Halo 3: ODST Review
Taken from my site, www.gamephile.wordpress.com, soon to be www.scorephoria.com
The galaxy is in chaos. Humans find themselves in an embittered battle against an alien race known as the Covenant, an invading force bent on the destruction of humanity, and damn near close to achieving it. We are losing. In times past, there was one savior. Now, you are five.
“ODSTs: Prepare to Drop.” These not so familiar words preface the entrance to the newest installment of the Halo series: Halo 3: ODST. Set back towards the era of Halo 2, during the battle of New Mombasa, ODST has a new feel to the Halo games. Master Chief is gone, and the fancy Spartan armor and the 117 service tag along with it. Instead, players take on the role of a single trooper, an unnamed Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. Without the powers of Master Chief, the player finds himself much more vulnerable, needing health packs to heal and only being able to single wield weapons.
Much of the game takes place in flashbacks. The game has a two scenario setting that serves as an introductory to the “main” missions. Players start the game as an ODST known only as the “Rookie”, wandering around the destruction of New Mombasa. As the Rookie, players find “souvenirs” of their separated squad mates, which triggers a flashback where the player finds himself in the battle of that particular squad mate, allowing the player to unravel the mystery surrounding New Mombasa, one flashback at a time.
ODST is still true to the “Halo 3” portion of its name. The game serves as a run and gun FPS, keeping the feel that Halo has had since the beginning, despite the lack of its main protagonist. At times, the amazing number of enemies might overwhelm a player, but in a co-op setting, the game feels slightly too easy, even on the Legendary setting. ODST retains the nearly annoying tradition of quickly running out of ammo, forcing a player to pick of unfamiliar, alien weaponry.
The online multiplayer disc is straight out of Halo 3, to the point where the Xbox 360 dashboard credits the player as playing Halo 3, and not ODST. The disc comes with all of the original Halo 3 maps, all of the previously released DLC, and three new maps, available to only those who have the Halo 3 “Mythic Disc” that comes with ODST. The mythic disc wraps right in with the Halo 3 multiplayer option, so any of your friends who chose not to purchase ODST will still be able to play with you on the maps available to them through their Halo 3 disc.
The more exciting part of the ODST multiplayer is the co-op survival mode known as Firefight. Firefight is basically ripped out of Gears of War 2, with very few noticeable differences from Gears’ Horde mode. In a nutshell, up to four players band together to fight off wave and wave of enemy troops, ranging from one shot kill Grunts to Hunters and Chieftains, which often require more than one trooper’s full clip of ammo. Achievement points put special emphasis on this mode, giving Firefight nearly infinite replay value, depending on the skill of your teammates and their willingness to play two hour sessions with you.
ODST has the style of a 2009 release, even though it is still running on the same engine as the late 2007 Halo 3. The graphics remain true to Halo 3, but with the addition of an open world environment, many of the backgrounds are considerably more detailed than in its predecessor. Glitches are seldom, and even with an insane amount of enemies flying towards you, the game runs smoothly and there’s no frustrating lack of flowing game play. With four player Xbox Live co-op, there’s more than enough fun with friends to make this game worth it.
Many of the base game’s achievements are formed around campaign missions, and completing the game. Like Halo 3, there are large achievements for completion activities, like finding audio logs (similar to COG tags in the first Gears). In-mission achievements, like in Halo Wars, give the player very small amounts of points for doing specific things in a specific level. (Example, there is a 5gs for getting 15 headshots in one level). The rest of the achievements lie in Firefight, namely individual ones for scoring 200,000 points on each individual map. Achievement Rating: 7/10
Halo 3: ODST is much more than an expansion that the name would imply. Retailers and game sites balked at a full game price for an expansion, but ODST comes with as much, if not more, content than many recent releases. For fans of the Halo series, it’s a must buy, and even for newcomers, ODST will serve as a competent introduction to one of the more prolific series of the modern age. Game Rating: 8/10