Halo 3 ODST
How do you start a review for what Microsoft would likely call ‘One of the most anticipated games of the year’, a game which got a name change and went from being a stand alone expansion to a full retail game not to mention a halo game without a halo, mention of a halo and indeed no Master Chief. Probably with a big sigh and a gritting of teeth.Â
First off you get two discs with ODST, The campaign/firefight disc (actually ODST) and a multiplayer disk. The multiplayer disc is a replacement for the halo 3 disk and is essentially the map packs, a few tweaks and the halo 3 multiplayer engine, naff all new, you cant be an ODST in multiplayer and essentially puts a valid argument on the table of why donâ€™t I get a discount because I already have the map packs. Halo 3 multiplayer is a slow passed epilepsy inducing affair where the one who will win is the one who can bounce around the most like some kind of power armoured punk. That is to say I am not a fan, there is no running, there is no going prone, there is only jumping around and using a full clip of any gun to drop their shields before the inevitable need to reload which always equates to being shot by the one gimp who has a sniper rifle before you can finish of the guy you were shooting at.
I’ll admit I am rubbish at halo MP because it doesnâ€™t make me want to play it like CoD but I do enjoy the single player experience, its a nice mix of absurd, overly macho Hollywood story with mixed infantry and vehicle tactics. ODST however drops Master Chief and replaces him with Nathan Fillion (Cap’n Mel from Firefly/Serenity), which is a decent substitution, sure to pick up a few actor fans.
To outline the story the ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) launch an assault seemingly on a Covenant ship which blows a raspberry and jumps into hyperspace before their pods land on it, not that they were on target anyway, which leaves the troopers to crash down in the South African super city of New Mombasa. You are ‘The Rookie’ and wake up in your pod 6 hours after crash down and find the city dark and empty. From there you hunt around for beacons to locate your squad then investigate little objects at the site to hit a pulp fiction style mash up as you are put in the boots of one of the other ODSTs and relive one their experiences from earlier in the day. This carries on until you meet up with your commander and head towards the end of the game. The voice acting is passable and the story is all right. The Rookie scenes are saved somewhat by having a sandbox section of the city to run round in with lots of patrols and checkpoints to assault or avoid, the flashbacks are all strictly linear.
Keep in mind that ODST uses the Halo 3 engine however it is used quite different. Graphically ODST is a lot grittier and darker than Halo 1-3 with a lot more grit all over the place. I actually like the effort they put into detailing their levels. This however is wasted as half the game is set at night and deep in the streets of the city its so dark that you spend a good portion of the game walking around in wire frame view which is provided by the tactical filter on you helmets visor. Itâ€™s so dark the ambient light from the buttons on the doors wasn’t enough to even enough to light the hallways. This game is so dark that even shooting the most rapid-fire flashlight in your arsenal doesnâ€™t light the surrounding terrain.
The orchestral soundtrack certainly conveyed the sombre tones of an empty city but this game was short and easy, I mean really easy. I blitzed through on Heroic before finishing it on legendary with 2-player co-op in a paltry four and a half hours. It may be a little more challenging on single player legendary but I wont know till later. I was a little disappointed by the length as they could have had lots of optional side quests helping survivors out.
Firefight is a new addition and is an arena battle mode, which pits up to 4 ODST’s against an unending horde. Nothing new but always a crowd pleaser.
All in all I think I was playing a different version of the game from other reviewers, this game doesnâ€™t have enough content to warrant a 96 rating. I would in-fact question any reviewer who gave it rating over 75. Itâ€™s to short, to dark and although itâ€™s an enjoyable romp its nothing new. If youâ€™re a fan of Halo 3 multiplayer its worth it for the $50 worth of DLC maps.
Reviewed on: XBox 360
Available on: XBox 360