I can still remember the disappointment I felt the first time I heard that the pistol from Halo:CE would not be in Halo 2. Instead it would be replaced by a weaker, more “balanced” version; a mere shadow of its former self. As a strange sort of compensation for removing Halo’s weapon of choice Bungie announced Halo 2 would allow players to dual-wield weapons. Upon hearing this a few questions immediately jumped to the forefront of my consciousness’

1. Why would Bungie mess with a good thing?
2. Are they trying to cater to the hoards of noobs who constitute the majority of Halo players?

After a month of steady play and hundreds of games later I think I have finally come to realize the method to the madness, the real genius of Bungie. They weren’t trying to punish those of us who learned the ways of the pistol; they were trying to make the game more competitive for all. Even though most of the hard-core Halo players would hate to admit it, the new system in Halo 2 helps players of all skill levels enjoy their Xbox Live experience. That is the real draw of Halo – competition.

With the introduction of dual-wielding, players are blessed with countless new combinations of weapons that, with a little skill, can easily turn the tide of battle. A few new weapons, coupled with the re-tooling of some old favorites amounts to a completely new way of fighting. All of this change results in what Bungie likes to call “balance.” This balance forces players to constantly evaluate new strategies and to redefine their old ones in order to stay competitive. Players can now mix weapons of different ranges and abilities to combat all types of challenges. Those who refuse to evolve cannot be successful with Halo 2′s new system.

Along with the abundance of weapon combinations, teamwork has also benefited from the release of Halo 2. This is clearly reflected in the game types Bungie chose to include in both its team skirmish and clanmatch playlists. Objective-based game types have renewed importance on Xbox Live. The addition of voice chat enables and encourages teams to effectively communicate. Unlike the first Halo, verbal communication is vital to a team’s success since your teammates’ screens are no longer on the same television.

For those who still cling to Halo:CE and loudly express their disappointment with the “noobish” quality of Halo 2, I suggest you look at Halo 2 as a new game rather than merely Halo 1.5. Bungie did what it had to do to make the best game possible. Of course a few sacrifices had to be made so Halo 2 could be the most enjoyable experience possible for the widest range of gamers. This will undoubtedly upset some long-time fans, but it is important to look at the strength of this new game instead of whining about the weaknesses. Halo:CE was a great game, but so is Halo 2. So grab a tissue and dry your eyes – there is nothing to be sad about because Bungie has once again captured the attention of the nation. The developers succeeded in their tireless efforts to make a great game. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy.


You can contact BlanK at BlanK@mlgpro.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Major League Gaming or its affiliates.