imprisoned. Now, they have found another Halo called Delta Halo and are determined to make their great journey using it. One gets to play both as the Master Chief as and a Covenant Arbit therefore seeing both sides of the story. There also seems to be a political conflict in between the ranks of the Covenant leaders and one sees them facing off against each other and sometimes leading the charge themselves.
The game engine is not very good because of high system requirements, yet it packs the same graphical punch as the original Halo. The textures used in the previous Halo give the environment a good feel, hence it seems the developers are not willing to change it at all. It can run on Microsoft XP as well, using patches that are easily available on the internet.
The game play is almost identical to its previous version with the exception of dual wielding of weapons, which was not an option before. Aside from that, everything gives the player a sense of deja vu. All the weaponry of both the humans and Covenants are same as well as the war vehicles such as the Warthog, Ghost, Wraith and others. At the most, there may be an addition of one or two new enemy soldiers, just to give the game a sense of being different form the original Halo. The new Covenant perspective of the game is quite interesting though. The alien armor has the camouflage capability, which renders the person wearing it invisible for a few seconds, which is very handy in creeping up behind enemies unseen or getting out of tight spots. The ambience of the game comes as no surprise because it basically is taken from the old Halo; except for the starting theme song .The high-pitched shrieks of the dwarfish aliens and the bass voice of the elites are exactly as they were before. The background music used during combat is perfectly synchronised with the situation and does not feel out of place.
It seems as if this version of Halo was meant for multiplayer gaming, as there is a lot of improvement in that department.
One sees the presence of 23 different maps for it.
It supports up to 16 players per gaming session. To use the multiplayer feature one must have a Microsoft Silver or Gold account. One of the interesting questions that arise is whether or not a PC user will be able to connect to an Xbox hosted server. The Gold and Silver difference is only that the Silver users have to search for the server in a browser while the Gold members simply have to press 'quick connect' and presto! One is in a match. The multiplayer aspect of the game is more resource demanding so one has to downsize the settings in order to enjoy a decent game play. There is also a map editor, which enables the player to create custom maps thus creating virtually infinite possibilities and increasing the lure for the multiplayer section. In conclusion, Halo literally rocked the Xbox foundations but it does not seem that Halo 2 would be able to cause more than a tremor.
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