Last week I read a post on Halo.Bungie.Org that Bungie was going to roll out a special preview for ODST, making select stops around the country. Since Portland is next door to Seattle, they came to see us on Day 2.
So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, with plenty of other options for the day, Aaron and I elected to stand in a mostly empty parking lot in Hillsboro, with a bunch of other sweaty nerds, hoping to play then newest version of Halo 3.
There was a giant black truck filled with 8 Xboxs, and matching Televisions. A mobile Lan Party. The Microsoft P.R. guys were there, in their Bungie shirts. Doing trivia. Handing out "Prizes", which were these silly license plate covers that had the word "Warthog" on them. The P.R. guy also took great pride to let us know that the truck was wrapped in real Kevlar. It all seemed a little bit too Nascar for my tastes, but then again, I'm about 10 years older than their prime demographic.
The game itself was very fun. And as much as the P.R. guy was trying to convince us otherwise, the few minutes we played of the game felt a lot like Gears Of War Horde Mode. It was fun to see covenant dropships again, I feel like they haven't been used widely since Halo 1. The computer sent waves of Jackals, Drones, Grunts and Brutes. One time, it even dropped a Wraith near us, and we had to disable it by hand. I attached a clip of Firefight mode below to give you an idea of how the game looks and feels.
The biggest drawback to the event was that ODST was still in beta, and it crashed a lot. This is kind of surprising for a game that is 1 month away from being on store shelves. Aaron and I got to play for about 4 minutes before it crashed. They had promised us 10, so they let us restart the session, and it played for about 3 more minutes before it crashed again. This scenario happened to pretty much everybody who got to play, which explained the abysmally slow line progress. Given Bungie's track record, these bugs should be squashed by the time the game is released.
There was one question that Aaron had though... where's the Battle Rifle?