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Oct 12, 2009

Review: Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST
Microsoft, Bungie
Available for Xbox 360

This week’s game, Halo 3: ODST was a first for this reviewer as I have never played a first-person shooter genre Halo game in my life (played Halo Wars but that doesn’t count as it’s a real time strategy game). Though I’ve had Halo games in my home because of past boyfriends who played them, I’ve never taken any interest in playing them myself even though I liked the game’s main character, Master Chief and I even liked the game’s musical score. Basically I’m pretty much a Halo virigin.

So after some many weeks of fan girl reviews from me, you now get to read my review on the new Halo 3: ODST with no previous views or fan girl love to get in the way of my opinion on this game. But unfortunately I also can’t really compare this game to its previous games, so rather than say what this game lacks this compared to Halo 3 or whatever; I’ll just tell you what I know it does have, rather than what it doesn’t have.

Halo 3: ODST puts you into the role of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper or “Helljumper” who has landed in the abandon city of New Mombasa after a failed drop. The city has been occupied by a small Covenant force and it’s up to you to find out what happened to the other missing members of your team. Rather than playing the game out as just your plain old linear story line, the developers set the game up in a series of detective missions where you must find clues around the city in order to move onto a mission where you play out what happened to one of your missing team members.

Of course, amongst the entire clue finding you still get to kill hordes of the covenant that have brought along a new alien type (a passive type that acts as a shield generator) and some new weapons like the Jiralhanae. Now unfortunately for all you veteran Halo fans, the ODSTs are not apparently as tough as Master Chief and tend to need a few more melee hits to take out enemies. Plus they don’t handle the bumps and bruises of war quite as well as Master Chief either, so don’t be afraid to retreat to safer ground when facing tougher enemies that you would normally take head on with the Chief.

Once you are done with the main campaign story mode which can be played alone or with a friend via online co-op play, you can still enjoy all that New Mombasa has to offer with the new Firefight mode. Playing with up to 4 friends, Firefight mode allows you to defend against a never ending horde of the covenant on various maps from New Mombasa. The only feature which would have been a nice addition to this mode would have been open online game play as you can only play this online with people on your friends list.

Included in the ODST box was a second disc which includes all the available Halo 3 maps you could possible own and while is a great feature for someone like me who doesn’t own Halo 3, Halo fans didn’t seem to be too impressed (what I read online) to purchase a $60 game featuring a 5 hour campaign game, a new online firefight mode that they could only play with friends and a map disc full of stuff they already owned. But taking into consideration that the game does give players access to the Halo Reach beta when it comes out, this whole deal might just be worth the $60 to fans for just the beta access alone.

Being that I’ve never played any Halo games before, this is my first time really looking at the world of Halo closely (I may have looked at it once or twice when the ex-boyfriend played) and I have to say it is darn pretty - like Blade Runner meets the US Army. The world of Halo is very futuristic from the building design to the aliens you fight to the weapons you use. There were a few glitches in the game that caused me to get stuck in a death loop after I jumped on board a banshee and somehow stand on top of a brute’s head which were both pretty darn annoying. This is something that you wouldn’t expect from a game company that has had 4 games to get it right by now.

The music I am familiar with thanks to Guitar Hero 3 and Video Games Live and while the electric rock epic track were fabulous for heading off into battle, the rest of the music didn’t seem to pop up at the appropriate times. When I’m killing covenant, I really don’t like to hear jazz music or adult contemporary, no matter how cool it sounds so please leave that stuff where it belongs – at the sappy moments in the game.

Based on my Halo newb opinion, I have to say that even though this was a short experience, it was a cool experience for me and I have the urge to check out the previous Halo titles now. I loved playing the main game with my friend as well as the firefight mode and I think this might be the perfect launching game for new Halo players. As for Halo fans, I can’t really say how you would review this game but I can saw that the campaign mode has a engaging storyline and the firefight mode I would assume should be addictive to all, but there’s still that pesky second disc with all the Halo 3 maps. Just try to focus on the Halo Reach beta and maybe you won’t be bothered by the thought of buying stuff you already own.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Buy it!

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