Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by: Bungie Software
Genre: First-Person Shooter
US: September 22, 2009
Youíve been faithful; been playing Halo since 2001. Youíre a true Halo fan yet youíre questioning a purchase of Halo 3:ODST? Yes, itís an expansion to Halo, but why is it the same price as a full game you may be thinking. What justifies this ridiculous price tag for a game Iíve heard is only 4-5hours long?
Ok , even if youíre not who I just described youíre reading this review so you must be interested in this game everyoneís talking about. Well Iíve played it and Iíve got some news for you -news that may even disappoint you. So whatís Halo 3:ODST all about? Letís take a look.
Halo 3:ODST is indeed an expansion to Halo 3 although Bungie claims that this expansion is much different than Halo 3. ODST boasts a 5 hour campaign, a new multiplayer addition called firefight, and 3 new maps. Seems all well and good right? Well if they are going to slap a 60$ price tag on the game it better live up to the price!
In ODST you do not play as the master chief. Instead you will play as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper a highly trained UNSC solider. What does this mean for the gameplay? Well to be honest, not as much as youíd think. The way this game was advertised is rethinking the way to play Halo Ė supposed ďnew tacticsĒ. Well if that was your impression then you will be disappointed. Itís really the same Halo formula youíve been playing for years. This isnít necessarily a bad thing, itís still quite enjoyable. Yet if you hated the other Halo games this game wonít change the way you feel.
You'll be exploring New Mombasa for clues that will lead you to your squad
Let me explain some of the elements of the game starting with health. In Call of Duty games you have no health bar, when you get struck you start to go red and eventually die. Yet, if you hide for a bit and rest you can recover back to full health. In Halo 3: ODST this element takes place, but then you also have a full health bar beneath that. Remember the days of Halo 1 with the health pack? Well itís very similar to that now. Having a static health bar is a slight change to Halo gameplay, but you will quickly adjust. While this does slightly change the dynamic of the game you will not be rethinking the way you used to play Halo. Numerous times I still ran into an area full of covenant and went straight into the action gunning down as many covenant as I could find.
Those who really enjoyed the first Halo will surely enjoy the gameplay in ODST. The pistol is back with nearly the same power as it first did. Other guns include many that youíve used in Halo 3, most of them still feeling the same way they did with some small additions like an added scope. Another significant change is the lack of duel wielding. Luckily I canít say you will miss it that much, many of the guns will hold their own in terms of power. But hereís a question for the developers of the game, if an ODST trooper can use almost every gun similar to the master chief why on earth would they not be able to duel wield? What was the reason an ODST solider cannot pick up two guns? Obviously bungie just did this to change around the gameplay, but once again its nothing youíre really going to think changes the flow of gameplay.
The Hammer guys are still a bitch to kill
When playing through the campaign of ODST you will defiantly see a new approach to the story telling. Youíll be investigating the deaths of certain squad members that you dropped onto New Mombasa with. The storytelling will seem a lot different at first, but it grows on you. At first I wasnít really a fan but as I started investigating and replaying through the scenes it got enjoyable. Basically youíll be scowering the city to find certain ďbeaconsĒ that will take you to a playable scene explaining the events that unfolded.
The story did end up disappointing me because of the ending. It was the most anti-climatic ending in any Halo game yet. When I finished Halo 3 I remember chills going down my spine as I was so thrilled and curious to what was about to happen. Watching the ending cut scene in ODST I just ending up feeling extremely disappointed. I expected much better from bungie, especially since the starting scene to the game was so strong.
If thereís one thing you can still count on, itís the soundtrack. Playing through the campaign youíll get pumped and motivated through many of the tracks in the game. Bungie has had a real good knack for FPS music.
Bungie also hasnít changed around much of the graphics. It still runs of the same engine Halo 3 did. This doesnít mean the game is ugly though. The cut scenes look fantastic and you will still be amazed at some of the art work in the game. Lots of regular halo scenery that youíre used to, but really defined this time around. Areas in which you will fight during the daytime are really nice. In short, the graphics are nothing to lose your breath over but still work with the game great.
Aside from the campaign, ODST offers a new mode called firefight. Do you remember ďHorde ModeĒ in GoW2? Well itís basically that, with a halo spin on things. Waves of multiple covenant coming at you is just about as fun as it sounds. You and youíre friends will need to use good teamwork to make it far. But does firefight justify buying ODST if youíre not a single player type guy? I would say it really depends on the type of person you are. If you were super addicted to the horde mode in GoW2 then firefight is right up your alley. Otherwise, if youíre just looking for a new fresh multiplayer aspect firefight may not have the ability to keep you addicted and playing till Christmas. It depends on your friends really.
In addition to firefight Halo ODST has a second disc with all the Halo 3 maps ever made plus three new halo maps. If you still play Halo 3 religiously youíll love this. Although for those who payed for all those maps previously it will feel like a bit of rip off. Youíre essentially paying for something you already have.
Halo 3: ODST is advertised as a new approach to the halo series. This raises the question, how different is the gameplay really? Well itís not all that different. It feels much like previous games in regards to the AI and most guns. The static health bar and inability to duel wield donít exactly change the way youíre going to be thinking of playing Halo. Playing on the lower difficulties you will feel like master chief did in Halo 1 Ė Run and gun, then get a few health packs. A bit more caution will need to be used in the higher difficulties and firefight. When it comes to the gameplay if you didnít like previous halos you will not have your opinion changed when you play ODST. Yet, if you enjoyed previous Halo games you will still have fun playing through the campaign just donít expect any drastic changes. The storytelling is different but in a good way. The ending is anti-climatic and is sure to leave you feeling disappointed. Ultimately, if your deciding whether ODST is worth the 60$ price tag you really need to relook over what you enjoy about Halo games and if some more of the same with a few exciting tweaks will still appeal to you.
Presentation - 9.0/10
Excellent cut scenes compliment the different style of storytelling. Some work could have been used on the ending.
Graphics - 8.0/10
Looks similar to Halo 3 but the scenery is more vibrant and defined. It works well with the game.
Sound - 9.5/10
Everything from the sound effects to voice acting is superb in ODST. The soundtrack really motivates you during battles.
Gameplay - 8.5/10
For a game that wants you to rethink how you play Halo it doesn't actually change much from the classic gameplay. It's still very much the same Halo we've been playing for years, but it's fun. Firefight is a blast with friends.
Lasting Appeal - 9.0/10
The campaign lasts around 5hours but if Halo multiplayer is your thing this game could last you for a long time.
8.5/10 - Great
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Edited by Plasmic Fury, 30 September 2009 - 10:13 AM.