I had the privilage to attend the Halo launch party this past Sat. I took my eight year old son with me. We had a ball, I just hope I can tell you everything I experienced in a short read.
It started outside the lobby waiting for the 7 o'clock hour. With only 30 people in front of us I was sure I would get in. We got in shortly after 7pm and was led to the Paris ballroom, where they had at least 20 machines bearing the the Big X on a box like creature. These creatures were different though, they were Debug kits and Developer boxes. They were translucent green and some were translucent clear while others translucent black. Wow these were some big Xboxes I thought.
O.k. now to the setup. You heard about the link up feature. Well I witnessed and played on two 4xXbox Link ups. Each with 4 people to a console. Thats 16 people playing capture the flag. I never saw my son so amped up to play a game. They had two of these 16 man setups. They also had on HD projection a set of 3 man link ups. They had a room dedicated to single play with at least 10 machines. Lastly they had another HD Project setup for single play 2 of them. It definitely was set to show off the grandure of Halo for the entire room to see.
Now the game play. I know Jeremy has shared with us the brilliant gameplay for Halo already, so I will mainly talk about the multiplayer function. Capture the flag was so much fun you hated for it to end. Imagine 16 people play as team and enemy. You should see how difficult it was to go all the way to the enemy base to steal the flag and make all the way back without out gett blown to peices or ran over by a warthog. It was intense chaotic, delightfully fast paced and just fun. The snipe mode is just the best. Knocking people off one by one from long range with pinpoint accuracy was just to much to handle. You never knew who had you within their scopes.
Bungie interuppted the party to give a welcoming presentation, they created an animation for the ocassion given by The Seargent in Halo. He gave us the best prep-speech to cast us off to the world of Halo. At the end all we could say is Sir..Yes Sir! Bungie kept the talking at minimum and let Halo do most of the hosting. My son and I stayed until 11pm I had to drag him away. Unfortunately We did not win the Xbox or a copy of the 6 Halo titles they raffled off. But it was worth staying to play this great game. I am new to being a FPS fan but if this is what future FPS will be like, I am hooked.
I asked a Bungie rep about the features one specifically asked here at the forum. There is no actual running in Halo only strafing. But after playing all the modes I did not have much of a need to run, I was able to duck and cover with out heavy damage, and I also could keep up with my soldiers and teammates. Not being able to run is in no way a bad thing in this game. With 16 players going at it for the flag and frags, I noticed no frame drop whatsoever. Bungie has done a top-notch job in sound, play, and needless to say superb graphics. I can't wait til the 15th Halo is my reality at least for the weekend.