Multiplayer is where Halo
really shines. The first thing veteran Halo
players will notice is that the co-op mode from the Xbox did not survive the port to the PC version. This is probably the most disappointing thing about the game (besides the save point issue) but never fear Gearbox tossed in a bunch of goodies to help ease the pain. The most significant is that Gearbox made it stupid easy to play over the Internet. You just click multiplayer, join Internet game, and then grab a list of servers. Find one with a low ping and you’re off and fragging. I played a few games and even with high pings (over 100) I didn’t experience any real lag.
Hosting games is also as easy and anyone with a decent broadband connection should be able to host a nice sized game. I was able to host an eight-player game without anyone experiencing much lag in the game. Like joining a game, hosting is simple. You pick the map, game type, number of players, and then start the server. Dead simple. The only thing I couldn’t find was an option to setup a dedicated server. Hopefully this is something that Gearbox will release shortly.
To make the new Internet play more interesting, Gearbox tossed in a few new multiplayer maps, a new multiplayer weapon, and two new vehicles. The new multiplayer maps are a lot of fun and do a good job of taking advantage of the new vehicles. Like the classic Xbox maps, the new maps are nicely balanced and don’t seem to provide either side with a clear advantage.
The new vehicles are a little hit and miss. The new warthog is your standard Warthog except with a rocket launcher instead of the chain gun. It’s effective against infantry and vehicles but it is not nearly as fun as the other new vehicle, the Banshee. The Banshee is now available in multiplayer and it adds an entirely new aspect to the game. Now you have to watch the skies around your base along with the ground. The Banshee isn’t going to win any speed awards (it would be too powerful if it were any faster) but it is an effective way to get from point A to B as well as providing support for teammates. Halo
’s multiplayer takes some getting used to. The action feels a little slower than some of the other PC FPS games but the action is still intense. The Banshee’s add a new layer to the game and force you to really work in teams as the Banshee’s can pick off single soldiers with ease. I had a ton of fun with the multiplayer side of Halo
and I think it has the potential to quickly become an online favorite.
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