Review by KaizokuZack
"Nothing New, Perfectly Playable"
This is a review of Halo 3: ODST. Many fans of Halo will recognize the City, New Mombasa from the games Halo 2 and Halo 3. The first thing you'll notice is that this game plays the EXACT same as a standard halo game. In this review I'll discuss the differences between ODST and a normal Halo game, and what problems I see with ODST that keep it from being better than average.
The campaign takes you through the roll of ODST Rookie and his squadmates, all whom are separated after the events of Halo 2 where the ship jumps to Delta Halo. The rookie searches New Mombasa for clues as to the whereabouts of his comrades.
The rookie will play mainly during the night, while other characters play during random times throughout the day. There are only a handful of different environments, and you will feel like you've played through them before either from the Alleys of New Mombasa in Halo 2, to the plains and valleys outside of the city that feel like Tsavo Highway.
The Campaign is relatively simple, with some collectable audio notes in place of skull searching. The city itself is an "Open World" however the game will feel very linear, as you will primarily head from the closest beacon to the next. Overall the story is nothing spectacular, you don't feel too connected to any of the characters to care.
PS - ODSTs are voiced by actors from the show Firefly.
This games saving grace comes from this mode. In Firefight you will fight HORDES of enemies in 4 waves that fit a level, and 4 levels that fits a set. Expect to see every enemy in the game, from Invisible Brutes to Engineers.
Its really fun with four people. But that's about it. One person, probably even two people is quick suicide and un-fun. Lots of the maps from Firefight are ripped right out from the campaign, where they have to be unlocked from.
PS - Fight as a group or lose. And watchout for Sniping-Wraiths. They're really really good for some reason at blasting you where you don't expect it.
So what good does ODST bring to the Halo Universe?
Halo ODST gives us a chance to play a few characters with actual faces behind their helmets, each with some personality that makes them at least semi-likable. Though it is awesome to play the ultimate space-marine/hero, it is lacking that he says probably two full sentences throughout three games.
ODST brings back the Brute Plasma Rifle, and brings in a silenced SMG and scoped pistol. The BPR is really good at knocking out enemy shields, while the silenced SMG and scoped pistol are cool but lacking. The SMG is weak and killed enemies still alert their squad, while the pistol while extremely accurate, doesn't do enough damage to make it comparable to the Halo 1 pistol.
Engineers are also in the game after being ripped out of the games since Halo 1. Though they are in Halo Wars, they're not relevant to the story unlike ODST. These engineers are armored with their own shields and can boost enemy shields. Their true purpose in New Mombasa is not known, though if you've read the books you'll have some clue as to what they can do.
So what is wrong with ODST?
ODST plays, feels, and looks like Halo 3, which was released in 2007. As far as I can tell, I have not noticed any difference between the movement and jump abilities of the ODST and Master Chief. They can wield turrets and fuel rod cannons, but lack the ability to dual wield even small weapons. They can also JUMP with said turrets, which is something wrong altogether. I suppose this is the reason they can actually kill the brutes with Melee attacks. if you're familiar with books, you'll understand how tough brutes actually are.
The shields are removed, but replaced with an almost identical "endurance" system, which re-stabilizes a character that is near-death. The player will have to pick up health packs to restore their damage, but often you'll find that as soon as you pick up health, you'll take the damage all back in the next firefight.
The Multiplayer is Halo 3. They release 800 Points of new content ($10, 3 Mythic Maps) on a multiplayer disc with the other three map packs (Heroic, Legendary, and the other 3 Mythic Maps). Some see this as a blessing, however I believe that the majority of Halo fans have already downloaded some or ALL of the map packs because they already have Halo 3.
The game's price is $60 for a fairly simple campaign, a fun co-op mode, and a disc with content that most people already have.
Halo 3 ODST is good. My real complaints are issues with ODSTs themselves, I feel Bungie/Microsoft were lazy, and rather than recreating this game for a normal-human feel, they kept most of the Spartan aspects in the game. Your characters are simply too good. ODSTs in Halo Canon are the best and effective marines sure, but they are unaugmented, and lack the Mjolnir armor which enables people like Master Chief to do what he can do.
I'm glad Engineers are in a Halo game and they're relevant. They're eight years overdue for some screentime. And they look GOOD. The ODSTs look good too, but the older models such as brutes and other covenant infantry haven't had an update since 2007 and kind of stand out compared to the more polished environment.
Overall the game looks good, sounds good,, plays good, but theres nothing really new here and there are some serious issues that at least keep me from seeing this game as anything but average.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 09/28/09
Game Release: Halo 3: ODST (US, 09/22/09)
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