I have never played Halo 2 until tonight. Never. Not once, for any reason. In the eight plus years it has been out, I have never touched it in my life. And I call myself a gamer... pshhh!
Like I wrote about last night, I loved the first game immensely. But when the second game out, I unfortunately was on a video game hiatus. It was a weird and challenging time for me in my personal life, for one. Then, on top of that, I had literally burnt myself out on Elder Scrolls Morrowind, which was the downfall of me as a gamer and the reason I turned in my gamer card for a few years. I missed out on many, many games in the time that passed while I took my hiatus, and several of them I have still yet to play. Those couple of years are a total blackout of gaming history in my memory, which is sad to me when I think about it.
Halo 2 fell into the black hole of oblivion for me, and it is one game I never revisited, ever. Oddly enough, I do own the game (I got it used a few years back), but have never had a reason or the desire to go back and play it. I realize it revolutionized online multiplayer for console gaming, and it was one the grandest games to ever be released for the original Xbox. I get it. I understand it. I just didn't care to go back and experience something "revolutionary" so late after it revolutionized gaming.
Well, until tonight.
So my son and I started the co-op campaign. First question out of his mouth? "Can we spring in this game?"
"Nope!", I said, kind of unsure if that was the right answer or not. "But I know we can dual-wield weapons now!" He was very unimpressed, I must say. If he couldn't sprint, he wasn't going to be happy.
We played through several levels anyway, enjoying what the game was throwing down. One complaint I do have, and not just with this game but the franchise as a whole, is that there is usually little indication of where you need to go to advance through the level. Sure, you have a map, but that only shows your partners or the enemies. It doesn't point you in the right direction. And in Halo 2, in some of those levels, you can run (but not sprint!) in circles forever before you find a side hallway or path to take you to the next section. Also, there is a LOT of standing around waiting for drop ships to deploy enemies for you to tackle, or waiting for backup to arrive, and while you're standing there doing nothing, you start to wonder if you should be going somewhere else other than where you are. I understand the concept, I just don't like it.
After making some decent progress in the campaign, there was a disc read error, and we had to restart the game. When going back and trying to get back into it, I discovered something shocking. There was a save file with every chapter unlocked already, meaning someone had already gone through and beat the game. Turns out, my sons had at some point in the past, and Caleb decided not to mention this to me when we started the game the first time. Granted, he probably forgot he had played it, since he is seven and all, but still! So anyway, we played the last level, saw the cliffhanger ending and the awesome Chief line, "finishing this fight, sir."
I can't say I was overwhelmed by it all, but a lot has to do with it being a classic Xbox game, and after playing the original one remade in HD last night, the graphics were quite different in comparison. I also can't argue with why so many people loved this game and what it did for online gaming and the push of enhanced graphics towards the end of that generation of consoles. But after seeing what games look like today, and with no emotional connection or history with this game, I just don't feel like I missed anything by not playing it all these years.
Don't worry, I'm sure many, many people feel completely differently. But remember, I am trying to figure out where this franchise stands with me now, as a gamer, after all these years. I anticipated a roller coaster, but didn't expect the first drop to happen so quickly.
Do you have a Halo 2 story or memory? I would love to hear it! Contact me and let me know your personal experiences, since apparently I am dead on the inside when it comes to this game.