Halo 3 Deathmatches Draw Quarter-Million Online One Hour After Xbox Release: GamerStatus

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Every Tuesday, GamerStatus looks at the games SF Weekly plays. This week, the Mother of All 2007 Titles. Halo 3! -ed

By Oscar Pascual
Photo by Paul Quitoriano

I’ve been in some big-ass lines in my time. Jurassic Park the movie, Jurassic Park the Ride, Rio the Vegas buffet, and now Halo 3 the video game. Venturing out to the Stonestown Galleria in the Avenues last night, I embarked on a 3-hour odyssey of waiting for possibly the biggest entertainment release this year. Even Michael Bay doesn’t have shit on this game.

You would think that an event release of such epic proportions would yield an awesome wait in line, but 200+ dickheads and morons standing around playing PSP is quite the antithesis.

Nobody dressed up as Master Chief, no rowdy fights broke out, and not even a fog machine was present. I had to make this wait larger than life, so I did the best I could-- I listened to Jay-Z and Morrissey on my iPod. Halo 3 aside, this week belongs to them just as well, as the Moz is holding court at the Fillmore for four shows, and young Hov just announced the November 6 release of his new album, American Gangster. Personally, I think all three pack heat like the oven door, but that’s a different story.

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Thankfully a few hours of tedium weren’t unbearable and my early arrival was enough to get in and out in just half an hour. I then rushed back for glorious slayer matches, as our boy with the golden lens Paul Quitoriano flanked my side. After a phone call for some pizza, the bloodshed was ready to begin.

After a very pretty options screen, we jumped straight into an online lobby for a four-way slayer match. While the wait in line wasn’t epic, the numbers on Xbox Live were, as the game informed us that over 203,000 folks were online playing Halo 3. The menu even has a map of the globe that lights up in areas where the game is played. Apparently, there’s only one gamer in Africa playing Halo3, and s/he’s in ...

South Africa. Go figure.

The game ran smoothly and perfectly as I busted a few caps running around in some barren tundra that punishes anyone moving out of the map boundary with crazy laser cannons. Paul racked 25 kills for the win in efficient fashion. Watch out for him, he’s a marksman.

Soon after that, a few good friends from southern California entered the debacle, as we gave each other a few good laughs on the headset in between blasting on fools. God bless Xbox 360 for bridging together friends separated by several hundred miles, if only for a load of buckshot to the stomach and a gun-butt upside the back of the head. It’s times like this that make me feel all warm inside.

We then helped my so cal homie on his campaign mode, which accepts up to three of your friends to join the fight against the vile Covenant. We experienced some lag, which was annoying, although I’m not quick to pass the blame on the game itself. It could’ve been the connection. So far, that’s been my only gripe with the game, which isn’t even worth groaning about anyway.

Paul left soon after and I played a few deathmatches with the whole screen to myself. I thought the game rocked in split-screen, but I was blown away by how lovely this game looks when it takes the full screen. The environments are lush and clean, with pixilation arising only in far-off horizons. Cut scenes and cinemas are a different story, as the graphics don’t seem up to par with the amazing look of BioShock.

I soon found myself trying to keep awake at four in the morning as my so cal connection helped me out on my own campaign, but alas, the “itis” from the pizza settled in. Now it’s a breezy, sunny morning here in beautiful Ocean Beach, which is why I’m keeping the drapes down so there’s no glare on my television. If anybody wants to unload their magazine clips on my ass, the gamertag is “soundsop.”

Gotta go though, the crack pipe of Halo 3 beckons me.

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