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Halo ODST: a very fine Sci-Fi First Person Shooter

  • Jan 6, 2010
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I’ve just been playing Halo ODST, the latest installment of Bungie/Microsoft’s actually-very-good first person shooter series.




I came to the series recently, buying Halo 3 when I got my Xbox 360 last year.  Initially I thought that Halo 3 was just another sci-fi FPS, of which there are so many and so many are so poor.  What became quickly obvious is that a lot of thought and work has been put into the player experience.  The cinematic set pieces you fight through and the way the good if sort of overly-serious (in a sci-fi way) orchestral score fits the action are really spot on and add a sense of massiveness to the experience.   The  play-through is addictive and compelling, especially on ‘Heroic’ difficulty where running and spitting bullets results in a speedy death.  I was drawn into the complicated world bungie had set out even though the story is seriously clichéd and silly.  I even found myself feeling sympathetic towards the camply-monikered Master Chief, the protagonist through whose eyes the game unfolds.

I think I enjoy ODST more because I’ve already played Halo 3.  Knowing some of the back story makes you feel more involved with the narrative . ODST takes place on Earth between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3.  You play as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper - not  Master Chief.  At the start of the game you’re dropped from an orbiting spacecraft into New Mombassa where a battle is raging.  As you drop a huge Covenant (the alliance of enemy alien races) ship jumps into the Halo equivalent of warp scattering you from your team mates.  You wake six hours later.  It’s night and you’re alone.  The city at night is atmospheric and dark; there is a remarkably good score which gives the game a film-noir feel; the art and models that make up the city gives the whole thing a Blade Runne feel.  As you fight your way through the citiy you find objects connected to your lost team mates, each one sending you to a flashback where you re-live the experience of your team mate from the point at which they dropped.

The engine is the same as Halo 3 which is just about showing it’s age, certainly in the cutscenes using in-game graphics.   However the excellent things like the good enemy AI and the vehicle combat are all still there.  There’s still a pleasure in sniping a Brute and watching the grunts in his squad panic without thier commanding officer.  Ditto to leaping out from behind a boulder and wasting a wraith tank with your Spartan laser.  What’s cool about ODST is that because you’re playing as a regular human rather than the genetically and armour-enhanced Spartan Master Chief  you’re significantly weaker.  I was genuinely shocked when I went to finish a brute off with a my rifle butt and found myself quickly fragged.  Your relative weakness and  the dark city that forms the ‘hub’ of the game results in you sneaking about and being much more stealthy than you  probably would have  been if you were playing as the Master Chief.

All in all the game is a really satisfying experience.  The campaign mode is quite short but it comes bundled with the whole Halo 3 multiplayer experience, so if you’re on Xbox live expect to lose tens of hours of your life.  Possibly more.

I've given it 4 rather than 5 as the campaign is short and if you already have Halo 3 and the downloadable content you're not getting anything new.  However - if you don't have the Halo 3 multiplayer DLC or Halo 3 then this without question would be a strong 5.

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Ranked #2065
Member Since: Jan 6, 2010
Last Login: Jan 17, 2010 01:15 PM UTC
About this video game


Developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by acclaimed developer Bungie, Halo 3: ODST is a new, stand-alone expansion to the Halo saga that lets players experience the events leading up to the epic story told in Halo 3 through the eyes of an entirely new character the ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper), as they search for clues leading to the whereabouts of their scattered squad and the motivations behind the Covenant's invasion of New Mombasa. The game adds a new dimension to an all-encompassing universe that gamers around the world have known and loved since the release of the first Halo game in late 2001.


'Halo 3: ODST' game logo
ODST rookie battling a Covenant enemy in 'Halo 3: ODST'
New hero, old enemy.
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ODST rookie in full gear from 'Halo 3: ODST'
Join the ODST.
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Cinematic cutscreen from 'Halo 3: ODST'
Stunning cinematics.
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Firefight multiplayer mode from first-person perspective in 'Halo 3: ODST'
New co-op multiplayer mode.
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New Campaign, New Hero, New Tactics
Much more than an expansion, Halo 3: ODST allows players to explore dangerous new ground, search the dark, abandoned streets of New Mombasa for clues, and fight back against the Covenant invasion from multiple perspectives. Dropping in as "the rookie," a new member of an elite squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST) sent into New Mombasa on a classified recon mission, you'll be armed with specialized weaponry and upgraded technology, including silenced weapons and a VISR enhanced vision mode.


Separated from your squad, you'll have to scour the city for clues in order to learn what happened to Buck, ...

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Number of Players: 1-4 Players (up to 16 on the Halo 3 multiplayer disk included)
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Bungie Software
Console: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Release Date: September 22, 2009 (NA)
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