Halo 3: ODST is a sci-fi first-person shooter developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 on September 22, 2009. Originally announced as "Halo 3: Recon", the fifth official instalment of the Halo franchise builds upon the game engine of Halo 3 and the setting of Halo 2, this time telling the tale of elite soldiers of the United Nations Space Command known as Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (or ODST, for short). Along with various gameplay enhancements and changes (such as silenced weapons, the return of a dedicated health bar, and removal of Halo 3's weapon dual-wielding), the game includes a new co-operative wave-based survival mode (known as Firefight) and a bonus disc containing the entire multiplayer mode from Halo 3 (including all DLC as well as time-exclusive multiplayer maps later known as the Mythic II Map Pack).
Set during the events of Halo 2, players mainly control a nameless silent ODST referred to simply as "the Rookie". Sent to suppress the Covenant invasion of the African metropolis New Mombasa (by dropping onto the Prophet of Regret's Covenant assault carrier from HEVs in low orbit), the Rookie and the rest of his squad get scattered around the city as the assault carrier jumps into slipspace and knocks the electronic systems for the HEVs offline. After being knocked unconscious for six hours after the drop, the Rookie must traverse the Covenant-occupied city at night, alone, to find the whereabouts of his squadmates (with help from the Superintendent, an A.I. construct that maintains the city's infrastructure).
The Rookie, a Lance Corporal of the UNSC Marine Corps with a mysterious identity, is a member of a six-man ODST squad from the UNSC Say My Name heavy cruiser. Throughout the game, the Rookie discovers objects that hint to what has happened to his fellow squadmates. Whenever one of these objects is encountered, a playable flashback mission occurs, with the player taking the role of a certain squadmate.
UNSC Navy Captain Veronica Dare is an intelligence officer of the Office of Naval Intelligence (Section One) who took command of the squad from Buck (whom she has had a romantic relation with in the past) in order to perform a confidential mission in New Mombasa.
Despite wearing ODST armor (a specialized Recon variant, based on the MJOLNIR Recon Armor), she is not an ODST.
She is only playable in Firefight mode. Her signature weapon is the M6C Magnum.
She is voiced by Tricia Helfer, of Battlestar Galactica fame.
UNSC Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck is a long-time veteran of the Human-Covenant War (serving in both the Liberation of Harvest and the Fall of Reach). An extremely skilled UNSC Marine, he was appointed the leader of the five-man squad before Dare took over.
He is playable in the "Tayari Plaza" and "Kikowani Station" flashback missions. His signature weapon is the MA5C Assault Rifle.
He is voiced by Nathan Fillion, of Firefly fame.
UNSC Marine Corps Corporal Taylor "Dutch" Miles is the squad's heavy weapons specialist. A former civilian road-train driver from Mars, Dutch is a man of deep spiritual convictions and great respect for his peers.
He served in the same unit as Romeo during the Battle of Ariel prior to the drop.
He is playable in the "Uplift Reserve" and "ONI Alpha Site" flashback missions. His signature weapon is the M6 Spartan Laser.
He is voiced by Adam Baldwin, also of Firefly fame.
UNSC Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kojo "Romeo" Agu is the squad's marksman. Despite being one of the best battle-tested snipers of the UNSC, he is aggressive, disrespectful, and difficult to work with off-the-field. It is established outside of the game that Romeo would have been dishonourably discharged years ago because of his personality if the UNSC didn't need every soldier they could get their hands on to fight the Covenant.
He served in the same unit as Dutch during the Battle of Ariel prior to the drop.
He is playable in the "NMPD HQ" flashback mission. His signature weapon is the SRS99D Sniper Rifle.
He is voiced by high-profile voice actor Nolan North.
UNSC Marine Corps Private First Class Michael "Mickey" Crespo is the squad's explosive ordnance expert. Growing up as a foster child, he is the former crew chief of a Pelican dropship prior to joining the UNSC Defense Force. Despite his enthusiasm, he has never seen a planet get glassed by the Covenant (unlike the rest of his squad). Mickey is actually of a lower rank than the Rookie; the latter received that nickname because he joined the squad more recently, not because he is the lowest ranking member of it.
He is playable in the "Kizingo Boulevard" flashback mission. His signature weapon is the M41 Rocket Launcher.
He is voiced by Alan Tudyk, also of Firefly fame.
Halo 3: ODST's single-player campaign plays somewhat differently than the other games in the Halo franchise. The game sets the players in a partially open city with the goal of finding and investigating the last known locations of your four ODST squad-mates while fighting off the Covenant forces in the area. Once you reach one of the last-known waypoints of a teammate, you discover an object related to the events they've been through--such as a ruined sniper rifle hanging from a street light--and enter a flashback to earlier that day, where you control the squad member for an entire level. Through these 30-minute or so flashbacks (which play more like traditional, linear, Halo levels) you discover the fate of your teammate and unravel the mystery of the events that occurred in New Mombasa. The New Mombasa " open world" is comparable in function to the hub world from a platformer. Although the city in Halo 3: ODST is fairly large, its design and structure is not to be compared with that of Liberty City from Grand Theft Auto or other traditional sandbox-style open world games, given that there is no purpose to the hub world other than the story missions. The impact the city's look has and the time difference between flashback sequences and the Rookie's seemingly hopeless current situation are big parts of the game. Because the Rookie is shorter than the Master Chief's towering 7' height, all enemies and vehicles seem slightly larger. The heads-up display is different from previous games since the player views the world from inside a standard-issue ODST helmet instead of a suit of Mjolnir armor or a Sangheili war harness.
In addition to the new progression method, players have some new tools at their fingertips:
- A silenced M7 SMG and a silenced magnum pistol, allowing them to move about the city surreptitiously. Both of these weapon variants have distance scopes, though as they don't do any additional damage, and dual-wielding has been removed, they are significantly less useful than their counterparts from Halo 3.
- VISr Mode, a kind of night vision that outlines friendlies, hostiles, and points-of-interest in glowing neon.
- A PDA, which can provide them a 3D map of the city at all times, and allows them to set personal waypoints.
However, with the switch to a non-Spartan protagonist, some of the player's abilities are lessened:
- ODSTs do not have a motion tracker.
- ODSTs use "stamina" rather than shields and must use medkits to heal their injuries, a la Halo: Combat Evolved.
- ODSTs are slower, shorter, and less agile than the Master Chief, and their melee attacks do substantially less damage.
- ODSTs cannot dual-wield weapons.
- ODSTs can't throw grenades as far as Spartans or Elites.
Firefight is a survival mode that resembles the Horde mode in Gears of War 2.
There are a total of 10 maps in which a maximum of four players can defend against waves of enemies. Each wave gets progressively harder, players killed will respawn at the end of each wave provided at least one player remains alive. The game continues until all players are dead and the game is over.
- Lost Platoon
- Rally Point
- Security Zone
- Alpha Site
- Chasm Ten
- Last Exit
- Crater (Night)
- Rally (Night)
Firefight mode utilizes the unlockable skulls found in Halo 3, so they do not need to be unlocked in ODST. As you move through the waves of a Firefight match, more skulls will automatically turn on.
Firefight mode does not feature a matchmaking option for online play, meaning players can only play via system link or online via friend lists.
Halo 3: ODST does not have its own competitive multiplayer suite. Instead, the game comes with a second disc that contains the multiplayer component of Halo 3, called the "Complete Multiplayer Experience." All of the multiplayer maps from the Halo 3 disc and all three DLC packs are included on this extra disc, as well as three new maps: Heretic, Longshore, and Citadel, which were later released as DLC for Halo 3-only owners on February 2nd, 2010. Players that complete all 7 Vidmaster achievements unlock the famous Recon armor, which was previously only available to Bungie employees or those deemed worthy by Bungie to earn it. The multiplayer disc does not include the single player Halo 3, only the multiplayer.
Access to the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta was also included on the ODST disc. The beta began on May 3rd, 2010. Select "loyal" Halo 2 players received beta invites via e-mail as consolation for original Xbox Live support being dropped.
Alongside all of the previously-released Halo 3 DLC maps, ODST features three new maps (collectively known as "Mythic 2") that were exclusive to the game until February 2nd, 2010, when they were released as Mythic Map Pack II for Halo 3.
Set in the same Forerunner structure as another Halo 3 map, Epitaph, this mid-sized arena features a handful of tight peripheral corridors that converge in a large with an exposed central platform. A symmetrical map with a focus on close-quarters combat, Citadel is best suited to games with smaller team sizes of 2v2 or 4v4.
An abandoned Fish Processing Plant in the heart of Old Mombasa is the staging ground for the large-scale asymmetrical map, Longshore. The map features large buildings and an extendable bridge that provides some variety to the combat when activated. With similarities to past maps such as Hang 'Em High, Last Resort, High Ground, and Headlong, Longshore provides a familiar style of Big Team carnage. Due to the asymmetrical geometry of the map, one-sided gametypes such as 1-Flag or 1-Bomb Assault are ideal.
A remake of the classic Halo 2 map Midship, set within the bowels of the Covenant ship Pious Inquisitor. Heretic is a nearly perfect re-creation of Midship in terms of actual geometry and design, but the aesthetic appearance of the map has been given a large upgrade to take advantage of the new Halo 3 engine. Dedicated Midship fans from Halo 2 will be happy to find some classic elements from the map have been faithfully carried over to Heretic, including the ability to reach "P3" at the top of Pink Tower. Also, players spawn with Plasma Grenades by default (instead of Frag Grenades) just like in Halo 2. Heretic, being a re-make, is suited for all of the same gametypes as Midship -- small team games of 2v2 or 4v4 work well, as do Free-For-All gametypes, although of course any game can be played on any map.
Halo 3: ODST has several avatar awards you can obtain. Technically, none of the awards are from ODST, they are awarded by Halo Waypoint. After earning the appropriate achievement in ODST, Waypoint must be run to earn the achievement.
01. Overture (5:39)
- Yet Alone (1:53)
- These Darkened Streets (0:51)
- Time to Dance (0:33)
- Key to the City (0:33)
- Replacements (1:47)
02. The Rookie (7:30)
- Strong Silent Type (3:08)
- PostPartum (1:51)
- Proceed with Caution (2:28)
03. More Than His Share (5:49)
- Into the Breach (3:14)
- Becomes the Hunted (1:54)
- Lost and Unfound (0:38)
04. Deference for Darkness (6:39)
- Rain (3:07)
- Trailhead (1:40)
- Guiding Hand (1:48)
05. The Menagerie (6:10)
- Ground War (1:02)
- Oscar Mike (1:47)
- Unleashed (1:11)
- On the Prowl (2:10)
06. Asphalt and Ablution (6:03)
- Still Grounded (1:44)
- Island of War (1:02)
- Hardboiled (1:38)
- Sneaking Suspicion (1:40)
07. Traffic Jam (5:52)
- Look Both Ways (0:48)
- Street Sweeper (3:24)
- Rally Point (1:38)
08. Neon Night (5:37)
- Where One Road Ends (1:27)
- Block by Block (0:48)
- Perception is Reality (0:48)
- Pounding the Pavement (2:32)
09. The Office of Naval Intelligence (8:50)
- A Heavy Toll (1:04)
- Strong Medicine (1:27)
- Uphill, Both Ways (1:37)
- Access Denied (2:08)
- Infestation (1:02)
- Clean the Air (1:31)
01. Bits and Pieces (7:05)
- From the Ashes (2:32)
- Dead or Gone (0:56)
- Premonition (1:29)
- Something Like Sorrow (2:04)
02. Skyline (7:02)
- No Response (1:23)
- Pick a Target, Any Target (1:33)
- Love at Long Range (1:39)
- Air Traffic Control (2:23)
03. No Stone Unturned (3:23)
- Cast Aside (1:33)
- Nox Aeterna (1:06)
- Marching On (0:42)
04. One Way Ride (6:51)
- Borrowed Time (1:49)
- Anywhere but Here (1:29)
- The Calm Before (1:18)
- Let it Burn (2:12)
05. The Light at the End (7:52)
- Another Rain (2:32)
- Through the Divide (1:34)
- All That Remains (1:50)
- Heart and Mind (1:53)
06. Data Hive (6:04)
- We All Got Secrets (1:33)
- Only One Way In (1:39)
- Core (1:34)
- This Way Up (1:16)
07. Special Delivery (10:23)
- From Bones (1:18)
- Still Strong (1:10)
- Extra Firepower (1:39)
- Mercy Plea (3:11)
- Hell of a Night (3:03)
08. Finale (8:12)
- From the Ashes (reprise) (1:12)
- Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (3:43)
- Old Friend (1:07)
- Reborn Relic (0:51)
- Prepare to Drop (1:17)
Xbox 360 Install Size
Installing Halo 3: ODST on your hard drive takes up about 3.5 GB of space. Installing ODST will not adversely affect performance like installing Halo 3 did. However, the multiplayer disc, being the exact same engine as Halo 3, will still suffer from performance issues when installed.