Review by _Genesis

"Halo just got better."

Story

First off, this section contains a few spoilers – So do read this section at your own risk! Halo 3: ODST begins with Dutch, Romeo, Mickey and the Rookie discussing plans for assaulting the Regret Ship. Buck arrives with Dare and she is introduced as the leader of the operation. As the Troopers enter their one man Human Entry Vehicles (HEVs) the trajectory of the HEVs changes and all goes wrong from there.

As the story progresses the Rookie is looking for clues as to look for what happened to the ODST squad as he had woken up 6 hours after all of the fighting only to find himself alone with his crew dead as he finds each of them, and the other remaining members progressing through the story with their own missions - these being flashback missions to show you what really happened here.

The game takes place during the events of Halo 2, whilst Master Chief is doing his thing and taking out the Covenant and making the Prophet of Regret flee into whatever and wherever.

Graphics

To be truthful, I have never been one to think that Halo's graphics were ever groundbreaking – good, but not the best. But ODST proved just how good the graphics of Halo could possibly be.

Gameplay

As with all of the Halo games, bar Halo Wars, ODST is a first person shooter. ODST plays just like any other first person shooter out there, but does lack any custom control scheme that many other shooters have.

From my experience, ODST incorporates more stealth into its missions as you can walk silently through the dark city and take out the enemies as you go.

As well as having the main separate campaign exclusive to ODST, there is also a Firefight mode. For those of you unaware what Firefight is – think Call of Duty Zombies or Gears of War 2 horde. If you are still clueless, it is a mode where a team of players must fight to survive constant waves of enemies to increase their scores.

This is all well and good having this mode; however there is no public matchmaking from what I have seen whilst on the game, therefore this mode can only really be enjoyed with friends via Xbox Live.

Replayability

ODSTs campaign is short – ranging from 4 to 6 hours at most - there no doubt about it, but seeing how this is somewhat of an expansion pack this is understandable. Whilst you may not wish to constantly play the campaign – assuming you have friends on Xbox Live – Firefight is right where you'll want to be at, as it provides hours upon hours of fun, trying to get new scores and medals, and with the addition of skulls, there will always be something different to try out here.

In the box of ODST a second disc is also included, for those unaware what this is, quite simply it is the complete multiplayer experience from Halo 3, and it means complete. It comes with the original 11 Halo 3 maps, and all the additional map packs that the players of Halo 3 were originally charged for, PLUS… 3 brand new maps that are exclusive to Halo 3: ODST. Halo 3 is still extremely popular online constantly being at the top of the Xbox Live activity charts, so there is and always will be people online, with multiple game modes – such as free for alls, deathmatches and objective based games.

What's more, ODST also features the full Forge map editor from Halo 3 so if a map is not to your liking you can easily go and edit it and make it how you wish for it to be.

Sounds

Halo has always been one to have a great music score no matter what, and this is again true for ODST with the music greatly reflecting what is happening at the time of gameplay. The voice acting is also superbly done as are the sound effects, as they have that truly “sci-fi” feeling and sound to them.

Overall

Overall, Halo 3: ODST is a great purchase, and a great addition to the Halo series. Whilst the campaign is short, it is good and challenging – more so than previous games as on the higher difficulties you cannot truly “run and gun” as you die a lot quicker.

Truth be told, I have never really been that much of a Halo fan. Sure I, like most others, loved Halo: Combat Evolved, it truly revolutionised first person shooters today and was perhaps even the best game on the Xbox. But for me Halo 2 and Halo 3 never really… *Clicked* … And sure, I was sceptical of this purchase at first but now I am glad that I did.

For 40 pounds, or $60 for you guys in the States, for an “expansion pack” may seem a lot, but for this game it is more than worth it. You're getting a whole new game, half of Halo 3 and every single piece of downloadable content for Halo 3 all for the price of a normal game. Now to me, that is an amazing deal.

Now onto the review score… Overall, I give Halo 3: ODST 9 out of 10. It is a solid first person shooter with a great story and great replayability all at a great value! What more could you want? Whilst not a true sequel, it is still definitely worth the purchase!

Final Impressions:
+ Great story
+ Great value
+ Great replayability


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/25/09, Updated 10/21/09

Game Release: Halo 3: ODST (EU, 09/22/09)


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