The Embargo finally lifted and here is our Halo 3 ODST Review. Apologies for early release of this review.
Halo 3: ODST is easily one of the most anticipated games of 2009. Originally planned to be a simple downloadable add-on, Halo 3: ODST eventually became much bigger than anyone could have anticipated and soon found itself releasing as a standalone disc. Along with a new Halo game comes tons of hype, but does the game live up to it’s hype?
Halo 3: ODST takes place between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3. Halo 3: ODST tells the story of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The game focuses on these UNSC soldiers rather than on Master Chief or any other Spartan. The ODST team is sent to infiltrate and eradicate the Covanent infestation from New Mombasa, but quickly find themselves separated. The rookies now have to fight their way through and regroup. So, how well does this sidestory add to the plot?
Does it bring some much needed extra content? Let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOTs of Halo 3: ODST
VISR Heads Up Display – a New Feature
One of the things that I find interesting in ODST is the new HUD called VISR. The VISR helps in many ways such as detecting enemies from a distance, or enhanced night-vision for help in the darker areas. This honestly makes Halo 3 feel dated. The VISR help tremendously when facing a swarm of enemies. Having the distant detection helps set up strategies and flank the enemies.
To get a better understanding of what’s going on in the New Mombasa, players can access the “Audiophiles”. These files are scattered throughout the game and each one offers a bit more info on the history of New Mombasa. The files are played through the VISR and consist of still images and audio, adding a nice creepy element to the storytelling.
The health bar and shield has been totally redone. In past Halo games, Master Chief relies on hiding to regenerate his health bar, but in this game you have to find and use a Med Kit or a Medical Kiosk. This adds a new feel of challenge to the game.
There are some pretty awesome new weapons in this game such as the silenced SMG and silenced magnum. The Red Plasma Rifle that the Brutes used in Halo 2 make return here, and best of all they can be picked up and used by the ODST team.
New Co-Op Mode; Firefight
Aside from the standard online multiplayer, a new co-op mode is introduced, Firefight mode. Similar to Horde in Gears of War 2, Firefight mode is a co-op game that works in levels. It consists of three rounds, each round bringing a new wave of enemies and increasing the difficulty level. The final round will pit players against the Brute Chief. There are several maps available from the get go, but more can be unlocked by playing through the campaign.
Emotional and Dramatic Storyline
The story here is very well done and can get quite dramatic at times. Unlike Master Chief who is a perfect soldier, the ODST members are just normal humans. Not to mention, by placing this game on Earth, and in a specific city, Bungie was able to add a much-needed human element to the story. The Audiophiles help further tell the story of this city, and by the games end will leave players with a tear in their eyes.
The actions and excitement are still in the game
Nothing has changed here. The action and excitement that you felt in past Halo games is still intact. Taking out Scarabs, driving scorpions, and the overall Halo action is still as great as always.
The soundtrack is what we’ve come to expect from the Halo series. Every track fits perfectly and creates the perfect atmosphere. Couple that with some amazing voice work and your ears are in for a treat.
Should’ve been a DLC instead of Retail Game
This game originally started as a downloadable expansion and it should have stayed that way. There really isn’t enough content here to warrant being on a retail disc, or its outrageous $59.99 price tag. Bungie should have taken a cue from Rockstar and made this a $20 expansion.
The game is short, VERY short. I was able to complete it in less than six hours. The missions aren’t long and for anyone who’s familiar with Halo, won’t pose much of a challenge. Sure, there are some fun moments, but this game is way too short for it’s price.
I mentioned earlier how great the storyline is, it’s unfortunate that this great storyline is brought down by a horrid ending. I won’t give any details, but I personally felt very disappointed at how the game ended.
Halo 3: ODST is a disappointment. The story starts off great, but can’t maintain its consistency and by the end is just a let down. This started off as DLC, and it’s obvious that it should have remained as such. The new co-op mode is nice, and at times the single player campaign can be thoroughly entertaining. However, the 60-dollar price tag and short story mode really bring this game down.
When Bungie announced this would be released on a disc for full price, we all expected a much longer and much more complete game. Halo 3: ODST feels like a cheap money grab and there’s very little reason to buy it. It’s obvious now why the Halo: Reach beta was included. This game isn’t worth a purchase. If you are interested in the story, give it a rental, it won’t take you more than a day to complete it.
Game completed under 6 hours. Played Firefight a six times to get the feel of the game. Halo 3: ODST will be released for the XBOX 360 on September 22, 2009.