Genre: First Person Shooter
Year: 2004
Developed by: Bungie Inc.
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Xbox, Windows
Feeling Like: Missed the party

There was a weird gap between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3. Both supplied endless memories with Scott, Dave, Ian, Kyle, Dobbo and Tyler either in their parent’s basement or my parent’s basement blasting each other away with sniper rifles and rockets, or cooperatively getting through the campaigns. Even at the time, Halo was an obvious evolution from Goldeneye: 007 and once we picked up those mammoth Xbox controllers, we wouldn’t put them down for years to come.

Halo 2 had nothing like that for me. I played it alone and rarely touched the multiplayer. Which is sad, considering the impact of the game’s launch and was THE reason to get Xbox Live. There are only a few regrets when it comes to video games; missing out on Halo 2’s online scene and skipping Diablo 2 entirely are the most egregious off the top of my head.

I once wrote an article for the now defunct Snackbar Games about how, when it comes to online gaming, timing is everything. I played Diablo 3 at the worst possible time; before they removed the real money auction house and after they’d massively improved everything. Buy high and sell low is not a position I want to be in, but who can predict the future? Looking at my sports betting history, I certainly can’t (I thought the Generals were due!)

If I could go back and give my younger self some advice it would be this; unless your group of friends is jumping off a bridge, just go with whatever they’re doing. They never got into hard drugs or trouble, so it was either something weird, or fun so how bad could it have been? I know you don’t have a ton of money as a jobless teenager, but you still manage to play a lot of video games regardless, so don’t give me that. 10Six is one of the stupidest experiences you’ve ever had, and you still played that until the sun rose with Dave V, Ray and the rest of the GNS crew. So, get your hands on Halo 2, get online with your friends and make it happen.

That easy, huh?

It’s not like I was obsessed with the franchise, and we did play about 8,000 matches of Super Smash Bros. Melee at university so I wasn’t bored, or friendless. But something like this only comes around once in a while and before you know it, it’s obsolete and you can’t go back to when it was new and fresh and exciting.

Am I too late to get into Fortnite?

What I did get out of it was one hell of a campaign and remembered for three things: riding in a tank, using the covenant’s sword any chance I could and that cliffhanger ending.

It was a lonely, but fun experience. Bungie certainly tried new tricks in the single player and it mostly worked. Tanks aren’t anything new to Halo, but for whatever reason the tank-heavy level really stuck with me. Playing as a Covenant and using his sword was my absolute favorite thing to do and I always got a kick out of one-shotting anything in my path. Pity it never lasted very long, otherwise I would’ve tried to use it the entire game. I guess you can’t shoot down enemy aircraft with a sword. Maybe if I threw it?

That ending is infamous, I can’t remember if it pissed people off at the time but it didn’t bother me since it was obvious Halo 3 was coming and the final scene leading into the end credits still gives me chills.

“Master Chief? You mind telling me what you’re doing on that ship?”

“Sir. Finishing this fight.”

Cut to epic sounding, triumphant Halo score. I don’t care if it’s cheesy, it’s awesome and THEN it hits you with one of my favorite credits sequences ever. It’s nothing flashy, but the music is terrific. It’s just so clean and crisp and melancholic that it bumps Halo 2 up significantly on the 500. Naturally, the unforgettable Halo theme kicks in and THAT bumps it up a few more spots. THEN an electric guitar pipes up and I better stop describing music now otherwise I’ll never stop.

No marathon multiplayer sessions, no bonding over the campaign with friends. Just a solid time and worthy addition to one of the most important gaming franchises, even if its time in limelight has faded.

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