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Fireteam Raven review

OP SHADOWSTRIKE1

Hey everyone,

So I headed out to Dave & Busters yesterday and got a chance to play Fireteam Raven. I thought I'd give my impression of the game as a whole.

GAMEPLAY
The base gameplay was as to be expected from an arcade shooter, with a fun Halo twist. Most enemies followed the base arcade shooter style movement where each "phase", which is basically each turn of the camera to a difference view, one enemy would come running in front of each player, act as a bit of a bullet sponge, and once you take out your "assigned" enemy, there were various other enemies in the background running around which allowed you to increase your kill count. The thing that I think the game did best was utilize a variety of weapons. Throughout each mission, you'll swap between 3-6 weapons, which helps keep the experience fresh for the mos part. However, this situation also feels a bit strange to Halo veterans, mostly because most of the weapons generally act the same, and many function completely different from how they do on console. Obviously this is so that the weapons function better in an arcade setting, but it was a bit strange shooting a plasma pistol rapidly to kill enemies rather than overcharge it, and having your shotgun with a 20-round clip shoot very long distance. You also get a single grenade occasionally, but unfortunately I found that it didn't do too much.

Over the course of the mission you'll encounter various "bosses" such as a hunter and a new flood form which act as a sort of bullet sponge. As you shoot them, they will wind up for a big punch, at which point a "critical" meter will appear. It is your job to shoot them during this period to lower the meter to avoid getting hit. This is a common arcade shooter utility that is used to lower the player's health, prompting for the user to pay for more playtime. It's to be expected in arcade atmospheres. You should just go in to each mission expecting to die at least once.

Overall, the gameplay was fun, and the enemy movement didn't feel too repetitive, and each mission made the gameplay feel unique each time. There were epic moments throughout the game, such as your Falcon crashing, or Phantoms blowing up and crashing right in front of you, or Warthogs tipping over that made you really feel like you were in the action. There was also some unique mechanics to keep the game competitive, as it would keep track of your number of kills, accuracy, and kill streak. At the end of each round, it would compare all the players and announce a "winner". Also, at the very end of the game, there is a Top 10 Leaderboard which was a fun touch.

STORY
The story is obviously a big reason why many players wanted to come and check out Fireteam Raven. I'll try to keep this initial paragraph as spoiler-free as I can, but expect the second one to include ending details.

So you play as Fireteam Raven, an ODST team on board the Pillar of Autumn. The game takes place during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved (though note that the game uses Halo 3 models). I'd say that if you're looking for an in-depth story, Fireteam Raven will not deliver. It's very much an "arcade game story". There isn't much banter between the ODSTs, so not much room for character development. During the short cutscenes between missions, mostly only the lead ODST talks. So if you're looking for great characters like from Halo 3: ODST, you're going to be let down. However, from an arcade experience, there's not much you can expect, especially when most people may only play a single mission. Most of the story is "we've got to give backup to these guys" or "we're here to defend this" and such, which I suppose is general ODST stuff.

Now we're going to get into the nitty-gritty of the story chunks that actually matter, so again, if you don't want any spoilers, jump ahead to the next section. The basic premise of the entire game is that your ODSTs are there to support the last Marines on Halo. Several missions coincide with events from Halo: CE, and you'll actually witness Master Chief show up a few times in a sort of "pause" section where you just see Chief kick some but for a few seconds. This was really neat. It gave a sense of what it would be like to have a Spartan fighting alongside you, just going ham on the Covenant. Unfortunately I don't remember any ODSTs being around in Halo: CE during those moments, as that would have been neat to have a sort of "from the other's perspective" situation. The entire game builds up to the final mission where you're sent on a "one-way mission" to defend the Chief as he heads to the Pillar of Autumn to detonate it. You have to fight off a bunch of Covenant trying to make their way there. It leads up to your team having to board a Scarab on it's way to the PoA, and having to blow it up before it gets there. Finally once you blow it up, you team falls to the ground. As your team struggles to their feat, Covenant swarm around you, and your ODST leader mutters "it's been an honor serving with you, Raven." Then you see Chief detonate the PoA, and blow up Halo. This last mission was the most important part of the entire experience, as this felt like the mission that had the most impact on the main game. Previously, we had no idea that a huge Covenant force was headed to the PoA to stop Chief. Now we know that a huge reason Chief was successful was due to the sacrifice of Fireteam Raven. Nice.

MACHINE
This section is in reference to the actual physical machine the game is played on. Visually, the thing looks fantastic. It is definitely a fantastic piece of hardware that Dave & Busters proudly displays at the front of their lobby. The dual screens look visually amazing, and the open atmosphere lets others watch in while your team plays. The seats were comfy, and positioned at a good distance from the screen. One of the coolest additions is the ability to scan your Waypoint profile's QR code to link your Gamertag and have your stats tracked. In front of each player is a small rectangle with an LED around it. All you have to do is load up your QR code, and place your phone screen-down on this, and the LEDs will light up to acknowledge your account was linked. I have only two gripes... One being sound. With the machine having all open sides and back, it was pretty hard to hear. I played on a Monday night when there weren't many people present, and it was pretty hard to hear the dialog. I can't imagine what it must be like on a busy weekend. My other problem is the physical gun used. They use a double-trigger turret to represent all the guns. It's a pretty standard arcade shooter prop, but it just felt weird using that to fire all the weapons, especially when the most used weapon is the Assault rifle.

Final conclusion below...
OVERALL
My overall impression of the game was very positive. It was everything I expected from an arcade Halo game. Great gameplay, short but fun story, and some really cool moments. Fighting off a huge swarm of human-form Flood with assault rifles was fantastic. The only downside is that the game is a bit expensive, as most new arcade games are. Each play swipe cost 8.8 tokens, if I'm remembering correctly. I had $50 of tokens on my card, which paid for me and one other person, and we used the whole thing to play through the entire story. So expect to pay around $25 to play through the entire game. If you can, I'd recommend going on Wednesdays, which are half-priced games. The entire thing took around 30-40 minutes to play through all six missions in Story Mode. I think one of the coolest additions was the ability to link your Gamertag. I wish it unlocked something more than just an emblem on Waypoint, but it is still pretty neat technology that I hope they move forward with. Maybe it will give something in-game in Halo Infinite. I played the game with three people, which included myself and two girls. One was slightly familiar with Halo, and the other had no idea what it was. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so don't worry about someone inexperienced with Halo lore playing the game. They'll enjoy themselves.
OVERALLEach play swipe cost 8.8 tokens, if I'm remembering correctly. I had $50 of tokens on my card, which paid for me and one other person, and we used the whole thing to play through the entire story. So expect to pay around $25 to play through the entire game. If you can, I'd recommend going on Wednesdays, which are half-priced games. The entire thing took around 30-40 minutes to play through all six missions in Story Mode. I think one of the coolest additions was the ability to link your Gamertag.
Solid review and thank you for all the details! The bit that I quoted you, above, is probably the biggest thing I'd want people to know. Wednesday is the BEST day to go because games are half price! It saves alot of money and makes more than one playthrough, feasible. Linking your gamertag is great too because seeing your tag on the leaderboards is really, really cool
Good to know.
Looks pretty fun. Wish it had a console release though.