I just pre-ordered the Halo 2 Expansion Pack that will be released on June 29th. The expansion pack includes a total of nine new multiplayer maps, a 1.1 version patch of the game, a documentary that describes the process of developing the new maps, and a new cinematic sequence that ties into the story of Halo 2.

The patch fixes a lot of the glitches of the game that have lead to cheating. Such as stealing flags through walls and other cheats that are unique to online play. The patch also increases the strength of alternative attacks to offset dual wielding weapons. Melee attacks have received a substantial damage bonus, for instance. Grenades will do more damage, and their timers have been shortened as well, making them much deadlier than they were previously. The brute shot has gotten the best improvement, since it has a strong melee attack (with the blade) and it also shoots grenades. Look for this to become a favorite weapon going forward.

In an effort to further balance online play, certain dual wield combinations were tweaked. For instance, many players have used the dual-magnum combo to score easy headshots, so it’ll now be more difficult to do so while using two pistols. The popular submachine gun-plasma combo has had its damage reduced as well, since it has proven so deadly. Overall, Bungie says its goal was to make Halo 2 play more like the original Halo.

The first four of the nine maps and the patch are currently available on Xbox Live. The remaining five maps will also be available later on XBox Live for those that don’t want to pick up the retail disc. Those that don’t use Xbox Live and use XBConnect instead will have to wait for the retail disc to be released in late June. It’s going to be one helluva Fourth of July weekend!

Read more about the expansion pack on Gamespot.

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