Frankie and I are over in Barcelona for Microsoft's X06 event but we still managed to throw together a little Humpday Day challenge... with a twist. Some things may change, but some things will always remain the same.
As everyone knows by now, the X06 event is underway in full force and last night the Halo community was blasted with a double-header of new announcements including the new Ensemble RTS "Halo Wars" and our new partnership with Peter Jackson and Wingnut Interactive for future Halo experiences. It's been a whirlwind of excitement to be sure, but amidst the press and frenzy Frankie and I found a little time yesterday to throw together an impromptu Humpday Challenge of a slightly different variety.
On the outskirts of Barcelona in a very odd building known as "Hesperia Tower", the Microsoft PR team has transformed a generic conference room into what can best be described as a mini E3 event. There are literally dozens of playable games on the floor and yesterday we had the opportunity to play around a bit before the event officially got underway.
So, naturally, we decided to take our mad skillz we've acquired through thousands of hours of Halo pwnage and apply them to other games.
Game One : The Shadowrun Challenge
First up, Frank and I ended up in a challenge match against some of the guys from Fasa studios in their upcoming title, Shadowrun. I know many people have a love hate relationship with this new iteration of a classic franchise but I can tell you that the game we played offered a ton of promise and looks to raise the bar in quite a few areas of gameplay and strategy. A few of us were playing on Xbox 360s and the rest were playing on PCs - a nifty new feature afforded by the advent of "Live Anywhere."
Much to my surprise, we completely destroyed the Fasa team at their own game, our first time ever playing. It was astonishing really.
Ok, so that's not at all what happened. We were demolished. And, we were pwned hardstyle by BOTS. Yes, bots. Vicious, mean bots that showed no mercy despite us never having touched the game before. We only had a short time to play but for fans of heavy strategy games along the vein of Counterstrike who are looking for something new and fresh, this could very well be the game you are waiting for.
Final Score: Bots Win. We Lose.
Tone: Overwhelmingly EmbarassingGame Two: Gears of War
Later in the evening, we came back to the same venue to show our new partner-in-crime Peter Jackson a few of the new Xbox titles at the show. While they mingled and explored a variety of titles, Frankie and I decided to step into a grudge match of a new kind - a one on one Gears of War showdown.
We jumped into a game and spent the better part of 10 minutes just drooling over the environments and graphics. Words really can't do this game justice - it really looks better running on an HD monitor than it does in screenshots. As Frank oggled the pretty water and realistic gritty textures I managed to find a variety of sniper rifle and promptly delivered a killing headshot. Score one for the Locusts (the 'bad guy' species in GoW).
When round two began, I decided to head for the same rifle but this time, O'Connor was on to me. I took cover behind a wall (an integral part of the GoW experience) and tried to fire off a round to no avail. The downside to this rifle is that it's slow to reload and while that was happening, Frankie flanked me and gave me an up close and personal introduction to his chainsaw bayonet. Score one for the good guys.
Round three began and we engaged in a close quarters firefight, both of us using two burned out automobiles for cover. After trading a few dozen rounds Frankie managed to drop me with a well placed pistol round. We reset positions and entered into the battlefield again, this time things went my way and I managed to flush him out of cover with a well placed grenade to finish the job with my assault rifle. The score is 2-2, next kill wins it all.
When the final round began, we had a better sense of the map and it unfolded in a slower, more deliberate manner. We used cover wisely, sprinting through open spots and throwing ourselves against pillars and rocks to avoid incoming fire. I had Frankie in my sights and laid down supressing fire while I tried to move in closer for the kill. As I took cover on the opposite side of the wall he was hiding behind, Frankie jumped around and greeted me with a shotgun to the face. Game Over.
Final Score: Frankie 3, Sketch 2
Tone: Tense, and crazy pretty
So, there you have it - another loss for Team Bungie (shock) and even more surprising, an actual WIN for Frankie (if only it were Halo).
Today I'll be out on the show floor happily pwning press on Halo 2 for Windows Vista, trying to regain some composure.
Cheers from Barcelona!