A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is not for kids. It's a moderately challenging first-person shooter game with lots of blood, gore, and scariness. You will use guns, swords, grenades, and other weapons to inflict death. Some torture is shown and you can also hijack cars. Online play will likely expose players to foul language.
What's it about?
Picking up shortly after the events in Halo, HALO 2 finds the Master Chief attending a medal ceremony onboard a spaceship hovering above Earth. The evil Covenant begins an attack on the ship and planet, which calls Master Chief back into action down on the surface to dispose of crafty aliens. Notable new features in Halo 2 include online play for up to 16 gamers via Xbox Live (service sold separately); a split-screen mode for up to four players on the same television; a system link mode for those who want to connect multiple Xbox units in the same room; and, of course, an updated arsenal of weapons with which to dispatch the enemy.
Is it any good?
The original Halo was one of those rare games that excelled in every department, from the gameplay and story to the graphics and orchestrated music soundtrack. And now its sequel takes things further. The game's sci-fi story and impressive cut-scene sequences are some of the best in a video game to date. Stunningly surreal landscapes, an outstanding soundtrack, multiple game types, and the ease with which gamers can launch a multiplayer match all contribute to the thrilling experience.
Halo 2 proves you can improve on excellence. It's an outstanding solo adventure and multiplayer game that gets almost everything right.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why this game has become one of the most popular action game franchises of this generation. Is the sci-fi story better than other games? Does the level of violence make a game like this more immersive than its competitors? Is blood necessary in a 3-D shooter or is falling down enough to confirm the enemy is dead? Does the swearing that you might hear while playing online detract from the multiplayer experience or add to it?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.