Review by DuskSoul
"New Hero. New Campaign. New Mode. Still Halo."
You know the music; Time to dance
People love new things. People love experiencing nostalgia. When that new song from your favorite artist or band is release, you can't wait to listen to it. But when you go back to listen to one of their beginning songs, you remember how you were back then, how you acted, who your friends were, where you went to school, went to work. Nostalgia can bring tears to eyes. New things can shape new memories. Two of the most beloved things by all of humanity. Now wrap both of these factors together, make it work, and you sir have a copy of Halo 3: ODST. In every way, shape and form, this game will introduce brand new findings, but you'll always, I repeat you will always feel at home in your Halo universe.
You're the Rookie. No one knows his name, and he doesn't really talk at all. Once again, Bungie puts you right into the boots of an unknown, mysterious character for you to fill in. Your squad all have their personalities though. You can figure them out on your own, I'm sure the first cut-scene will give you an idea. Now I will try my best to not spoil any pieces of the story. You are dropped into New Mombasa, unexpected, and you need to find your squad. As you wander around New Mombasa, you will find enemies to battle, Audio Logs to listen to that tell tales of New Mombasa's final hours, and clues to finding what happened to your squad, and what Dare is up to.
There are eight total missions in the game, minus the free roam-able New Mombasa, and six of them are flashbacks. In these flash backs, you will play as your squad mates back while you were knocked out in your pod, telling the story of the battles they fought, how they met up with their teammates and where they are now. The final two missions are played as the Rookie, obviously being the final missions and finishing off the game. The story is fairly straightforward, nothing special, though nothing wrong with it either. Not really any twists at all, just the hope of finding out what the hell is going on around here. Oh, and of course they included their Legendary ending, which will probably leave you with some questions. Overall, very solid story, fun gameplay, unique missions and well put together.
Firefight is everything you're going to want in a halo game. Nonstop waves of covenant enemies getting more powerful each time coming at you. Very challenging, very intense, and boy is it fun. You can have up to four players in a firefight match, two players for split screen and four players over Xbox LIVE. There are ten maps, though two of them are simply night versions of two other maps, so you basically have eight different maps, with two of them having nighttime versions. Firefight is broken down into waves, rounds and sets. Five waves in a round, three rounds in a set. After each set, there is a bonus round where you will try to kill as many grunts as you can. Overtime, skulls will turn on to make the game harder. Many games have these modes, and I have to say this is my favorite by far. It works very well, very fun to compare scores and to try to get high on those leader boards, and a great way to kick some Covenant ass. They won't stop until you're dead. Teamwork is the key in this mode, more than anything else. Get a good team, and get in there.
Halo 3: Mythic: 8/10
Now, I know that this is basically Halo 3 without the campaign. But, you get it with your purchase of ODST. Considering everything here is covered in normal Halo 3 reviews, I'll just touch upon the newer maps, Heretic, Longshore and Citadel. Heretic is the most beloved map, remade from Midship from Halo 2. Great map, you'll love it. The battle for the sword is always raging on. Citadel is a symmetrical map based off of the level "The Covenant" from Halo 3' campaign mode. Fairly small, you must always check your corners. There are two shotguns, one sniper and a rocket launcher on this map, so watch out. Longshore is the larger map, having two ghosts, turrets and plenty of room to run around in. An extend able bridge maps it easier to plant that bomb in your enemy's base. Always look behind you for those Ghosts. The maps are fairly well put together, though Citadel's layout just irks me somehow. I always just find myself getting annoyed with it. Longshore is pretty well done, but it doesn't feel like anything special really. Both good maps of course, just nothing really amazing. Heretic is what makes this pack shine.
Here we are. First of all, Graphics. The graphics are very similar to Halo 3's, though they seem updated a tad. The scenery looks more gritty and darker, well as does everything else. Details are a lot better in this game due to better shadowing. Though, nothing huge had taken place. Now, the music is where I was really blown away. You wouldn't believe this. Marty O'Donnell really has not let his talent go, and I hope he never lets it do. It sounds great. It fits the mood. Some pieces are fast, some are slow and soft. Oh, and guess what's my favorite factor of all time?
That's right. It sounds Halo. No more Halo theme remix, completely new theme song, yet you can still listen to it, take it in, and go, "yeah, this is Halo." My personal favorite is the song called "Rain", which is played after you complete the first flashback mission. Just take a moment and listen to it. I've never, in my entire life felt more emotional about any music in a video game. Video game music? Actually being something amazing to listen to? The thought of it. Ever since Halo: CE, Marty hasn't let down to give us something great to listen to while we destroy the Covenant. Keep up the good work Marty, we're loving it.
I saved the best for last. Gameplay. Now here's where you're going to feel the other portion of nostalgia and new. The weapons shoot the same, feel the same, vehicles drive the same, enemies have very similar tactics. You'll feel right at home.
Wait...what just happened? Did I seriously just die? Yeah, you did. Remember, you're not a Spartan anymore. You're an ODST. Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. Fully human being, a badass one at that but still a human. You can't run in there anymore and expect to win. You need to think of ways to go around enemies, stay back, pick them off one by one, and take your time.
The new health system is very similar to Halo: CE's. Though, instead of shields, you have stamina. Stamina can only be tracked by the redness of your screen and the breathe of your ODST. Then you have a health bar. The only way to recover your health bar is to get a health pack. You take more damage, so watch out. Remember, assassinations are your best friends.
You have some new weapons in your arsenal, and a new piece of equipment. Instead of using things like bubble shields and power drains, press X to activate your VISR. It's simply night vision that outlines enemies, friendlies and objectives. Your new weapons are actually similar to old weapons. The silenced SMG is basically a more accurate version of the SMG from Halo 2 and 3. The Auto Magnum is going to make you feel like Halo: CE again. Remember that pistol? Minus it's shield destroying powers, it's almost the same thing. Then we have the brute plasma rifle from Halo 2, which was all around more badass than the blue one. Though, we have lost three weapons. The original blue plasma rifle, which isn't really much of a loss at all with the new one, the energy sword and the battle rifle. Don't worry, your online Halo 3 matchmaking is still the same. Don't panic.
And so Bungie has succeeded again. First an expansion, then becoming a full blown game. A lot of people say it's not worth $60. I believe it is. A 5-6 hour campaign, firefight mode, and three new maps? Definitely worth it.
WAIT!! YOU FORGOT SOMETHING!
Actually, I was just getting to it. Take what I just said about the price. Now add one something. The beta for Bungie next upcoming game. That's right, folks. The Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta, which will be open in 2010, comes with your ODST disc, and only your ODST disc. Just wait until 2010, and you can fire up this beta and play a piece of the next upcoming shooter.
So, there you have it. Campaign, Firefight, Three new maps and an invitation to Halo: Reach's Multiplayer Beta. Now I'm telling you now. If you really love Halo, get this game. It's a great experience. Of course it has it's flaws, with a lacking of firefight matchmaking and all. But all in all, you'll have great fun, especially with friends. So prepare to drop, and let's aim for 7 billion grunts by next Bungie Day 2010.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/28/09
Game Release: Halo 3: ODST (US, 09/22/09)
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