By Paul Hunter
Last month the NextGen Player team had the rare opportunity to attend an Xbox Canada Halo Wars launch & LAN party. The event took place on the evening of March 2, a cool four hours before the public retail launch of Halo Wars. Accompanying me on the outing was none other than Andrew Green, NGP's Senior Writer and my fellow UNSC cannon-fodder.
The night began a little sedated, but quickly unravelled itself. Xbox Canada, in their usual lavish manner, provided us with cheese-dripping Pizza Pizza and some hearty Canadian beer. Perfect appetizers before devouring many hours of Halo Wars madness.
The event was littered with media types from all walks of life, all gaming away on LAN connected Xbox 360s for some 3v3 and 2v2 Halo Wars action. Before jumping into a PVP match, Andrew and I decided it would be best to warm up with a Skirmish match against the AI. That way we could acclimatize ourselves to the level environment and reacquaint ourselves with the basic controls of the game.
First off, the game was simple to control, but maddening to master. As I mentioned in my in-depth preview of Halo Wars, it can be quite a chore to configure your army with precision. So, I stuck with the select all units tactic for simplicity. We had our confidence boosted after the crushing defeat of our AI opponents.
Next up was the true challenge - a 3v3 against two members of the General Games team, Justin Amirkhani and Raj Patel. Both teams had a third mysterious player that entered the fray. I say mysterious only because I never bothered to learn their names.
The match was full of MAC Blasts, Cleansing Beams and squawking Covenant Grunts fleeing from the terror. Ultimately we succumbed to the power of the dark side (aka our opponents) and humbly accepted defeat. Justin came in 1st place, Andrew Green 2nd and me in 3rd. While we didn't win, we did place in the upper-half of the standings and almost being a winner is what counts. Well, almost.
If you want to have a gander at some of the photos I took that night, feel free to click on the image below to visit our Flickr set: