Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"You're going to do what?!"

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard about the big release of the next best thing since sliced bread at midnight last night. The advertising is all over the place, even on the conservative radio station I listen to for traffic updates as I travel from one end of town to the other.

To be honest, I'm not really a big Halo fan. I'm too old to keep up with all the younguns in multiplayer. I really like a good tactical action game vs. the run-n-gun style of Halo. However, one of my good gaming friends is slightly obsessed with the game, follows all the story lines, and is basically brainwashing....err....indoctrinating me into the whole coolness of it. Because of him, I ended up at a game store at midnight last night. My wife knew the game was coming but when I told her I was going to the midnight release event, she gave me that "who are you? and I can't admit I know you." look.

My game store did a really cool setup where if you showed up after 6:00, you could get a ticket number for a place in line and then just come back at midnight. I stopped by and picked up my number on the way to TKD practice and ended up with number 50. When I showed up at the store at 11:45, there were between 150 and 200 people in the parking lot. I wasn't the oldest one there by far but the majority of the people were younger than me. I didn't see very many kids though. It was a little freaky being at the store and hearing a crowd countdown starting a full 2 minutes before midnight.

While waiting through the evening, I would call my friend and see what he was up to. The store he went to (same chain) didn't do the number thing but I think he ended up better off. I think he was there about 10:30. The store is in a strip mall with a wings place. They had a hot-wings eating contest and he ended up winning it. His prize is one of those master chief in-store displays. He gets to pick it up in a couple weeks. He's really looking forward to surprising his son with it by plopping it in his room one night. I think if I did that, my kids would wake up screaming and be scarred for life.

My friend was 30th in line. We both made it back to our respective houses at about the same time. We put in the disk, fired it up and I immediately invited him to coop mode on the campaign. We were both up until 3:00 am. I made the mistake (more like just being hasty) and didn't change the default difficulty. We were breezing through the game pretty quickly. It's no secret that you will be seeing the flood in the game and that is the point we got to before I called it a night. He ended up staying up later. We're both jonesing for coffee today. We're going to get online again tonight and replay it from the beginning with a harder difficulty. We've also roped a couple of friends in to join us. 4 player coop is going to be a blast.

A couple notes to the casual gamer who might actually read this before they play:

1. When playing coop, definitely up the difficulty level.
2. The person who hosts coop is Master Chief. I expected to be able to choose who I was but the game auto-selects.
3. Look at the game controls again. Recently playing Bioshock...I try to jump with the Y button and end up swapping my weapons instead. Why can't companies be somewhat consistent with little things like this?
4. Read up on the new items that you can use with the X button. I found myself "deploying" things just to see what they did.

As far as early impressions, it's Halo....just graphically prettier and a little different. I had a blast playing coop. The story seems a little weaker through this one so far but I'll withhold judgment on that part until I'm done. It does expect you to have a good idea of what's going on already.

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