Halo 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios. Released for the Xbox video game console on November 9, 2004, the game is the second video game title in the Halo franchise and the sequel to 2001's critically-acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved. The game features a new game engine, as well as using the Havok physics engine; added weapons and vehicles, and new multiplayer maps. The player alternatively assumes the roles of the human Master Chief and alien the Arbiter in a 26th century conflict between the human UNSC and genocidal Covenant. Players fight enemies on foot, or with a collection of alien and human vehicles.
Halo 2 was an incredible game for its era- the gameplay and concepts took what Halo CE had and took it one step further. My fondest memories of Halo 2 include spending many a Sunday afternoon at a Halo 2 system link (and later, LAN) parties with friends. Halo 2 is a fair game in terms of story (cliffhangers are a little disappointing), although introduction of the Arbiter was a pleasant surprise indeed. The multiplayer aspect, however, was revolutionary: the maps are detailed, and gameplay is balanced much more nicely. If one were to buy Halo 2 solely for multiplayer, it would be worth it.
Taking place shortly after the events of the novel Halo: First Strike, Halo 2 opens with the trial of an Elite commander aboard the Covenant's mobile city of High Charity. The Elite is stripped of his rank and branded a heretic for failing to stop the humans from destroying Halo. It is revealed that the Covenant's interest in Halo lies in the religious belief that the activation of the rings would bring about a "Great Journey", sweeping loyal Covenant to salvation. At the same time as the Elite Commander is tortured by Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, the Master Chief and Sergeant Avery Johnson are commended for their actions at Halo during a recognition ceremony aboard a coilgun platform orbiting Earth. Lord Hood awards the soldiers alongside Commander Miranda Keyes, who accepts a medal on behalf of her deceased father, Captain Jacob Keyes.
Shortly after the commencement of the ceremony, a Covenant fleet appears outside Earth's defensive perimeter. While the UNSC manages to repel most of the surprisingly small fleet, a single Covenant cruiser carrying an important member of the Covenant hierarchy, the High Prophet of Regret, flies through the orbital platforms to the city of New Mombasa, Kenya. The Master Chief clears the city of Covenant; with his fleet destroyed, Regret makes a hasty slipspace jump, and Keyes, Johnson, Cortana and the Master Chief follow aboard the ship In Amber Clad just as the slipspace rupture destroys much of the city. The crew exits slipspace to discover another Halo installation; realizing the danger the ring presents, the Master Chief is sent to kill Regret while Keyes and Johnson find Halo's key to activation, the Index.
Meanwhile, the disgraced Covenant commander is presented before the Prophet Hierarchs, who acknowledge that though the destruction of Halo was his fault, he is no heretic. The Prophets offer him the honored position of Arbiter so that he can continue to fight. On his first mission to kill a heretic, the Arbiter discovers 343 Guilty Spark, who the Covenant view as "oracles". Responding to Regret's distress call, High Charity and the Covenant fleet arrive at the new Halo, Installation 05, but not before Master Chief kills the Prophet. Bombarded from space, the Chief falls into a lake and is rescued by a mysterious tentacled creature.
The death of Regret sows seeds of discord among the races of the Covenant, as the Brutes are given the Elite's traditional job of protecting the Hierarchs. The Arbiter is sent to find Halo's Index and captures Johnson and Keyes before being confronted by Tartarus. The Brute reveals that the Prophets have ordered the annihilation of the Elites, and sends the Arbiter falling down a deep chasm. The Arbiter is saved by the tentacled creature and meets the Master Chief in the bowels of the installation. The creature, Gravemind, is the leader of the Flood on Installation 05. Gravemind reveals to the Arbiter that the Great Journey would destroy Flood, humans, and Covenant together. Gravemind sends the Arbiter and Master Chief to different places to stop Halo's activation. The Master Chief is teleported to High Charity, where a civil war has broken out among the Covenant; In Amber Clad crashes into the city, and Cortana realizes that Gravemind used them as a distraction to infest In Amber Clad and spread the Flood. As the parasite overruns the city, the Master Chief follows the Prophet of Truth aboard a Forerunner ship leaving the city; Cortana remains behind to destroy High Charity and Halo if Tartarus succeeds in activating the ring.
The Arbiter is sent to the surface of Halo, where he rallies his allies to assault the Brute's position. With the help of Johnson, he confronts Tartarus in Halo's control room. When the Arbiter tries to convince Tartarus that the Prophets have betrayed them both, Tartarus angrily activates the ring, and a battle ensues. The Arbiter and Johnson manage to kill Tartarus while Keyes removes the Index. Instead of shutting down the ring entirely, the unexpected shutdown of the ring triggers a system-wide failsafe, putting Installation 05 and all the other rings on standby for activation from a remote location, which Guilty Spark refers to as "the Ark". As Truth's ship arrives amidst a raging battle on Earth, Hood asks the Master Chief what he is doing aboard the ship. The Chief replies he is "finishing this fight". In a post-credits scene, Gravemind is seen arriving on High Charity, where Cortana agrees to answer the Flood intelligence's questions.
Given the nature of Halo 2, many guides illuminating the path to success in the campaign and/or multiplayer have been written over the years. Here are three notable guides from GameFAQs that should be of some assistant to players.
Halo 2, as the sucessor to Halo CE, has a few notable differences in gameplay. While these changes are noticable (and thus, change the strategies veteran Halo CE players are used to executing), they do not change the gameplay from the original Halo. Here are five changes I've noticed that have the biggest impact on gameplay.
"These forgotten structures were once the site of many bitter battles but have since been reclaimed by nature."
Beaver Creek is an outdoors map set in a tiny canyon featuring two symmetrical bases that are separated by a small creek, and is a direct remake of the map Battle Creek, from Halo: Combat Evolved
"Recent excavations have failed to shed light on the true purpose of the outposts in this bloody gulch."
Coagulation consists of a large valley with identical bunkers at both ends. It is ideal for Capture the Flag games due to its wide open spaces and having one base at either end of the map. This map is suited to between 6 and 16 players due to its size, and is a remake of the Halo: Combat Evolved multiplayer map Blood Gulch.
"Some believe this remote facility was once used to study the Flood. But few clues remain amidst the snow and ice."
Lockout is theoretically an old research laboratory designed by the Forerunners, and is heavily favored by MLG professionals and skilled snipers. It is usually played solely as a close quarters map because of the nature of the course and map default spawns.
"Don't let its luxury fool you - the Pious Inquisitor is one of the fastest ships in the Covenant fleet. "
Midship is a small Halo 2 multiplayer map, ideal for duels and small free-for-all games. It takes place on the Covenant warship, Pious Inquisitor. Although not exactly symmetrical, it is considered to be a symmetrical map, due to the fact that the asymmetrical sections are equal distances from each base.
"Once home to the famous socialite Lance O'Donnell, the top floor of this building is now a public park."
Here are some general tips to grant novice to intermediate players an edge in this game. You may know some or all the things in this article depending on your skill level. Even for expert players, these are the fundamentals that make for a good player.
The first and foremost tip that can makes kills easier is to aim for the head no matter what weapon you are using, except the shotgun. You will kill them a lot faster. Other than that, learn the maps and the weapon combos that work best in different situations.
Teamwork Strategy Guide
There's nothing like spending a Sunday afternoon at or hosting a LAN party, playing team games that require everyone's participation. Here's a simple guide for players who want to contribute more to a team during those games of CFT, KOTH or OddBall.
Multiplayer Teamwork Guide- Please be aware that you need Microsoft Office 97 or later to read this.
There are a few thing to keep in mind when playing any multiplayer game anywhere, whether it's a LAN Party with friends or an online game with people you don't know.
Here are some of the medals I've earned in multiplayer that are worthy of note. Most of these actually have an interesting story to them of some sort, and I've shared those here as I reminiscence about the good old days of Halo 2. I currently play as Infinite Zenith on Halo 2 for PC.