Think we’re done with bitching? We’ve got more: there’s the overall level design and visual drabness. This is an old first-generation Xbox game. It looked unexceptional back then, but these days no amount of upped resolutions and anti-aliasing is going to save it from a case of the grey-walled uglies. Crap textures, made worse by lack of artistry and lack of computational palette, make Halo 2 hypnotically uninteresting.
The original Halo at least had some challenging level design (the Silent Cartographer, anyone?) that had been given life by intriguing alien architecture.
Halo 2 manages a couple of exquisitely drawn science fiction landscape skyboxes and an alphabet of lumpy, crappy grey blocks. Lifeless level design and concrete-boredom pervades. It’s just exhausting.
Further down the list of Halo 2 bashing: it only works on Windows Vista. Laughable, really, only it’s no joke. If it had been a pure DirectX 10 thoroughbred, dripping with freshly processed pixels, then maybe the Vista-only tag might have made sense somehow. As it is, this is a weird, ugly botch that we can’t imagine anyone upgrading to Vista for. Bring on Crysis, please, oh please. Please.