As most of you know Halo 2 comes with a dual wielding feature available in both single and multiplayer game play. At certain points in the game you can choose to dual wield the pistol, SMG, plasma pistol, plasma rifle and the needler. By finding the best combination of these you can be truly deadly. The drawbacks to this tactic are that your aim will be worse (due to the added kickback) and you can not throw grenades because your hands are full. But this begs the question; what happened to the grenade? Many of you Halo 1 players remember just how awesome it was running around sticking plasma grenades to people and dropping an HE grenade or 2 for a friend around the corner. So far during my play both on Xbox Live and during LAN games I have seen less and less use of grenades.
The reason for this seems to be that the map default starting weapon is almost always the SMG. The SMG is a weak weapon at best, with terrible accuracy and limited damage it can barely stand on its own as a tool of battle. However, because every player starts with this weapon they are often scattered everywhere in the level after the first few kills. This makes it very tempting to grab a second one and try double fisting. However, when playing on a smaller screen it can be very difficult to see anything around all this hardware. Also the kickback is atrocious and it takes a long time to reload both weapons. So now the question is why has this tactic become the norm in multiplayer?
The quick is answer is: the maps. While the SMG as a default weapon may be some of the problem it is certainly not all of it. The multiplayer map construction in Halo 2 is very different from that of Halo 1. Many of the maps have very tight quarters and limited sniper spots. Also the respawn time for the weapons is pretty high. This means that it takes a long time for weapons to come back after someone has picked them up, so often when a player respawns they are stuck with the SMG.
I think that at certain times the dual wielding tactic is the only way to do battle. However, make sure you do not over use it. Realize that you can not melee while dual wielding and you can not throw grenades. For a classic Halo player like me that takes a huge chunk out of my game plan. I actively seek out different weapons rather than dual wielding; my favorite right now is the battle rifle. However, if you must dual wield here are some good combinations.
Pistol and SMG – Use both at the same time, aim for the head if you get their shields down.
Plasma Pistol and SMG – Charge the Plasma Pistol. One hit will bring down their shields, then use the SMG, its deadly