D0824 T1442 Y2009The Helljumper Express

“The ODST in the black truck fled across the desert, and the Gunslingers followed…”

Ever since the Gamerscore Blog announced that Halo 3: ODST would be making a whistle-stop tour across the nation, the TTL Gunslingers have been anxiously awaiting its passage through their respective towns. The lure is unmistakable… A chance to experience the legendary Bungie marketing machine first-hand. A chance to wield a silenced SMG one month early. A chance to get prepared to drop.

One such Gunslinger is a gamer ‘tagged TTL Dren. Once upon a time, this striker scored himself 43 medals with a single blast from the Spartan Laser. On Sunday, August 23rd, he intercepted two and a half tons of hype as it rolled through Hillsboro, Oregon like a freight train bound for the howling darkness. Having sampled that which awaits all of us on September 22nd, he has shared his field report from the scene:

TTL Dren said: The truck has room for 16 people, 8 playing the game while another 8 sit at the ready, watching and waiting for their turn. When I arrived a little before noon, there was a line of maybe 40 people. Before the gaming started, one of the PR guys gave us a briefing about the rules and what to expect. He even had to stress the fact that it was a team game. I am sure there were some in the crowd that were new to that idea.

They were handing out nice cards with an ODST group shot on one side, and a controller configuration on the other. The only thing that really stood out was that the X button is used to turn on your VISR. The Y button controls a flying cam that is used when you’re dead. I never remembered to try this, as I wanted to play more.

[click above for Hi-Res of the mostly-familiar control scheme]

It wasn’t until 4:00 that I got to drop, in the night level ‘Crater’. I have to say this was a great level. It’s a courtyard with enemies just pouring over the high ground. At times there will be doors that open on the sides and you can get a good grenade in the pack. Other times you will have drop ships land and deposit baddies.

The weapons are much the same as what you find in Halo 3. Being able to zoom in with a silenced SMG is cool and it felt like the AR at times. The pistol is back, but I am not sure it’s quite the same as Halo CE. It has no problem dropping grunts and jackals with a head shot, though. Unfortunately, I never got my hands on other power weapons. I did snag the fuel rod gun for a bit, until it ran out of ammo. Extra ammo didn’t seem that hard to find, as the enemy drops weapons all over the place. There is no dual wielding.

This was all pre-demo stuff, so things will change. In our setup, they gave us 10 minutes with unlimited lives. In the final game you will have to depend on those lives, and you can earn more as you go through the firefight. There are life packs in the levels as you don’t have a shield like the Master Chief.

There are a bunch of new medals to be won as well. The assist medal is a star with a yin~yang symbol in it. There are hammer medals, and it tracks what your biggest kill was. If you take out a Chieftain, it will show that in your carnage report. You could also customize your character, although there wasn’t much time to play around with that. At times you would see someone running around without a helmet.

After playing for even a short time, I have to say this is a great game. It requires a whole new strategy and you really have to be a team. You have to be cautious about what weapons you use and how you use them. Since your not a spartan, you have to remember that your grenades can’t be thrown across the map anymore. It has a different feel, yet still feels like Halo.

I cant wait to play this game again.

Thanks to the folks at Bungie, Microsoft, and GameStop.

Thank you for sharing, Dren. Good game. Who will be the next Gunslinger to intercept the Helljumper Express?

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 12

  1. #LINK D0825 T1145
    Stasis wrote...

    An assist medal! Tiz and I have been talking about the Assistalicious (10+ assists) since H2.

    It sounds like Dren had a great experience with the game. I’m interested to see how different the gameplay is and which aspects they decided to keep true to the previous games.

  2. #LINK D0825 T1247
    Fezzer wrote...

    Hopefully this Gunslinger will intercept in Texas.

  3. #LINK D0825 T1357
    TTL FaithKeeper wrote...

    Thanks for the sneaky peaky, Dren! I really wasn’t all that pumped for ODST, but I have to admit it’s starting to sound pretty awesome.

    I like it that they’ve mixed it up so it’s not just a H3 expansion pack, but a fresh game with it’s own feel to it.

    Like Stacey, I’m curious to see what’s the same and what’s changed.

  4. #LINK D0825 T1826
    blob wrote...

    Dren, I was actually at the same exact spot you were, i played Crater night at about 4:00. Did I by chance play with you?

  5. #LINK D0825 T2105
    TTL Dren wrote...

    AT: D0824 T1826

    Its a good chance you did, I was wearing a UNSC hat with a Halo3 Beta Tester shirt.


    The game does feel a little different, like running speed seemed slower. But nothing that made you stop and have to figure things out. You feel at home with the game, it just has new carpets.


  6. #LINK D0826 T1809
    blob wrote...

    Well I didn’t look to closely at the clothes, but I was in a group of 2 and joined a group of 2. But gameplay wise, the game felt a tad bit like Call of Duty, which isn’t a bad thing.

  7. #LINK D0826 T2000
    HugeDiCaprioFan wrote...

    Nice pics and good tips! You said that you got there around noon, there were 40 people already in line, and you didn’t get to play until 4:00. A few questions:

    *If there were 10 min time limits then why was there a 4 hr delay until you played? What was the holdup?

    *Was there anything going on for those 4 hrs besides just standing in line? Contests, refreshments, etc.?

    *Did you get any good swag?

    *Have any other advice for planning a visit to one of these stops?

    My main concern is that I’m planning on hitting up the stop in Chicago on 9/11 and need to know what I’m getting involved in. I want to check the game out early but I really don’t feel up to standing in a line for 4 hrs to play a game I’ll own 11 days later.

    Please and thank you!

  8. #LINK D0826 T2114
    TTL Quantifier wrote...

    The next Gunslinger should have been me, today, but having just got back from a couple days off – it wasn’t meant to be. Thanks for the pre-release insight Dren and kudos!

  9. #LINK D0827 T0057
    TTL Dren wrote...

    At HugeDiCaprioFan

    There were some glitches they had. I did get to play a bit earlier, for about 3 min. They systems were shutting down on them. They did get it fixed and people were playing again. So it wasn’t till 4 that I got a full 10 min game in. I would think the large cities might draw more people in. So if you can get there early. Take some friends so you can make food runs if need be. Or bring some snacks for the line. Just dont eat anything greasy.

  10. #LINK D0827 T0804
    Stasis wrote...

    I’m curious if this is a test for them to see how much they want to blend the Halo and CoD styles of gameplay for the Reach project.

    Multiple Spartan characters and a new array of weapon sets could make for a whole new multiplayer experience that could be a blast.

  11. #LINK D0827 T1655
    ChubbyHands wrote...

    That deuce and a half is awesome, cant wait for the drop of this game. Nice work Dren

  12. #LINK D0828 T1300
    atxnarf wrote...

    It will be at my mall next Friday and I can hardly wait!!

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