Halo 2...the big one. Everybody knows about and almost every person with an xbox plays it. I'm here to give a detailed multiplayer review with some common and not so common tips.
Ok, first off, the multiplayer in general. Halo 2 is different from most fast-paced shooters. What sets it apart from the rest is it's relatively fast-paced gameplay coupled with plenty of tactics. Most will look at Halo 2 and say that it is a pure twitch skill game with no tactics at all. This is totally wrong. Let's begin with multiplayer essentials. One, in almost every game type, each player has a shield which can be damaged and recharged. There is no health bar . If your shield is fully drained, then you better get some cover so it can recharge. You can only take a few hits with a drained shield. The shield is the first tactical point of the game. In Halo 2, you must always manage your shield if you want to stay alive. This is something that most people don't think about; people who have played for a while instinctively find cover to replenish their shield when it is drained. Two, you can only carry two weapons at a time. This is one of the main points that makes Halo 2 tactical. If everyone could carry every weapon in the game at any time, then yes, Halo 2 would just be another Quake-esqe game. You must always ajust your weapon loadout to your situation. For example, if you are defending in a game of Capture the Flag, you would probably want a long range weapon like a sniper rifle and a close-quarters weapon like a shotgun. Three, your movement speed in Halo 2 is comparitively slow to other shooters. This forces you to use tactics, because you can't bunny hop around at 50 mph. Of course maneuvering is an essential skill required to win fire fights, smart tactics are also required. Four, almost every map in Halo 2 is designed with tactics in mind. Most locations on every map can be accessed by more than one route. So, for instance, if you are assaulting a base and there are two entrances (which there usually are) you would want to coordinate your team to have two people take both entrances. This makes defending a difficult task, especially if only one person is taking that role.
These are just four of many more tactical points of the game. People reading this review will think I'm making Halo 2 out to be Rainbow Six. I'm not. I'm just expressing that Halo 2 is a thinking man's game while also being a twitch game. To summarize what you need to be a good player:
You want to have good aiming and maneuvering skills, just like every other fps.
You want to know the maps very well, another standard fps tip.
You want to use tactics like the one I explained above along with more advanced tactics that you will probably learn from experience or from various Halo 2 websites.
The next part of the review deals with Xbox live play. Xbox Live is probably one of the best online solutions I have ever used and I've been a PC gamer for years and still play PC games regularly. Halo 2 really raises the bar when it comes to Live integration and simplicity. It introduced matchmaking which, most of the time, is a great thing. To sum it up, Matchmaking is simply choosing a playlist, such as Team Slayer, pressing Start Game, and then waiting for no more than two minutes for a game to be setup and started. That's it. Halo 2 also has clan support which makes creating and joining clans (I am currently looking for a serious Halo 2 clan to join) easy. I know that Halo 2 is plagued with cheaters and what not and I know that sucks. However, Bungie is working on it and if you enter a cheater-free game, which you usually do, then the experience is great. Halo 2's Live interface obviously includes a simple friends list that every Live enabled game does. One last point about Halo 2 and Xbox Live is that it is one of the most company and community supported games ever. Bungie is always working on Halo 2 to improve it, adding maps, adding playlists (I'm really excited about the Team Hardcore Playlist) etc. One last point about multiplayer, is that there is also splitscreen and coop which are awesome. You can also play splitscreen on Live which is great as well.
That about sums up Halo 2 multiplayer. I originally intended this to be just a review but as I was writing I found that I kind of turned into a guide. This is my first venture into writing something for the xbox world and Halo 2 and I hope to become more involved in both. My GT is aft3rmathMdL so send me a friend request if you want to play some custums or matchmaking with me.