Way Back When
Developer Bungie helped sell Xbox units with their breakout hit Halo, all but certainly saving Microsoft’s fledgling console from becoming quickly forgotten. So it’s no surprise that their follow-up would need to further secure Xbox as a place for compelling first-person shooter campaigns and the ultimate multiplayer experience. Taking advantage of what they learned with the first game while making solid use of a budding Xbox Live service, Bungie provided gamers everywhere with the highly-anticipated Halo 2 and achieved success unlike anything they’d ever expected.
Halo 2 expanded upon the original in nearly every way – bigger battles, dual-wielding, and improved graphics helped make it a fan-favorite right out of the gate. It also introduced the Arbiter, a Covenant Elite as a secondary playable character throughout the campaign, which allowed for more nuanced storytelling and a deeper understanding of Master Chief’s opposition. Unfortunately, some time constraints got in the way of Bungie’s vision, forcing them to end the game with a cliffhanger that has become known among the industry as one of the most frustrating of all time. Nevertheless, Halo 2 was best known for something else: many console gamers’ first introduction to online competitive multiplayer functionality. Due to its novelty (and quality), it rapidly become and stayed the most-played game on Microsoft’s first iteration of Xbox Live.
Halo 2 wasn’t just your standard critical and commercial success, though – it took things even further by being the best-selling game ever released on the original Xbox. It managed to hit over 8.5 million copies sold, with its runner-up being the first Halo at its own impressive 5 million. In the years that followed, the Halo series has seen dozens of other canonical entries via multiple media sources, including a variety of mainline and spin-off games. For some gamers with an original Xbox back in 2004, however, the memories of Halo 2 will always be special in a way no other entry could ever replace.
Where You Can Play It Now
Thanks to Halo: The Master Chief Collection, every mainline Halo game prior to Halo 5 is at your fingertips. To sweeten the deal even further, they’ve been updated with better visuals, audio, and cutscenes, so they’re undeniably the definitive versions. If you want to check out Halo 2, this compilation is your best bet.
Here are the modern platforms on which you can access Halo 2:
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series S
- Xbox Series X
Once you’ve wrapped up the second entry in the Halo franchise, you’ll be able to use Halo: The Master Chief Collection to play through any of the other campaigns except Halo 5 and Halo Infinite. To see how much things evolved in a single generation, check out Halo 3, as it was the series’ first outing on the Xbox 360.