Bungie's critically acclaimed sci-fi shooter makes its PC debut as part of Microsoft's Games for Windows label for Vista-powered machines. Players will suit up as the enigmatic Master Chief in an ongoing war against the alien armada known as the Covenant, who takes the bitter conflict to Earth in a campaign spanning 13 levels. The graphics have been optimized and revamped for PC, and all 21 multiplayer maps from the Xbox game and its expansion are included as well. Exclusive to the computer version is a map editor allowing players to create custom scenarios.
Both competitive and cooperative online action is supported via Microsoft's Games for Windows Live service under a two-tier system. The game ships with a free "silver" package that supports a single profile or Gamertag and a unified friends list shared between PC and Xbox 360 owners. The fee-based "gold" account allows players to host their own dedicated servers, send and receive invitations, earn multiplayer achievements, and use a matchmaking service that groups users with the same skill level. A free 30-day trial membership of Live Gold is included with each copy of Halo 2 on Vista.
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