Flash Review

“Prepare to Drop”

Halo 3: ODST

Clip Description:Various gameplay from Bungie’s Halo 3: ODST.

Length: 5:10

+ The Good - The Bad
+ Fire Fights
+ Audio Logs
+ Music
- Should have been DLC
- Very repetitive
- Only 6 Hours long
Todd “…I’m beginning to think that the O.D. in O.D.S.T. stands for overpriced DLC… “
Halo O.D.S.T. is not the great start to the fall game season I was hoping for. This new chapter in the Halo story is not a terrible game in any sense but I don’t believe it’s the blockbuster people have been waiting for. You start O.D.S.T. as the rookie and the last member of your squad. The stories take place in New Mombasa and are played through the eyes of the rookie and other members of your squad through flashbacks that take you through the action they saw while giving you a more complete picture of what happened in New Mombasa. Some new additions to the game include your visor, which allows you to outline enemies and environment making it easier to see what is around you. Also throughout the game you will find audio logs telling some back story which was a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the campaign felt like it got old very quickly and felt like it had no variety in locations or enemies. The hub in the campaign made me feel like I played in one level for the duration of the game. The enemies in the game left a desire for more, feeling like I was fighting the same exact battle over and over. More variety in locations, environments, and enemies would have been a welcome addition and may have made the game feel whole and worth the price. A big change to the gameplay is your health; while playing this game your health does not automatically replenish. Instead, you have a shield which gives you some protection and will power back up if you get out of the line of fire for long enough. To replenish health you must pick up health packs. I thought that the health system was good for this game and made you feel more human.

When it comes to how the game looked, sounded, and controlled, Halo O.D.S.T. was well done. The soundtrack was well composed and the new music created some great atmosphere. Controls in this game were very solid and did not differ much from other Halo games. Some small changes like the X button being your visor and up on D-pad being your marker were welcome additions and were very comfortable to use. The graphics in O.D.S.T. were well done; I don’t feel that they were any better or worse than Halo 3. Over all O.D.S.T. looked and played well with no screen tearing and very few jaggies or technical problems. Textures and character models were well done, but the character faces could have been a little more detailed. A new addition to the franchise is the firefight which is co-op and is very fast paced and fun, putting you and friends up against wave after wave of enemies and will give hours of fun.

The multiplayer left a bad taste in my mouth. It is Halo 3 multiplayer which comes on a separate disc with all of the Halo 3 maps that have been made and three new ones. This makes it feel like they are force feeding you these maps whether you want them or not. Many Halo fans already do, but if they don’t why should they be forced to buy them? With the non-robust campaign lasting only about 6 hours and the forced multiplayer maps, I am beginning to think that the O.D. in O.D.S.T. stands for overpriced DLC. Overall, this game evoked a few emotions in me. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Laugh at anyone who actually paid full price for something that should have been a download, and cry to think this is the kind of thing game companies are selling as a full game. Halo O.D.S.T. played well and was put together well but I don’t believe it warrants the price, and I believe that even some hardcore Halo fans will be disappointed.

+ The Good - The Bad
+ Firefight Mode
+ “Beacons” Tell the Story
- Overpriced
- Same Old Halo
Jason “..I couldn’t help but wonder why this wasn’t just DLC?…”
The hardest thing about O.D.S.T. is remembering you are not Master Chief. Playing as “normal” soldiers is an adjustment. And not having any radar or health regeneration does take some getting used to. But after a few firefights, I welcomed the change. Searching for health packs and enemies through each scenerio gives a sense of desperation as you search for your other squad members.

The best part of O.D.S.T. is how each scenario is introduced. At the end of each segment you find an item which begins the next story. Each item is the “beacon” you are searching for. This is a clever way to have the story unfold. The only problem is that the story unfolds rather quickly. Regardless of how long it takes to finish the game, the story itself is short. It can be masked by playing on Heroic or Legendary, but this only prolongs the game because of difficulty, not story length. After finishing the campaign I couldn’t help but wonder why this wasn’t just DLC.

Bungie and Microsoft’s justification to the $60 price tag? A new multiplayer mode called Firefight, and a second disc containing all 24 Halo 3 maps, plus 3 new maps from Halo 2‘s Heretic ship.  Firefight is similar to GoW2′s Horde mode, only in Firefight the player can achieve medals. This would be a bargain if you lived in a vault for the past 2 years, or are giving Halo a try for the first time. I get the feeling this was just a way to cash in on Halo fans love for the series. I have played all the DLC for Oblivion and Fallout, so in my mind, due to the length of O.D.S.T. there is no reason why it wasn’t simply downloadable. I do like Bungie telling the side stories through games instead of books. Maybe we can get more of these story bits, but on XBLA next time.

+ The Good - The Bad
+ New map & VISR
+ New narrative
+ Great music
- Short campagin
- Only 3 “new” MP maps
- Overpriced
Aaron “…As fresh and fun as campaign mode is, it can be beaten rather quickly…”
For me, the main draw of the Halo series are its sci-fi story mixed with the incredible gameplay found in campaign mode. Bungie changes both these up a little in O.D.S.T., but overall, it keeps the solid feel of the series intact. As Jason mentioned above, the new narrative is a welcome change, and works in O.D.S.T.’s setting. Although it isn’t as fun as playing as Master Chief (no dual wielding weapons or a regenerating shield), taking the role of a different O.D.S.T. member at the start of each chapter is a nice touch and involves the player more than ever.

On the all important gameplay side of things, we get the new VISR (HUD), which is turned on by pressing “X”, brightening up dark areas and drawing a red outline around enemies for easier targeting. The VISR isn’t a major improvement, but it definitely comes in handy, as parts of Mombasa,while good looking, are extremely dark. The most helpful addition has to be the new map (the back button), along with having the ability of pressing up on the D pad for a sort of “super beacon” showing exactly where to head next. This must have been added for the FPS-ing impaired like myself.

As fresh and fun as campaign mode is, it can be beaten rather quickly, like 6-7 hours quickly. “Firefight” may have you playing disc one for a while longer. I, for one, can only take the endless waves of enemies for so long. This had me reaching for that second disc included in the O.D.S.T. case. The main problem with this disc is that die-hard Halo fans most likely own everything on it, save for three “new” redone Halo 2 maps – leaving the short campaign the main draw. That being said, I can honestly only recommended Halo 3: O.D.S.T. to those who don’t already own a certain Halo on the 360 – or for those fans who simply must have a Halo Reach beta key, and everything Halo at the very first moment they can. For everyone else, wait for O.D.S.T. to drop…in price.


Halo 3: ODST

Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie
Genre: FPS
Release Date:  09/22/2009
ESRB: Mature