I'm gonna preface this entry with this: I am not a big Halo fan. I loved the first at the time when I played it on PC in 2003, but Halo 2's plot and constant switching between Arbiter and Master Chief was confusing more than entertaining, and Halo 3 underwhelmed me. H3 was a fun co-op experience, at least.
But when I heard from Major Nelson
that there was some fancy Halo 3: ODST promotional truck heading down to Portland, I thought, "Hell yeah, why not?" Except it was at Tanasbourne Town Center, about several miles away from Beaverton and Hillsboro. Not anywhere near Portland, at least what I know of Portland.
A crude Google Maps image of my house (right star) and the Tanasbourne Town Center (left star).
Regardless, I put on some clothes, grabbed my bus tickets and started heading my way up there. Sadly, I knew little of the place, but it wasn't hard to find a bus and get a ride up there. Around 3:00, I finally spotted it:
My apologies for the terrible quality, I have a regular cell phone that takes pictures, not an iPhone or any other silly gadget. Also, I didn't bring my regular camera as it's old and busted.
The picture doesn't completely show it, but there was a line of about 30-40 people waiting to play Firefight mode. I decided to hop in line and after two hours of line-waiting and people asking silly Halo-related questions (including some easter egg in Halo 3 of somebody in their boxers running around? Somebody wanna fill me in on that?), I finally got to sit inside and wait in queue for the previous set of four to finish up their session before I could play it myself.
For those who have been living under a rock, Firefight is a new MP mode in Halo 3: ODST where four ODST soldiers fight off waves and waves of Covenant soldiers. It's similar to Horde Mode in Gears of War 2, Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty: World at War, and... well, Survival Mode in Left 4 Dead. There are mild differences: Each kill gets a score, skulls from regular Halo 3 will occasionally be activated before each wave, and players have a pool of lives to go through (default 7). For the demo, however, they gave us infinite lives but a 10 minute time limit. A closer look at the truck. Supposedly it's from Korea, was made with loads of kevlar, and that Halo 3 ODST sign kept falling down thanks to the wind. Eventually it got disassembled.
Me and my group, consisting of two kids, a teenage dude and myself; got through all ten minutes just fine. I died about 3-4 times due to my Halo inexperience. I think I got about 4,000 or so points, with the highest around 11,000. One bearded dude who looked like a more ginger-ly Rocco Botte said that apparently there was one guy who got over 30,000 in his 10:00 session, with an additional 10,000 between his co-op partners. The group before us got about 15 minutes between two sessions as their 360s crapped out in the middle of both sessions, getting me the chance to see what a development unit looks like. Also, I think this might've been confirmed elsewhere, but: the brute plasma rifle from Halo 2 is back, but the energy sword is not. At least in campaign and firefight, it will likely still be in your MP so you can still do sword matches on whatever map of your choice.
Afterwards, I left the area and decided to kick around in other places, and the line slowly dissipated, but by 6PM I was in a hurry to get home, and didn't get back in line. Although some said they've tried it at least once or twice before.
Despite my indifference to Halo, I found it to be an interesting game mode, but I don't think it's worth the $60 price tag. That $60 will go towards Uncharted 2, COD: Modern Warfare 2, or Left 4 Dead 2 instead. (That's a lot of 2s, I just noticed) Maybe I'll get it later down the line as a gift or something. But it was a fun game mode, and a slight twist on the popular co-op survival game modes that have been flooding the games market these days.
And before I finish this off, they did give away some license plate borders with "My other car is a Warthog" on it. ("Why 'Warthog'? It doesn't really look like a pig... I think it looks more like a puma") Some dude got two, a big Halo fangirl wearing a "I <3 Master Chief" shirt with the Septagon tattooed on her arm got one, and there was clearly some extras left, but I didn't get one. So thus I took this picture:
I got to play Halo 3: ODST a month in advance and all I got was this lousy promotional card. (Anybody wanna slap in the Destructoid font here and make it a fancy image?)
(On an unrelated note: I played Rock Band 2 on drums for the first time in a Best Buy kiosk nearby the place. I need more practice.)