Halo 3 ODST is the next instalment of the Halo series, you are not master chief but an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. You are part of a elite voluntary branch of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) Marine Corps, your mission is to stay alive and meet up with your scattered squad to stop the Covenants plans.
The Starting sequence shows you (The Rookie) with other ODST’s, here you will be introduced to the main characters of this Halo chapter. The cut-scene jumps into a mission briefing with some random banter from the other ODST’s but you sit alone in the corner silent, voice acting is well done and the quality Halo look goes down well with the more serious life or death feel. After this you are sent into your Single-occupant, exoatmospheric insertion vehicles (SOEIV’s) to be deployed over the planet, into the Covenant occupied city. This is the ODST’s way of deployment but many die as the air brakes fail to deploy killing many on impact. You feel like Bungie are showing the harder side to this war rather than sending in the Chief to deal with the problem, which is great seeing a different side of the fight but comes across just as a similar story to play through rather than, (as it says on the cover) New hero, New Campaign, New Multiplayer.
You will start in a new environment, the streets. It is very open compared to the latter games and has a lot more detail in the maps, and with lots of detailed textures and lighting effects to help set the more desperate distressed look does give the game a different vibe about it when you are wandering the streets. The streets are made up of different paths and buildings you will adventure through which hold many secrets and Audio files you can find throughout, this is a different structure for Bungie to take with Halo but levels/flashbacks feel exactly the same as previous titles with minor adjustments, which I will add, I actually prefer.
The levels however pretty much are set out how you are used to them but with the use of more space. These levels you play are triggered by objects you are led to in the streets and when your ODST discovers them they will trigger a flashbacks which you play through. You are given a now and then perspective, playing in real time and in the past, eventually leading up the cross over finally where all the key characters merge.
Game play is as to be expected, similar but with some good alterations to the main way you play and view your surroundings. One of these differences is the ODST’s HUD, OSDT troopers helmets are equipped with a sophisticated Visual Intelligence System Reconnaissance – VISR which when activated with the X button covers your surroundings in a faded neon glow, which helps you spot enemies as they glow bright red and friendly’s glow green. The VISR is two things, a low light target-acquisition vision mode and a HUD-space database, your database holds three different types of data: NAV, INTEL and COMM’s. Nav is obviously your map, giving you a bird’s eye view of the battle ground and is very useful in co-op to locate your team mates. INTEL section holds your mission objectives and COMM’s tab is for data collected at data terminals.
The campaign does however offer you bigger more exciting fights with various veicles and equipment, which I found was very enjoyable in co-op and opened up great scenes and challenges. I played with one friend through the campaign on legendary and completed it in six hours which to me is very short, then I did remember that this game was announced as an expansion and not a full title, then was announced as a full MS 360 title and I wondered if it was just an expansion but with one extra new mode and a few more multiplayer maps, not for that fact MS and Bungie where trying to increase their profits but because it could appeal to the older 18+ audience and Halo fans so they went further with the original idea or I would like to hope so, which is in theory a good idea to increase your customer base but I can’t help feel the rest of us have been let down a little bit by Bungie and MS by giving us a different side to the halo franchise but not enough of it.
The new mode available is called Firefight, here you fight waves of enemies on various maps. You get points for kills and the same bonuses from the online multiplayer like Triple kill, ect, are present here giving you more points for multiple kills raising your score. Scores are charted on the usual Bungie leader boards and there are achievements for hitting 200,000 points on every map. Four player co-op is best for this mode as it can take hours to get the achievements and you have to cover many angles so communication is a must and is really enjoyable because of this. As usual the FireFight co-op maps and the online multiplayer maps are designed well, something Bungie have always been able to do and is comforting to see as a fan of the multiplayer when I went through my clan faze on Halo 3 so you will know you won’t find any problems there. Think of this game as a puller for more sensible halo fans and for people who want more of a serious take on the Halo franchise, which comes across brilliantly in the TV advertising campaign they went ahead with before and after release of the game.
Overall it is a very good quality game but for people who are really good at Halo won’t find the campaign challenging at all, especially with friends but offers a different insight into the Halo universe and which can be enjoyed by a slightly different audience and the regulars. The bigger map space makes all the difference for a better combat and works a lot better with the co-op option, and equipment is bounty full and varied. The campaign is disappointing but is as expected illustrated beautifully with breath taking scenes you can’t help but stand and look at, which makes me a little conflicted as a keen Halo addict. It is up to you but if you choose not to purchase it I don’t think it will be too long before your friends who had it start to move on to pastures new, otherwise it’s not a bad time filler if you have the cash.
Gamer Rating: 7.8
Buy, Rent or Pass: Rent and if your a major fan you’ve already bought it…