Master Chief shines in his best game to date

Purists' favorite 'Halo 2' sees 10-year birthday

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Special to / The Advocate

By Jared Amdahl, Opinion Editor

Anyone who has played video games for more than 10 years should be able to recall in great detail playing “Halo 2” on the original Xbox video game console.

My own personal memories remain quite vivid and significant to this day.

I stayed up all night just to get in one more match of “Team Slayer” before the sun would rise, while drinking endless amounts of soda to help battle the fatigue.

Saving the world all night is a strenuous process, regardless if you are doing it from the sanctity of your couch, but I digress.

No matter what the specifics may be, anyone who played “Halo 2” took part in an experience that would eventually birth one of the best-selling video game series of all time.

And the influence of the game can still be felt today.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of “Halo 2,” which is still considered by many “Halo purists” to be the best “Halo” game to have ever been released in the franchise.

By 2007, just three years after the game had been released, there had been more than 500 million matches of “Halo 2” multiplayer played, totaling an estimated 710 million hours spent in matchmaking.

That is about 80,000 years worth of accumulative gameplay.

It was apparent that a giant group of people, namely nerds, were putting aside the needs of the body, like sleep and proper diet, in the pursuit of an experience that would ultimately nurture the soul.

When “Halo 2” was launched, it was the first time on video game consoles that the addictive gameplay “Halo” would be enjoyed by an audience over the Internet.

People could sit in the comfort of their own homes, while simultaneously nerding out over everything “Halo 2” had to offer.

In addition to groundbreaking graphics, for the time anyway, and wonderful gameplay, “Halo 2” offered deep storytelling that captivated most and enraged others.

It was easy to tell that “Halo 2” was the most epic game around at the time within the first 15 minutes of playing it.

One of the best scenes in the game starts with the line, “Just one question: What if you miss?” from a side character in the game named Cortana. The game’s protagonist, the Master Chief, replies with a cool and collected, “I won’t,” right before flying through space and blowing up an enemy flagship — with their own bomb.

Who does that? Well, “Halo 2” showed gamers that the Master Chief is who does that.

It was when the story brought a character named The Arbitor — an alien that has been disgraced by the Covenant, the enemies you normally fight against — that lost some people.

While playing as an “enemy” character turned some people off, a lot of those people fail to realize what the new perspective did for the “Halo” universe and story.

By putting players in the shoes of the Arbitor, Bungie, the development team that created “Halo,” explained an entire side of the “Halo” universe that otherwise would have been left untouched.

Everything about “Halo 2” was an advancement on the game that came out before it, “Halo: Combat Evolved.”

And that is exactly what is needed in a sequel.

Games like “Halo 2” not only need to be remembered, but must be used as an example for what games can and should do to the community that plays them.

Older games can still be enjoyed, and this is something Microsoft, the current owners of the “Halo” franchise, realize. Just in time to celebrate the decade-long milestone, Microsoft released “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” last month, which is the first four “Halo” games packaged into one title for fans to enjoy on the new Xbox One video game console.

It is funny because the more anticipated portions of the game are the maps, game types and story from “Halo 2.”

My friend made a fitting joke the other day. After I told him that the “Master Chief Collection” was coming out and explained in detail what it is, he looked at me with a smile on his face and said, “Great, everyone is just going to start playing Halo 2 again.”

And he is right. Who could blame them?