Dear. Mr. Jones,
I am writing this email under the assumption that your "review" of Halo 2 was a badly-implemented joke. If it was, congratulations on fooling me and countless other people into thinking you were actually serious. If it wasn't a joke, please carefully read and consider the points I make in this email.
I am an extremely avid video gamer. I own a PS2, an AlienWare Doom 3 edition PC, a Gamecube, a GBA and two XBOXes. I have been playing games for as long as I can remember and I have always valued public reviews of games for two reasons; one, so that I can get an idea of what's good and what isn't, and two, so that I have an idea of what others think of games that I like or dislike.
Your review of Halo 2, and I am hesitant to call it a review, upset me and many others for several reasons. I'm fine with the fact that you don't like the game; in fact, I was very interested to read your review and discover why you disliked it so much. However, after reading it, it is clear as day to me that you have in fact never played the game, and this review is based entirely on the three screenshots you somehow obtained and included with your piece. I guess I'll start at the beginning.
"While the Xbox was less powerful and less popular than the PS2..." This statement at once caught my eye. Factually, the Xbox boasts about 1.5 times the graphics processing power and about 3 times the RAM capacity of the PS2. These statistics come from the "tech specs" sections of Sony and Microsoft's corporate web pages, respectively. The difference can clearly be seen in a number of games that were ported to both systems. Games such as Tony Hawk's Underground 2 which featured 1024x768 resolution graphics running at an average of 58 frames per second on the Xbox, and a noticeably lower 800x600 resolution images capped (to reduce RAM issues) at 25 frames. I could name countless other titles with similar comparison, but if you're a reasonable person, you get the point. As an owner of both systems I can tell you first hand that PS2's raw graphics power doesn't approach that of the Xbox.
"Why does Master Chief work for the Coveners (sic) halfway through the game?" Had you actually played the game before you "reviewed" it, you would know that the Covenant (not Coveners, as you suspiciously spelled it several times) that Master Chief joins to aid halfway through the game are a rebel sect of Elites that are bent on preserving the Forerunner project. Captain Jacob Keyes was not killed in Halo 1 - that was his father.
"... the first thing you notice is just how easy the game is." I suppose it is rather easy, if you have it set on "easy" mode. Clearly you did, or you would have mentioned the unlockables that one receives upon beating the game on any harder difficulty setting.
"... I don't like the new vertical split screen though" At this point in your review, I became 100% certain that you have in fact never played it. Not only can you play co-op mode in horizontal split screens, vertical split screen mode is not an option in Halo 2. I am interested in knowing where you got this screenshot, because after emailing Bungie directly I was informed that vertical split screen was never even considered for inclusion in the game.
"How about the flashlight can only stay lit for 30 seconds?" This is incorrect, and again, you clearly have never played Halo 2. The flashlight will remain lit until the player emerges into a lighted area again, and while in the dark the light battery is unlimited.
"... what is basically a 500 mhz GeForce 1 computer." Wow. It's funny that you chalk yourself up to be someone who knows a thing or two about PC gaming and then you blatantly reveal to us that you have no idea what you're talking about. I would assume that the "computer" that you refer to would be the 256 MB GeForce 3 card that handles most of the processing in the Xbox system? That card, coupled with the 799 mHz CPU in the Xbox crushes the 300 mHz sony CPU working with a generic 32 MB card in the Playstation 2. Check the facts before you deny them - www.playstation.com and www.xbox.com.
About framerate. After emailing Bungie, Sony, and NVidia with several questions I received these answers in response. From NVidia, a third party graphics hardware company without bias towards either Xbox, Gamecube, or PS2 stated that Halo 2's average framerate is just shy of 72 frames per second. At it's point of maximum processing in a 16 player system link game with full vehicle sets the framerate dropped to an all-time low of 27 frames per second, well within reason and a difference that your human eyes cannot detect. Sony wrote back answering my questions about GTA 3 - San Andreas (a game that you recommend in the stead of Halo 2). GTA's framerate is capped at 25 to avoid RAM lockup, and Sony told me that "...it will be rare that I should see a framerate drop below 8 per second." I guess it's good that its rare, because to me, 8 frames per second seems less than acceptable. If you're going to compare two games, make sure you don't ignore these kind of inconsistencies.
"All the multiplayer maps have been recycled from Halo 1..." Halo 2 includes 12 maps, plus one unlockable upon completion of the game on "Heroic" difficulty. One of the maps has been taken from the first game and updated drastically, that map being Coagulation. The other 12 are completely original. Play the game before you review it.
"Xbox Live costs around $9.95 a month." I guess you got scammed, because the rest of the general public, including myself and my friends, all pay $50.00 per year for Xbox Live. Thats a little less than $4.16 per month - you were off by about $70 dollars per year. In addition, if you're going to rag on Halo 2's multiplayer for "crashing" (which I have yet to see after playing probably somewhere near 100 matches online) and then recommend GTA - San Andreas, why not mention San Andreas' complete lack of multiplayer functions at all?
I own a newest-generation Xbox and have yet to experience one single problem with loading maps. About your last paragraph - if Halo 2 seems to you to be a release of the same game "over and over again," what do you have to say about GTA - San Andreas? I guess a feature that allows the player to get fat from eating fast food is enough to keep PS2 players busy for another 3 years. Because other than that, I'm afraid there is very little to be seen in GTA that can't be found in Halo 2.
I am glad that you write reviews for games so that we can all read your opinions on new games - However, I must ask that in the future you play a game prior to writing a slashing review of it. What you have done here simply demonstrates your ignorance and idiocy. If you have any questions about any facts I've mentioned here please feel free to email me back and I'll be glad to link you to them.