The Attempted Review of Halo 3 ODST

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 10:41 PM

Since debuting on the Xbox the Bungie created Halo series has been one of the hottest games around. It revolutionised the first person shooter experience on the home console and brought the type of online experience that had previously been PC exclusive to the console. So does Halo 3: ODST live up to the pedigree?

What it's all about... Halo 3 ODST, in a nutshell, is one giant fan service. From the return to the New Mombassa Earth setting the 2nd game explored to the inclsuion of all the multiplayer maps, no Flood, a more powerful pistol like in Halo Combat Evolved and a player who isn't the closest thing to God on the ground ODST is here to try and please the fans. In ODST you play as, funnily enough, an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper or ODST meaning the Chief is out resulting in a whole new gameplay experience. ODST's can't dual wield, they have no shields, they can't jump as high or fall as far, they have a health bar but they still pack quite a punch. You play The Rookie the newest member to the squad who joins just before the team’s latest mission, a drop into New Mombassa which is littered with Covenant forces. Unfortunately for you the drop goes all wrong and your are dropped off course and unconscious. After regaining consciousness you must regroup with your squad and find out why exactly you are in New Mombassa, apart from to kill Covenant. As The Rookie heads around New Mombassa the player takes control of several other squad members in a series of flashbacks relating to what's happened while The Rookie was unconscious. Players soon discover that the Covenant are looking for something in New Mombassa, something which they can't risk destroying the city to get to and something that will probably decide the fate of the war. Outside of the campaign players can experience the fast paced and frenetic multiplayer from Halo 3 and a new multiplayer mode called Firefight. In Firefight 1 to 4 players must fend off wave after wave of Covenant forces on a series of different maps who are aided by difficulty skulls in a mode similar to Horde from Gears of War 2.

What it Did Well... ODST is still powered by the same engine that powered Halo 3 but Bungie have applied some serious polish to the game to make it look nice and a bit fresh. The urban setting allows them to use a lot more grey, black and brown which help the levels to look new and there is good use of lighting and shading to help set the mood in certain areas. This is particular noticable when you come from being inside and go outside and everything is awash with a brilliant yellow from the sun. While the engine is aging ODST still pulls off some rather impressive set pieces like the explosion of the Information Centre.

I was also a fan of the story. It had your typical mystery to it as the Covenant and their actions are always so unpredictable to the humans and the idea of showing it in a series of flashbacks from different perspectives was interesting and better executed than the Arby and Chief split in Halo 2.There are also plenty of audio files hidden throughout the city which tell you more about the evacuation and Covenant invasion on New Mombassa.

Combat was also a lot of fun. You weren't this all conquering super soldier so you had to be a little more careful in your approach, running and gunning is no longer the tactic of choice. Going face to face with Hunters and Brutan Chieftains was not something to look forward to as they took some serious damage before you could kill them, especially on Heroic and Legendary, and obviously you don’t take as much damage as the Chief did. The games new weapons, the silenced pistol and silenced SMG, were better, more powerful iterations than previous Halo pistols and SMG’s and the silenced pistol is probably my favourite Halo weapon of all time. The sound of it firing is perfect and oozes awesomeness and is commonly my most used weapon.

The voice acting is really well down as well which is to be expected considering the rather impressive cast Bungie assembled. Nathan Fillion, Alan Tuydk and Daniel Baldwin give each of the ODSTs a unique character and whilst we aren't given much backstory on them the voices do help you feel some connection and emotion towards them.

Firefight mode is also a seriously fun and addictive addition. With achievements for each map you will be spending plenty of time with your friends trying to 'beat' every map. It's hard not to find yourself losing several hours to one game of Firefight as the skulls make the game seriously challenging especially when enemies throw lots of grenades, have 2x health, shielded opponents reflect bullets and you have to melee to get your health back. You really need to strategize otherwise you'll be dead quicker than you can say Oh My God Brute Chieftain with a Hammer. Plus nothing beats teaming up with 3 mates for some Halo action and comparing your scores at the end.

What it didn't... Because the story relied on the flashbacks to different characters for you to find out what had happened you didn't find out much about each character or the main character The Rookie. The Chief was supposed to be clouded in mystery because the Spartan program was but ODST’s are just ordinary soldiers with some kick ass training and weapons so knowing a little bit more about them would have been nice. Also how exactly did The Rookie know these things had happened when he reached certain points? Not a huge issue but still what the hell?

Yes the campaign was short, especially in co-op but that's not a huge issue for me. It does have difficult bits which take time and on Legendary and Heroic you'll be at it a while by yourself. I'm only disappointed because I enjoyed it so much and wanted it to continue.

As I stated before in my first impressions I wanted just a little bit more from Firefight. It was fun and addictive like I'd expected but it could have done with a few unique weapons or enemies or unique maps. Just something to make it seem different from the rest of the game. Also there isn't any matchmaking so to play with other people they have to be your friend. It just makes it harder to drop in and play a game whenever you want.

Unfortunately ODST is also an expensive game. After Bungie decided it wouldn't just be an expansion but a full blown game people were expecting a lot more in terms of new content and from the campaign mode. Unfortunately ODST didn't deliver enough for it to be comparable to a new game, it was still more like an expansion pack, and considering you still had to pay top dollar for it that hurts Bungie.

Memorable Moment... As far as visually impressive moments go ODST contained many. I've already talked about the information centre explosion because well it's so good. The ODST's have to blow up this building so the Covenant don't get any extra information on the Marines. After setting the explosives the ODST's fly off and after a silent countdown they look back to see the building go up in a big beautiful explosion that turns the building to rubble and boy does it look nice. As far as gameplay moments the epic 2 hour Firefight match I played with my friends is probably the most memorable. It showed how addictive the mode can be as you just keep going for as long as you can. It provided many white knuckle and heroic moments as we battled through with wave after wave of Covenant forces who get more difficult as the skulls mount.

What it All Means... ODST doesn't reinvent the wheel like Halo Combat Evolved did but it sure does offer up a fun an engaging experience. Fans of the original will be pleased as the game heads back to its roots and the inclusion of Firefight means Bungie has found another way to steal part of your life. I'm giving Halo 3 ODST 8 out of 10.     



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