Review by Shananagainz

"Amazing game, but is it worth the money?"

Halo is the staple "Shoot 'em up" game of the video gaming world, alongside contenders such as half-life, Unreal Tournament, and various others, With the release of Halo Wars, the series deviated from the popular FPS genre to more obscure isometric, Real time strategy game, leaving a lot of Halo fans in the dust wondering what happened to their beloved carnage fest, looking at something boring and time consuming, while others were near speechless, saying that it was about time that this event had happened in the Halo series. Well, with the most recent launch in the Halo series, Halo 3: ODST, the series returns to its more familiar genre of video gaming, with some minor upgrades, view changes, character introductions, and some weapons.

Storyline:The story arc in ODST takes place during the events of Halo 2, after the prophets make a jump into space from Earth, causing the city of New Mombasa to be severely damaged and nearly destroyed. You are an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, or ODST for short, and for those unfamiliar with the formal term, Helljumpers. ODST troops are famous for their abrupt entrance into the battle by way of a mini-pod launched from ships orbiting Earth, as well as their sweet armor. Anyhow, Your troop, consisting of Yourself, Mickey, Romeo, Dutch, Buck, and your commander, Captain Veronica Dare drop to the city of New Mombasa under the guise of boarding the ship that the prophets are on, only when Dare "changes" the plan do things go awry. The damage occurring from the ships jump is enough to destroy most of the city and knock you out for the better part of six hours. You wake up only to find that it is nighttime, and the city is occupied by the covenant forces. In order to find out what happened to your teammates, you are tasked to find them by finding certain objects (Helmets, Mortars, Sniper Rifles). When the object is found, you experience an event through one of the team members eyes up until a certain point. many of these events take place before you even wake up, making a good amount of levels take place in the day, and some at night. But as you find more objects, you unravel the mystery of where your missing squad members are. Overall, the story is more mystery than action, but it's a good diversion from the main series. Overall the story gets a 9/10.

Gameplay: The gameplay of Halo 3: ODST is generally the same as any other Halo game, but with some more feature added, and some taken away, but I'm going to go with the more important ones first. One bad thing about the game is no dual wielding. A rather sad thing, but I realize the ODST troopers are not as skilled in armed combat as the MC, but it doesn't mean I can be sad. Some new features make their way into the game. The silenced SMG and the auto-mag pistol are your standard weapons and amazingly good, and handy, though low ammo count plagues the SMG. Another useful thing, VISR mode helps the user see in the dark, and indicates friendlies, enemies, weapons, and items of importance. Friendlies and enemies are green and red respectively, while weapons and items of importance are a darker yellow and lemon yellow respectively. With pre-release reports saying that the agility of the ODST's and the Chief would vary greatly, there really doesn't seem to be all to much of a difference, sure, the ODST's jump a little lower than the Chief, but who says being able to jump ONLY 4 feet in one leap is a bad thing? Anyways, Health packs make another return in the series, with their last appearance in Halo 1. The system is essentially the same as Halo 1. You have stamina, and the health. Stamina loss turns the screen red, and if enough damage is sustained, the your health starts being chipped away until you die. Game play overall is the same, with some minor tweaking, but all the same is still great and fun to play, getting a 8/10 for me.

Graphics: Grand, I felt immersed in the world of Halo, with every gunshot lighting up my gun and my enemy, the scenery is bleak and beautiful at the same time. The enemies have been tweaked a bit, with Jackals holding different weapons, and grunts looking more alien-like up close. This game does an amazing job at looking pretty, much like Halo 3 does, but I have to hand it off to ODST, for some minor graphical updates Bungie made to the game. Graphics get a 10/10.

Multiplayer: Aside form the four player online and two player offline in the campaign, there is also Firefight. Firefight, which is new to ODST, is like Gears of War's Horde mode, where endless waves of enemies try to kill you and whichever other unfortunate soul happens to be playing with you, and they won't stop until you die. While there is the lobby system where you can gather up groups of friends who have the game, you can't search for games in Firefight, which is a bummer to be honest. Unlike Gears however, you don't feel cramped in any arena of your choosing, because every single one the the stages is huge. I find this to be pretty good for any snipers out there, and anyone who feels they need to recharge their batteries during the fight. The actual multiplayer is just a rip of the Halo 3 multiplayer and put onto another disk. The only good thing about it is that it includes three maps that no one else could purchase, and honestly? I think that it would be a real kick in the nuts for anyone who bought every map pack, like, say, myself for instance. The multiplayer in general is fun, and the Firefight is an enjoyable experience for parties and friends. Multiplayer gets a 8/10.

Qualms? I do have one. Reports by Bungie said that they didn't want this game to have a full price tag, because it is not a full game, just a big expansion. I thought this game would have been 30 or 40 dollars at the most. Instead, they package the Halo 3 multiplayer with every map in it. A great deal for one who doesn't even own Halo 3 or any of the maps, but I think it is rather redundant for them to make people who have bought all the maps to do it again. Here's one other qualm I have with the game; Where did the Elites go? You only see two in the entirety of the game, and guess what? They're more dead than a rock.

Overall, Halo 3: ODST is a great game, very enjoyable to play, and has fun multiplayer. I would recommend anyone to buy this, but honestly? Wait for a price drop or buy it used, because this game does not deserve the 60 dollar price tag slapped on it. I would only buy this game new right now only if you were a devout Halo fan, but if you can wait a couple months, that is when it will be truly worth the purchase.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/04/09

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

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