So I spent a little bit of time last night trying out Halo 2 for Vista. I loaded it up on my work rig, because I'm not running Vista on my gaming computer.
The first feature that caught my eye about the disc was the "Tray and Play" feature, which lets you pop the disc in, and start playing within a couple of minutes. The game continues to install, but you're already in the game playing while it's happening. I thought it was a nice touch, and a step in bringing the convenience of PC gaming closer to a console level.
It really didn't do all that much for me, though, as I've spent the last ten years installing PC games before playing them. I don't find myself so impatient that five to ten minutes of installation is a big deal. Some might disagree, and this is a nice feature for them.
I was a little turned off when it took ten minutes to sign into my Xbox Live profile, however. But once I was signed in, everything was working great. And I have to say, Live in Windows was really attractive, and familiar. Actually, it was a little surreal to be able to navigate the familiar Live menus with a mouse and keyboard.
I've also played a good deal of the Shadowrun beta on the 360 since I first got in last month. I had originally planned to buy the game for the 360, but after seeing Live function on the PC, I'm no longer so sure.
I can say with certainty that I'll be happy to start seeing more and more PC games make use of Live.
Halo 2, well... what can I say about Halo 2 that you don't already know? I tried to approach it as a new game, rather than one we've been playing for two years, but it was hard. Despite crisper character models and textures, the graphics were still a bit outdated. Additionally, there are some known conflicts with Nvidia drivers on Vista that cause some problems.
I mean, Halo 2 is great, but as Brian said when I talked to him about it, "I don't see Halo 2 selling Windows Vista like it did for the Xbox". Especially not with the beta for Halo 3 a few weeks away.
Halo 2 comes out for Vista May 8th, so hopefully Nvidia works out some of the drivers bugs by then.