Universal acclaim - based on 91 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 91
  2. Negative: 0 out of 91
  1. Microsoft and Bungie have created a gigantic bell that sounds like thunder and reverberates with a fury worthy of a gale-force hurricane. It's not perfect, but get in front of it, and wonderful things - wonderful destructive things - are bound to happen. [Dec 2004, p.72]
  2. The digital surround sound is phenomenal (and the voice-acting peerless), and players with a good A/V system will enjoy hearing enemies approach from all sides due to the sharp positional sound.
  3. 100
    One of Halo 2 Online's best features - if not the best - is the statistics tracking system. [Online review]
  4. 100
    Halo 2 online is not total perfection, but it's miles better than anything out there right now, by a long long way... It's a genuine milestone in online console gaming. [Multiplayer Review]
  5. Halo 2's Campaign mode is a luminous experience and testament of Bungie's rare talent for mixing gorgeous cinematics with captivating and fun gameplay segments, but it also serves as the concrete foundation for the game's multiplayer, making simple deathmatches, team skirmishes and CTF games that much more engaging.
  6. The new "Dual Wielding" option allows you to pick up two guns at once and use them together, which provides a feeling that again, other shooters just don't come anywhere near.
  7. 100
    Quite simply an indescribably phenomenal gaming experience that redefines both the first person shooter genre and next generation gaming.
  8. This game goes where no Xbox Live enabled game has gone before.
  9. The graphics are hotter than ever, and the bump-mapping technology, which gives even simple textures an illusion of depth and reality, looks even better than you could've imagined.
  10. 100
    The combination of a great campaign mode along with a goldmine of multiplayer options makes for an unbeatable gaming experience.
  11. Simply put, Halo 2 is by far the greatest first-person shooter the console world has seen to date...Nothing I say can prepare you for this game. [Dec 2004, p.180]
  12. From the huge gameplay twist early on, to taking down a giant walking tank, to way late in the game when you team up with certain...teammates, all the way to an end that'll leave you with the same breathless feeling you had when you first watched "The Empire Strikes Back"...moments like these turn a fun game into a monumental experience.
  13. 100
    The campaign mode introduces a ton of new elements, not only to the game itself, but also to the Halo universe as a whole. As for the multiplayer, you won't find a better Xbox Live experience anywhere, and you can be sure that Halo 2 will be topping the Live charts for years to come.
  14. 100
    Unlike October's blockbuster "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," Halo's masses of content have been tossed in a strainer and all serve to make the main game better, rather than simply providing more for the player to do.
  15. The Multiplayer is so incredibly fun that when you have a large group of people over playing you lose track of time and can (from personal experience) spend over 17 hours straight playing Multiplayer without realizing it.
  16. 100
    But where the sequel will really fondle your boys is in the multiplayer modes. New level designs let you funnel the action into wide-open areas or allow you to stalk the terrain's nooks and crannies looking for the perfect sniping spot.
  17. The sound in Halo 2 is the best I have ever heard in any game... Each weapon has such a distinctive sound now that you know what is going on in the next room before you even get there, from the rattle of a SMG to the haunting whistling of a Hunter's beam.
  18. From the deep stat tracking to the games ability to match you up with people your own ability,the clan and party support, and huge number of game modes, Halo 2's multiplayer is definitely a revolution for console multiplayer games.
  19. Oh, but the best weapon of all, my friends, is the new Energy Sword, a shimmering, supersized beauty. The sword crackles and sizzles, almost like the darned thing is angry.
  20. 100
    The multiplayer promises to elevate Halo 2 online gameplay to "Counter-Strike" status with the added attraction of Xbox Live full voice support.
  21. Halo 2 completely lives up to the hype. An improvement in every way over the original, particularly in terms of playability and graphics.
  22. I can say with complete honesty that no other first-person shooter can touch Bungie's epic in terms of level design, gunplay, sheer action or multiplayer entertainment.
  23. A near-flawless fusion of solid gameplay and excellent presentation, filled with little details that make it a kill-the-light-and-unplug-the-phone experience.
  24. 100
    The best console multiplayer component ever. This game is going to douse Xbox Live in gasoline and toss it a match...With 16 players busting each other's chops at a time and all the clan support you can handle, this game will still be played five years from now.
  25. 100
    Living up to its unbelievable hype, Bungie's masterpiece features an engaging story, a satisfying single-player campaign, some of the most impressive graphics ever seen in a console title, and new gameplay features like dual-wielding, vehicle boarding, new weapons, and advanced AI.
  26. This is a quality sci-fi blockbuster brought alive with sleek visuals, superb voice characterisations, explosive sound effects and a robustly stirring music score.
  27. The epic scale astounds, with dazzling scenery including space stations, war-torn cities, temples, snowy wastelands and ruins. The audio is equally extravagant.
  28. Everything's designed with a master's eye for first-person intensity, extensively crafted and technicaly superb. [Dec 2004,p.75]
  29. The visuals are amazing and the audio production is stunning. One word for the multiplayer game modes…perfection.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1033 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 469
  1. May 27, 2012
    Probably my favorite war shooter multiplayer game. Had so much fun with this one. One of the best multiplayers ever.
  2. Jul 10, 2011
    This is where the multiplayer started getting hype. Thanks to Bungie doing an almost perfect game, no other game have made an addictiveThis is where the multiplayer started getting hype. Thanks to Bungie doing an almost perfect game, no other game have made an addictive multiplayer game. Halo 2 kicked ass back then, and it still does. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2014
    better tahn teh butt seckz. halo 2 was perfect, is perfect, and halo 2 anniversary will save the franchise. 343 made a terrible game calledbetter tahn teh butt seckz. halo 2 was perfect, is perfect, and halo 2 anniversary will save the franchise. 343 made a terrible game called halo 4 and killed our franchise. let's get it back by pressuring microsoft to release a halo 2 remake. halo 2 is better than halo 5 because we know 343 can't do anything right. Full Review »