CES 07: Halo 2 Multiplayer Hands-On

Halo 2 arrives on the PC this year, and we had a chance to try out some of the multiplayer gameplay.

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LAS VEGAS--Halo 2 may seem old news to Xbox fans, but the blockbuster first-person shooter will finally arrive on the PC this year, and Microsoft is letting teams battle one another in some Halo 2 multiplayer action at the Consumer Electronics Show. The game is currently running on eight PCs, and attendees can engage in some virtual combat using either the mouse and keyboard or an Xbox 360 controller.

The level that we played was the sanctuary level, which many Halo 2 fans are familiar with on the Xbox. Sanctuary features the remains of an ancient temple and an outdoor environment with waterfalls. The game mode was slayer, or basically deathmatch, and the goal is to rack us as many kills as possible before time runs out.

In terms of geometry, the Windows version of the level looked identical to the Xbox version, but there are a number of graphical improvements in the PC version. For one, the game can run at a much higher resolution than it can on the Xbox. This coupled with the higher-resolution textures make for a cleaner and crisper look to the entire game. Character models also looked a lot better because you can discern a lot more detail on the standard Master Chief character model.

The control scheme has been adapted to the standard keyboard-and-mouse setup used by most PC shooters. Character movement is controlled by the W, A, S, and D keys, while the mouse is used to look around and attack. The left mouse button fires the weapon in hand while the right mouse button is used to toss grenades. In the case that you are dual-wielding a gun in each hand, the left mouse button fires the left weapon and the right mouse button fires the right. The F key can be used to melee attack an opponent.

While some PC fans may scoff at getting a port of a console game more than two years after it was originally released for the Xbox, the fact remains that the PC version of the original Halo sold very well. Fans of the Halo series will be happy to know that the PC version of Halo 2 is shaping up well, and it's scheduled to ship this year.

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