Friday, October 19, 2012

Achievement Unlocked: Halo 2

Halo 2 game tile

I've had all of the Halo achievements from the Xbox 360 for over a year now, when the Halo Wars DLC finally went on sale and I decided to buy them up and start boosting for all of the outstanding achievements. But for being such a Halo fanboy, I felt like there was something missing. I never bothered to pick up Halo 2 for the PC. Well, for a while, I didn't have a PC capable of running it. It required Windows Vista (hacks to get it running on Windows XP aside), and then it just didn't seem like a priority. Who would be around to play it with, anyway, since three other Halo games had been out since then?

I finally decided to pick them up. Finding copies of Halo 2 on the cheap wasn't terribly hard (in fact, I also picked up the original Halo while I was at it, just to officially complete my collection).

The single player achievements weren't too terribly hard (all I'll say is: when you play on a PC, you have much more control over the system as a whole than you ever have on a console), and I was even able to pick up a few of the multiplayer achievements — Hired Gun, you could get by killing yourself (as long as you had the Legend achievement first); and Bonecracker, Assassin, and Flaming Ninja I managed to pick up by happening to find someone else online who just happened to have the Ninja achievement and who I happened to kill with a melee and an assassination before he gave up. The rest, however, were going to be more difficult.

So, with Halo 4 only 20 days away, I decided I would set up a couple boosting sessions on to boost the rest. I made sure I had a handle on hosting games in Halo 2, and I created two sessions for the next two days.

I got one taker for the first session (not too surprising given the short notice). We were actually able to get a lion's share of the multiplayer achievements done in short order — any that didn't require having more than two people on the field at a time. The second night was a full session, having the minimum 5 gamers to get the remaining achievements. (You only really need 5 for the "Killtacular" achievement; the "play all game types" one only needs 4 total.)

To make a long story very short, we were able to get these done pretty easily. It was almost nostalgic playing on the PC, which I hadn't really done in years. We used TeamSpeak to coordinate (because the built-in chat system is somewhat lacking in the quality department, and because TeamSpeak has a brilliant option to overlay who's talking in a very clear manner), but we also had text chat available for those whose computers just weren't cooperating. (I only knew it was there when I was sending a standard Xbox Live text message to one player, and I saw his response typed up in the game window.)

Rainman achievement picture

The longest part of the achievement hunting was playing on every single map and game type. There are 39 different game types (and a little more than half that number of maps). It counted if the host (me) ended the game immediately, so we spent the majority of our time watching the game loading screens. But, it definitely wasn't difficult, and now I have every possible Halo achievement scored.

For the next 18 days, anyway.…

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