Halo 3: ODST, now we’re really getting old school. Yesterday we reviewed A Kingdom for Keflings and that was a really fun game. But this game is one that I haven’t played very much of before. I’ve owned it since it released, but haven’t actually played it past the first two missions. But now, I’ve had the chance to play it, and we’re going to review it here today. Read on.
I’m hesitant to start this off with a bit of a negative point but I have to. While the campaign is quite interesting and the story is Halo tier good, the campaign is pretty short. The actual missions are interlinked with walking around Mombassa Streets and fighting the odd enemy. They sort of took an RPG approach to portions of this game, and it sort of works. I’m really glad they tried something new, but new isn’t always good. The actual missions are just generic Halo, kill this, drive there, click that, win. That’s basically it for all of the missions, but you take control of a different character every mission.
The campaign revolves around a group of ODST troops that have been dropped and abandoned in Mombassa. Rookie awakes? Awokes? Awokened. Rookie wakes up to find that his squad have scattered and it’s up to you to find them. Very simple, you walk around Mombassa following your minimap looking for clues like the sixth member of Scooby-Doo. Honestly it is quite fun and it’s a break from pace between missions. But does it achieve anything? Not really, you’re just walking about to get to your next mission, it just extends the time you have to play.
Definitely worth noting is that this game comes with a Halo 3 Multiplayer disc. “What is this?” I pretend to hear you cry. It’s literally all of the Halo 3 mutliplayer maps, including custom games and forge. Basically, if you aren’t interested in playing Halo 3‘s campaign, buy this game. Because this game is so cheap now, you can get all the DLC for Halo 3 for about £1.50. That is insane.
Still, that’s not really focusing on Halo 3: ODST now is it? I just talked about a completely different game instead of reviewing this. So back to the subject at hand, how’s the shooting? Halo games pride themselves on being this original type of shooter, but it’s been done so much that it’s just the same old shooter now. I’ve got mixed feelings about the shooting in this game. It’s definitely solid shooting, I’m not going to deny that. This game is a fantastic shooter and it works very well as that. Basically, it’s as good as the previous games in the series, don’t worry about that.
What I don’t understand is why it doesn’t amount to anything. What does this game add to the series as a whole? It doesn’t improve on any elements of the core gameplay, the shooting. What does it honestly add to the shooting? Nothing, there aren’t any new weapons, they’ve actually taken a good chunk of weapons out. Most notably the battle rifle is missing, a real shame for those who like that weapon. Which is everyone.
But if you’re a lore junkie like me, this game is well worth playing. I can’t say I’m up to date with the lore of Halo, but what I can say is that this game keeps in line with the lore. Not only does it keep in line with the lore but it also expands on it too. Fantastic work as usual by Bungie to please the fans. Still, to keep it in line with the Halo lore, it hinders itself in being nothing more than a game that slots in between Halo 2 and Halo 3. That’s not a bad thing, it just limits what the game can do.
Actually, I lied a bit, this game does add something new that we’ve never seen before. Firefight was basically just survival mode from Left 4 Dead but with Halo enemies, not zombies. Surprisingly, it works extremely well and it’s a hell of a lot of fun with friends. Not only that, but it encourages players to play the campaign, as that’s how you unlock more maps for firefight. I thought that was a brilliant way of coordinating both the campaign and multiplayer, by involving the two.
Firefight is my cup of tea to be fair. Especially when you can’t just sit in one place and expect to win the entire match. They’re lengthy games, with each round tougher than the last. Simple formula, executed perfectly.
A bit of a nod to the older games in the series was the inclusion of health packs. I thought this was a nice throwback to previous instalments and it was great to see health packs in a shooter again. Your shields regenerate, but you need to be constantly on the look out for health packs. Surprisingly there aren’t too many, either that or my eyesight is going.
Oh Christ, I forgot to mention the graphics. Yes, all good on the graphical front. Looks great, sounds great and so on. Actually, the lack of exciting music is headache inducing when in the Mombassa Streets. Walking about with no music is an ear sore for all the wrong reasons. Graphically, the game looks grand, it really utilises the Xbox 360 and makes the game look gorgeous.
And of course, a moderately easy thousand gamerscore. You really just have to finish the game on legendary (no problem for those used to the series.) and collect some audio files. On top of that you have to do the Vidmaster achievements, they’re always fun. Oh, and a couple of little things to go along with that too.
But it’s not all peachy, it never is. Now it’s time to take a look at the downsides to this game. We’ve actually already seen a number of the downsides, but there are a couple that I want to go more in depth with.
The main problem I had with the game is the main character. Rookie is a bland, faceless character that we never see again after this game. It’s not much of a spoiler, but he’s killed off in the comics. Now, I don’t read comics, and had to google this to find out, so as far as everyone else is aware, he’s still alive. But in this game I’m pretty sure he’s brain dead, he never says much, if anything at all. He never takes his helmet off so we never get a face to the name. I know Master Chief didn’t take his helmet off but at least we had him for more than one game.
To top it all off, what I found weird was that I lost connection from the campaign because I disconnected from Xbox Live. I was playing single player, so it seems that this game actually has an always online policy of some sort. I got kicked out of the campaign for disconnecting from Xbox Live. Arguably, that is my fault, but Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 keeps going down with no fix in sight. So right, now you’ve got no chance of actually playing this game.
Halo 3: ODST manages to just paddle around in the mediocre section for the longest amount of time. If it weren’t for the multiplayer disc you get with this game I’d suggest renting the game or something equivalent. I mean, to be fair, the game is only a couple of quid now. There isn’t anything awful in the game, but at the same time there’s nothing good either.