Halo 3 is coming, it will put the Xbox 360 hopelessly over the Playstation 3 in the US, it will take over Xbox Live, it will sell hundreds of thousands of consoles, and so forth.
I admit I’m waiting for it (http://220.127.116.11). But see, I got burned once already. I am a huge fan of the original game and when we saw the first teaser of Halo 2, well, there aren’t many things I’ve expected more. Mind you, that trailer is awesome.
But when it came time to release the thing, something just didn’t click. The buzz wasn’t there. I heard no stories of people grinding away on the Legendary difficulty. It scored high and sold insanely and took over Xbox Live. I didn’t buy it. I finally borrowed a copy, trying to get enthusiastic about it, but I just couldn’t. The feeling wasn’t there. I couldn’t bring myself to complete it. Too much was off: combat felt chaotic, graphics were uneven, there was the whole Arbiter thing in which you were taken out of the Master Chief’s boots and shoved into an alien Elite’s body, the pacing wasn’t there, the story never took off. And the music, dear god – what were they thinking after the original’s stellar soundtrack? It’s not a bad game by any means, but it’s no Halo either.
I’ve been trying to figure out whether it’s just me – whether I can’t get into sequels the way I did with the original releases – but many people out on the gaming forums are saying the same. After some Bungie designers admitted they weren’t happy with everything about the shipped Halo 2 in Edge, it felt like my feelings were affirmed. The lot of us are really hoping they’ve found the spirit they had with the first game. Make it cohesive, make it focused, ditch the goddamn Arbiter, focus on legendary battles and set-pieces we talk about for years on.
But Halo 3 is coming and I think I need to complete Halo 2 before that. Too bad I’m more interested in playing the original game all over again.