First Halo 2 auto-update now available

The automatic download shortens matchmaking wait times, fixes 480p support, and unlocks a multiplayer map.

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Today, Bungie announced the release of the first auto-update for its first-person shooter Halo 2. The update addresses many issues discussed in the first Bungie Weekly What's Update, assuring that the 2-million-plus owners of Halo 2 enjoy a smooth online playing experience. Some users experienced unusually long waits when joining an online game. Bungie states the delays were "caused by a combination of factors, including connection speed and other detailed nuances of matchmaking." The problem has been fixed in the update, normalizing wait times and getting gamers back into the frag-fests ASAP.

On the audiovisual tip, some Halo 2 players playing the game experienced parts of the heads-up display being cut off on HDTV and EDTV monitors in 480p resolutions. The auto-update also remedies that error.

In addition, the update also unlocks a multiplayer map, Foundation, that is inspired by Microsoft-owned mid-'90s first-person shooter Marathon, which was made, ironically, only for the Macintosh. Foundation is a smaller two-tiered enclosed map, and Bungie recommends a friendly game of four-team capture the flag on it, claiming that "[it's] a hoot!" Previously, unlocking the map required beating the game on any difficulty level and performing a "training event" on the final level.

The small update will automatically download, with the owner's permission, the next time Halo 2 logs on to Xbox Live. Halo 2 owners who aren't connected to Xbox Live can still download the update by using the free two-month Xbox Live trial card included in the game, or use a friend's Xbox Live account and download the update onto a memory card or directly to their Xbox. The update cannot be installed by disc, and for that reason "it is unlikely that we will ever make the update available on a disc," said Bungie.

Bungie is currently working on another auto-update that will add small changes to the matchmaking playlists. For more information on Halo 2, check out our previous coverage, including our full review of the game.

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