Halo 2 had a gritty feeling to it. The armor looked metallic and dirty and torn up. In H2A (especially the multiplayer), they made everything too clean and vibrant. The armor looks plastic, like it did in Halo 3 and 4, and the colors are all overly bright and juicy. Say what you want about that art style, but what it isn’t is Halo 2. The dirty, war-torn grit in everything is what to me made Halo 2 unique among the games, and I feel like that was completely overlooked.
Not to mention I feel like they completely took a 180 on some of the artistic changes in campaign levels that destroyed any sort of mood the original had going for it. For instance:
And some reference screenshots for the character models and armor:
I mean, they definitely did do a good job with the multiplayer maps. They look incredible in their own right. But some of them just don’t capture the essence that their Halo 2 versions did, like the Ascension remake (although it’s cool how the clouds cleared up and showed you what was beneath), and the Zanzibar remake looking more like Last Resort than Zanzibar.
Some of their choices for weapon skins also puzzle me, like how there are 2 distinctly different versions of some weapons in H2A campaign and multiplayer (the SMG and Magnum come to mind), and how most of the weapons were simply updated models of the Halo 2 versions (BR, shotgun, magnum) but the sniper rifle is a straight rip out of Halo: Reach when it looks nothing like the Halo 2 sniper rifle.
And probably the biggest thing that annoys me is how H2A campaign levels are nothing but retextures, rather than having new geometrical skins like Halo CE Anniversary, and the lighting looks like crap in some places. Maybe if they didn’t make the Halo 2 Classic toggle have 1080p and upgraded lighting, it would free up some space for the remaster to actually, you know, look good. Because the upgraded Halo 2 Classic honestly looks better in some spots. It would also show you how far the game has actually come if you had to toggle between the original 480i 30 FPS version and Anniversary