There are two camps of thought when it comes to opinions about the Halo franchise. Either it's a reinvigorating and innovative FPS that deserves the utmost praise, or the camp which believes that Halo is the unsightly stain on the wedding gown of video games; If you know me, you'll know I fall into the former camp.
After the disappointing single-player in Halo 3
, it seemed like the fight against the Covenant was finished. However, Bungie had another story to tell. Halo 3: ODST
was originally envisioned as a expansion pack for Halo 3
, but became, as Bungie put it, a story all it's own. The story takes place in between the events of Halo 2
and Halo 3
, where you are the aptly named "Rookie". You're apart of an elite squad of soldiers known as the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, or ODST. What begins as an assault on a Covenant carrier, as the alien group is attacking Earth, turns to a SNAFU as the squad is scattered and it's up to the Rookie to piece together what has happened to them.
The audio, much like it has been in the past Halo games, is fantastic. Guns give off distinct sounds as they are fired and reloaded, the music has pieces of intimacy conjuring up feelings of uneasiness as well as epic swells during battle, aliens have their distinctive speaking patterns, and the ODST themselves are expertly voiced by acting veterans in the Sci-fi genre, including Tricia Helfer, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and Adam Baldwin. Everything from the shots of your SMGs, to the (sometimes hilarious) battle cries of grunts, all the sounds in Halo 3: ODST
are spot on. As graphics go, Halo 3: ODST
has already supplanted it's predecessor, Halo 3
. Facial textures were probably the most glaring eye sore from the original game, and that, my friends, is now a thing of the past; while the faces aren't up to caliber with games such as Mass Effect
or Half-Life 2: Episode 2
(And yes, I still hate Half-Life 2
), the faces are excellently articulated to express the emotions of each character, when they're shown. The models in each cutscene also seem to move more fluidly than previous Halo games, giving the characters an extra sense of animation that past characters have not.
The new VISR mode, unlike other games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum
, is not completely intrusive compared to the regular view as it simply illuminates the night and the enemies, a helpful tool when darkness descends during night fights. The story in the game is definitely worthy of being included in the Halo lore, especially if you try to find out all the little side-stories and easter eggs scattered throughout the single-player. ODST
plays much differently from Halo 3
. As the Rookie investigating where your squad mates have gone, you will be playing night missions which focus on more tactical actions whereas the rest of the squad's stories are action oriented.
You'll soon realize that you are not the Master Chief. You can't jump as high, you'll take fall damage from closer than you think, and you can only take so much punishment. By removing such abilities as regenerating health and duel wielding, you'll begin to take on more wise approaches to attacking your enemies. No Rambo for you. The single-player is relatively short with an approximate length of 6-8 hours depending on your skill level. For you multiplayer enthusiasts (aka Nerds), the game also comes with all the downloadable maps and three new ones for Halo 3. Also, you'll be getting the new
Gears of War 2 ripoff
original game, Firefight, where you and your friends can team up to fight a never ending onslaught of Covenant baddies. Although, Firefight is not exactly an original idea, it is given a Halo flare by adding such additions as shared lives and triggered skulls (making your game more difficult as time goes by).
So, is Halo 3: ODST
worth $60, you say? Unfortunately, no. Like me in the bedroom, the story is over too quick and, while the extras are good for a Halo 3 fanatic, there isn't enough to qualify this as a full $60 purchase.
My rating: Buy When Cheaper
Halo. Halo. I don't know why you say goodbye, I say Halo.