The classic pair
|Dual-wielding is obviously the biggest addition to the Halo gameplay formula in Halo 2: with it, you can mix and match up to five weapons (the SMG, Magnum, Plasma Rifle, Plasma Pistol, or Needler) in either hand, taking advantage of their peculiar strengths and weaknesses to overpower opponents. Dual-wielding isn't always preferable to a good, old single weapon, and certain dual-wielding combinations were reportedly weakened in the game's 1.1 patch, but in smaller maps where you fight at short ranges, a pair of weapons can be indispensable for sending your foes into the great beyond. The primary drawback of dual-wielding is that you can't use grenades, and you can't use melee attacks (doing so will drop your left-hand weapon), but that's a subject unto itself. || |
Choosing a good pair of weapons can be difficult, but the general favorite is the Plasma Rifle (PR) and the SMG--the combination is easy to acquire and powerful, although it was weakened a bit in the 1.1 patch. On most maps, you'll spawn with one or the other of these in hand, meaning that, over time, the ground will be strewn by them as you, your teammates, and your opponents die. So it's not too difficult to find a Plasma Rifle to match up with your SMG or vice versa. Using them requires a bit of coordination, as it's actually best not to fire them simultaneously; instead, you'll want to open with your Plasma Rifle and land five or six blasts with it, or shoot until you spot your target's shields go down, then start in with your SMG. That's because the Plasma Rifle is best at dropping shields and does less damage to an unshielded foe, while the SMG is ineffective against shields, but is quite handy against video-game flesh. If you happen to fire away with both weapons at the same time, you're likely to wind up with an overheated Plasma Rifle, an empty SMG, and one seriously ticked-off enemy. Other combos
Of course, every combination of one-handed weapons has its proponents in the Halo 2 community, so I'm not going to say that PR/SMG is the best combination in all situations. Many players prefer to have the Plasma Pistol in place of the Plasma Rifle; if you charge a Plasma Pistol all the way up and unload it on a target, your target's shields will usually drop instantly, allowing you to finish him or her off with the SMG relatively quickly. This has the benefit of giving your opponents less time to react to your fire before their shields are down, but obviously requires a bit more precision in your opening Plasma Pistol shot, even with its semihoming nature. If you miss, you'll find yourself in poor position to retaliate. Alternately, many players enjoy using the Magnum instead of the SMG. The drawback of the Magnum is that it's a bit tougher to find and to get ammo for, it holds fewer shots, and it takes longer to reload than the SMG. However, a single head shot to an unshielded enemy will drop him like a sack of potatoes. It's worth noting that the Magnum was indeed nerfed
in the 1.1 patch, reducing its overall damage and lowering its accuracy while dual-wielding. This was done to emphasize that it's a specialist weapon, intended for players who can accurately land head shots. Aim for the head
Now that we're on the subject, it's worth mentioning that practicing the black art of landing head shots is probably the best way to improve your skills at Halo 2. Learning the maps and where vehicles and weapons spawn is always a help, but consistently landing head shots is what turns a good player into a great one. Head shots deal significantly more damage than do body shots, especially after you've dropped a player's shields, so if you practice your ability to ignore the auto-aim mechanic of the game and aim straight at an opponent's head, you should find yourself getting more kills more quickly while playing.