You’ll have to forgive me but I can honestly say Halo didn’t do it for me. The Xbox was interesting, but before people across the world discovered Xbox Live it didn’t really draw attention from Sony’s consoles. No, Halo looked very nice and had a great story but I wanted more, the thrill of looking a real opponent in the eye, of judging my skill on a world stage, and of connecting to friends across the globe.
Ironically, when Halo 2 was released on my birthday I did not really give it much of a look. As I said, the original nevber really clicked with me, so I could not see the sequel doing it either. And Top Spin was keeping me busy when-ever the kids slept!
Thankfully, some spare birthday money and a slow games month led to a compulsive Halo 2 purchase along with some beers and ice cream. I took it home and popped it in, expecting to be back on TopSpin with an hour. Surfice to say, Topspin didn’t get played that night and not for quite a while after.
So what was it about Halo 2 that took me away from tennis court heaven. As I have already alluded, it was the online play. From the off you could tell it was a product of breeding, which led to a rapidly growing Halo 2 community that I had never see before on such a global scale.
The robustness of lag free online play, seamless matches and ingenious ranking systems soon meant I was playing every night with my family and friends. And every so often we would clan-up and gird ourselves against screaming american teenagers, and win (sometimes).
Then there was the gameplay itself. Balanced weapons, amazingly designed maps and perfectly crafted game types. Graphically it stood head and shoulders above anything else out there, and its sound effects and voice-work were tight and crisp. I still get a shiver when I hear those monks singing the Halo 2 welcome. Everything went together just right.
Now we wait for Halo 3. No longer happy to limp on with poor 360 emulation support of Halo 2. So we are being fed by the bright light of the next-gen games, we flutter from game to game with one question only; will this game fill the void that Halo left empty. The only answer can be to hold up and wait for 2007…lets go for a wii.