The Ins and Outs of Dual Wielding
One of the biggest gameplay differences between Halo and Halo 2 is dual-wielding. Here's a brief look at how it works, its pros and cons and the subtleties you might not even have considered.
Dual Wielding Basics
Dual Wielding sounds simple enough. Why use one gun when you can use two? Master Chief has two hands, after all. And there' lots of guns just laying around! Well, it's not as simple as that, but we think we've got a pretty cool system in place, one that adds fun, depth and strategy to the single and multiplayer game types.
Dual Needlers work best at close to mid range, since the tracking grows less accurate with distance.
At its simplest level, Dual Wielding simply allows the player to press Y to pick up and use a second weapon. But naturally, things aren't always as simple as they seem. First up, this is the list of weapons you CAN dual wield – all of which are guns the Chief ordinarily uses in a one-handed grip (Covenant Energy Sword is the single exception to this rule):
Covenant Plasma Pistol
Covenant Plasma Rifle
Covenant Weapon (unrevealed)
Now, that's a relatively short list, but remember you can wield any combination of two, and in your left or right hand. Which adds up to a total of 36 possible variations of dual wielding. Left and right-handedness is more important than it sounds. We found for example that right-handed players prefer to use their right hand for their principle or favorite weapon, even when using two.
This means of course, that you CANNOT wield two Battle Rifles, two Sniper Rifles or two Rocket Launchers. That said, the double rate of fire on two allegedly weaker weapons can often match or exceed the power of a single rifle/launcher.
Controlling Dual Wielding is incredibly simple, but adjusting to its rhythm and nuance takes a little time. Eventually it becomes instinctual. In fact, Halo 2 aficionados claim that they get a little discombobulated when they go back to the original Halo.
Try mixing and matching lots of combos to see what works best for your play style.
When holding a Dual Wieldable gun, simply walk over a second gun and press Y to pick up and dual wield the second weapon. It will, by default appear in your left hand, but you can swap (while dual wielding) another weapon you find into your right hand by pressing X. If you happen to be standing over a dual wieldable weapon, but don't want dual wield that weapon, you can tap Y to drop the one in your left hand, or press the B button to melee punch AND drop the left-hand weapon at the same time. This combination of efficiency, speed and punchaliciousness makes using melee the preferred way to toss a second weapon. Tricky to explain, but easy to use.
You'll notice when holding two guns that the user interface changes slightly, displaying the left-hand weapon ammo or charge on the top left of the screen, and the right-hand weapon ammo or charge on the top right hand side. Couldn't be simpler. Pressing X while dual-wielding will reload both weapons, unless, for example, the other weapon is a plasma pistol and being overcharged at the time. This nuance proves incredibly useful, since it allows you to reload and prepare for your next target at the same time. Pressing reload will automatically reload only a weapon with a (partial or fully) depleted clip. A weapon with a full clip will, for obvious reasons, not reload.
Picking the correct combination of weapons is key, and to be honest there are very few bad combos. Some however, are more effective than others. And some have very unique properties. We want you to experiment, but here's a few pointers to get you started:
Plasma Pistol and Human Pistol: Use the plasma overcharge (hold then release the trigger) to deplete an opponent's shield, then squeeze off a single headshot to kill the shield-challenged enemy. Accurate shooting is required.
Twin Needlers: The needles will penetrate shields and flesh, and should seven or so enter an opponent's body, they will explode – and in MP games with standard rules, that will kill instantly. Press and hold both triggers simultaneously to do it.
Twin SMGs: Great against nearby opponents. Especially effective against drones in Campaign, since the "walk" (the constant lift caused by kinetic energy from the guns) can actually work to the player's advantage, when fighting Drones, for example. And two SMGs can be excellent for close-quarters assaults on multiplayer opponents.
SMG and Human Pistol: Surprisingly effective at close quarters and at distance. Use the pistol for long-range headshots, while constantly depleting their shields and health with a spray of SMG fire. Remember also that one pistol shot will detonate a fusion core.
Now, one of the techniques employed by players in the original Halo was switching. That is, using the properties of one gun, the plasma pistol for example, and then quickly switching to another to finish the job. That's still possible in Halo 2, and sometimes necessary. Try using the plasma pistol overcharge and then quickly switching to the battle rifle when human pistol is unavailable.
So there you have it, a quick guide with some easy answers, but the real fun will come when you start experimenting yourself. Try everything. You may even find a combo useful in circumstances we never imagined.
Oh and as for the unrevealed Covenant weapon, it's neat, but nothing to get your knickers in a twist over.