posted 11/15/2004 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: Xbox
One of the big new features in the game is the ability for Master Chief to go John Woo and wield two weapons at once. You can only do it with certain weapons but it’s a lot of fun and you can tell that Bungie put a lot of thought into how to make it work without making it too powerful. While wielding two weapons (dual plasma rifles is a personal favorite with plasma rifle/SMG combo right behind it) you can’t throw grenades or execute melee attacks. Firing each weapon is done by clicking the thumb trigger on the side of the weapon you want to fire. While you can simply hold down both triggers while aiming, craftier players will alternate between weapons in order to keep a field of fire on your enemy. This allows you to have one weapon going while the other is reloading (although how Master Chief can reload a pistol with one hand is beyond me). Dual plasmas are fun since you if you time it right you can have one overheat and reset while the other one is still firing. I’m sure as the game is out there many a strategy guide will be written, detailing the intricacies of dual wielding.

Speaking of weapons, Bungie has overhauled most of the weapons in the game and you can tell a lot of thought went into each and every one of them. The generic battle rifle from the first game is gone and has been replaced with the SMG and the Battle Rifle. The SMG is a fast shooting, dual wield capable, machine gun that that is a lot like the machine gun from the first game. The Battle Rifle though is a near perfect weapon and is by far the best weapon in the game. The rifle can be zoomed and fires a three round burst. This makes it perfect for damaging enemies at a distance and at close range (you can take out Grunts in one burst which makes it fun when you face a group of the little bastards). I almost wish there had been a toggle to go to a single shot mode but the gun really works as is.

The sniper rifle and rocket launcher from the first game made the move to the sequel without any changes while the shotgun and pistol have been tuned down a bit. The Covenant get a plethora of new weapons, the Covenant Carbine is a single shot version of the Battle Rifle, and the new Beam rifle is the equivalent of the human sniper rifle.

The Covenant do get two new unique weapons, the Brute Shot and the Energy Sword. The Brute Shot is a grenade launcher that allows you two fire shots around corners and over obstacles. The real fun though is in the new Energy Sword which allows you to slice and dice your opponents. When you get within a certain range of your enemies the crosshairs turn read and you can perform a charge/lunge move that will kill most enemies in one shot. There’s a nice visceral feel to slashing your way through a couple of elites or one of your co-editors on the site. Bungie has done an amazing job of balancing the weapons in the game and giving gamers the tools to kill things in new and innovative ways.

Speaking of killing things, the great vehicle play from the first game is back and Bungie has tweaked the vehicles a bit for the sequel. The humans get a new version of the Warthog, instead of a machine gun (or rocket launcher from the PC version) gamers will get to try out a recoilless rifle (good against vehicles, not so much against clusters of troops). The Covenant though gets a pair of new vehicles. The first is the Spectre which is basically a Covenant warthog. It seats two passengers up front with a cannon on turret in the back. The second is the Shadow a troop carrier which makes a limited appearance early on in the game (and is not available in multiplayer). The rest of the vehicles (Ghost, Wraith, Banshee, and the Scorpion tank) are all bank providing you with more fun ways to deal death to your enemies.

Bungie has made the vehicles a little more interesting by allowing you to hijack occupied vehicles. It is tricky to do and you have to time it just right but once you get the hang of it, it makes multiplayer a lot more entertaining (there really didn’t seem to be many opportunities to do it in the single player portion of the game).
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