Halo 2, the long-awaited sequel to one of the most widely praised, most influential first-person shooters ever created, has a very tough act to follow. Fortunately, it's built on a foundation that's as strong as they come. The game's success was preordained--publisher Microsoft tallied more than 1.5 million Halo 2 preorders in the weeks leading up to the game's release, which demonstrates just how confident Halo's fans are in the sequel's quality. But how is it, really? The good news is, the sequel to the Xbox's defining action game is an absolutely superb, fully featured game, boasting an excellent presentation, a highly replayable campaign, and the greatest, most complete online multiplayer component in a console shooter yet. A surprisingly disappointing story and a fairly short single-player portion are noticeable shortcomings, but there's just so much breadth of content in Halo 2, and the action itself is so outstanding, that there can be no denying its quality. Overall, it's one of the very best action games available.