Review by Whodoyouthink9
"Prepare to drop in quality?"
On the surface, Halo 3: ODST is a great game. With spruced up textures from the Halo 3 engine and a brand new style of gameplay, ODST delivers something fresh to the table and arguably defects from the creed "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, when you scratch beneath the surface, you'll find the flaws which stop this game from being the masterpiece it could have been. While the gameplay and graphics are nice, H3:ODST fails to meet the standard of the modern FPS by lacking sufficient online qualities for great replayability and offering a campaign that comes up short of the expectation.
Here, we see ODST flourish and wither at the same time. Now, with the Master Chief/messiah figure gone, a lowly ODST rookie must discover what happens to his teammates after New Mombasa has been destroyed by a Slipspace jump from the Covenant. You control said rookie in an open world with a stamina system featuring non-rechargable health (arguably a step back from modern gaming), a lack of dual-wielding, and you must claw around in the dark with a night vision setting that only manages to get in your way. On the bright side, you get a scoped, silenced SMG, a pistol rivaling the range and power of the Halo 1 pistol, and a gameplay experience that offers stealth, suspense, and tension through detours and the rookie's ability to outmanuveur Covenant patrols looking to kill survivors. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't just blow some brains out, but you just need to exercise more caution. As an ending note, the beloved Battle Rifle is taken out, but you'll find the number of replacements to eclipse this disconcerting fact.
There really isn't much to say here. I have to hand it to the art department, they know how to make a game shine no matter the engine. The graphics manage to improve through the use of vibrant textures and an overhaul of faces/objects/etc. by the art department, but it will still be mostly the same H3 graphics that you know and (maybe) love.
They've outdone themselves here. ODST manages to create a feel of mystery while playing jazzy-detective music during your investigations while still capturing the epic battleground feel when you relive the battles of your comrades. Of course, I've never expected anything less from Bungie when it comes to the soundtrack.
Ah, it pains me to say this, but this is the killing factor of this game. In the new multiplayer mode not unlike Horde mode for GoW2, Firefight, you and 3 of your buddies can hop into one of 8 maps, two of which come in night variants and kill some covies. Sounds great, right? Problem is, there is no matchmaking, which is pretty unacceptable considering they've had this game finished since May, but I digress. Nevertheless, Firefight will be a grand experience should you have buddies that love the chaos of killing and the teamwork involved through sharing lives and setting up choke points for the covies to walk into unsuspectingly. It's just a shame though, seeing as this could've been the game of the year, but is now knocked out of the running because of a simple lack of matchmaking for Firefight.
You get 3 new Halo 3 multiplayer maps and the Multiplayer for Halo 3 in this package, but I don't consider it fair to add them to this review considering H3:ODST has enough content to be a standalone game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 09/28/09
Game Release: Halo 3: ODST (US, 09/22/09)
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