I’m not the biggest fan of Dave & Busters.
I feel like every time I’ve been, I lose track of the group I’m with, overpay for reheated food, lose a car payment trying to win an iPod Shuffle in “Stacker”, and end up spilling a beer at some point. All in all, I’d rather stay home. So when I heard that Halo: Fireteam Raven – probably the most ambitions “coin-op” arcade shooter I’ve ever heard of – was gonna be exclusive to D&B’s… I was pretty convinced that I’d never play it.
But then, something amazing happened:
Yes, Halo: Fireteam Raven had somehow made its way to my local bowling alley (which has a teeny-tiny arcade annexed onto the side), and I was never been more convinced that someone up above was smiling down on me. Having known this, my brother and I promptly (AKA last night – a smooth month later) made our way to the arcade, grabbed a pair of beers each from the bowling alley bar, and sat down to load up a digital play card and experience Halo: Fireteam Raven.
If you’re familiar with anything else from Raw Thrills and/or 343 Industries – you know hat you’re in for with Fireteam Raven. The entire arcade “cabinet” itself is a massive, physically imposing structure that may fit in just fine at D&B’s, but absolutely dwarfed everything else in the arcade. I could hear the signature Halo overtures as soon as I walked in, and as soon as I sat inside the game’s comfy padded seats, I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) hear much else.
Halo: Fireteam Raven’s music, sound effects, graphics, UI, and tone are all very Halo. Kevin and I were completely immersed as we were thrust into the boots of the titular Fireteam Raven – and we oohed and aahed for the next hour and change as a squad of ODSTs mowing down Covenant forces on our brisk tour of Halo: Combat Evolved’s most iconic settings.
All-told, Fireteam Raven set us back roughly $15 apiece to get through the hour-long, six-mission campaign. We hit a wall at the beginning of mission five (because we ran out of credits), and that provided a much-needed break to let our hands stop shaking, reflect about the campaign so far, and – of course – re-up on a few more beers each.
Fireteam Raven is like a sampling platter of all of the best parts of Halo. There’s tons of nostalgia to fawn over whether you’re a die-hard Halo junkie, or if you haven’t played Halo since your friend’s living room in middle school. The on-rails shooter takes you through a variety of locales, leading you to weapon after weapon after vehicle after turret after weapon from Halo’s iconic arsenal. The “unlimited ammo” sections left our hands vibrating long after the mission was over, and the breakneck pace of the last two missions had us furiously swiping our “play cards” to revive one another, and the whole campaign had us grinning and feverishly recapping “did you see that” moments.
Long story short, if there’s an arcade or a D&B near you, give them a call and see if they’ve got Fireteam Raven on the floor. If they do – you gotta go. It’s a must-play for Halo fans, well worth driving a few minutes out of your way for. Even if you’re lukewarm on the Halo franchise, it’s an arcade shooter that lives up to its price tag and should not be missed.
Final Score: 4 Sacred Rings out of 5.
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