Halo 3: ODST

Let me begin this by stating, this game has an awful title. The original working title “Recon” was considerably better. Just throwing together a bunch of random letters is not particularly helpful. I can understand if they did not want it to be confused with Halo Reach, which is supposed to come out some time next year. However, they could have just as easily gone with something simple, like “Shock” or “Trooper,” but whatever I guess.

Last week I managed to procure this game. Sadly, I had to put it on a credit card since I am too broke at the moment to be able to pay for it in cash. Hurray for interest. Sadly, since my purchase was delayed, I missed a marathon session with vanberge, and vanlandw (who wussed out and played on Heroic). Luckily, vanlandw was up for a second play through so I was able to obliterate the campaign on legendary with him and my brother, Jason. Good times.

The game itself is basically halo 3, but a little suckier. There is HUD system that obscures a lot of screen, and sucks on split screen. Additionally, they decided to put health back in to the game. So, it effectively works a lot like the original halo, where you have a “shield” and health. I have to say that the past two games have made me a bit soft, because it sucks to have to find health packs again. There are a few quirks in the system as well, for example, if you pick up a turret it makes you run faster, whoops.

When we started there were some serious lag issues. For the first couple of levels the game was lagging so much it was barely playable. However, during this time vanlandw was experiencing smooth game play, so I assume my degraded performance was due to caching data to the hard drive or something. Anyhow, after a few levels everything started working smoothly.

The campaign was pretty fun, not as good as Halo 3, but better than Halo 2. I hate the flashback aspect of it it though. And, the story is not particularly interesting, especially if you listen to the audio clips. The whole “save the girl” storyline…give me a break. The campaign was effectively short though, as the three of us were able to beat it on legendary in under five hours. And, there are not really any tough choke points like there are in Halo 3.

Firefight kind of sucks. It is not fun to solo, period. And, while you can play with friends, there is no matchmaking so if none of your friends on online you’re by yourself. Also, the skull handling is pretty annoying. I would really like to have more control over it. I tend to prefer things that are set so you know specifically what is required of you. This constantly changing the terms of battle only deters from the experience. Even if all they had was a way to “buy” disabling of a skull with points kind of like you do in Cal of Duty: World at War in Zombie mode.

Most of the achievements in the game are pretty easy to get, in fact you get about half of them just by playing through the campaign. However, there are some tough ones, particularly the vidmaster challenges. I am not sure about the fightfight achievements. I haven’t been able to get four people together to play it, and so far the best I’ve done with a group is 120,000, and that took quite a while to get.

I am not exactly sure why, but I think the game designers took a page out of the Gears of War book with the way things are setup. The level designs are much more muted than what I’m used to in Halo. And the “visor mode” just washes things out worse.

Basically, I’d say the game was fun, but not great. I would recommend it to every Halo fan. However, I think that most casual gamers would not get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I’m giving the game a 3 on my undecim rating system.

Author: Jeff

Born a cantankerous old man, mellowed ever so slightly by age.

8 thoughts on “Halo 3: ODST”

  1. I actually really liked campaign.

    I have not had a chance to do much else with the game except for the campaign play through with vanlandw on heroic but I did really enjoy it.

    I liked the “urban combat” feel – sort of left me feeling a counter strike vibe.

    I do agree the story was modest – a simpler and more personal story. The previous Halo games with Master Chief, like the story or not, have a very “epic” feel to them. I think ODST does not have that on purpose – and I was ok with that.

    The other big difference for me was the music. It was vastly different and gave the game a totally different feel. Again, I was ok with that change.

    I liked the HUD modes initially – but then found myself frustrated at changing back and forth so I tend to agree with you on that.

    Overall, I would rate the game similarly to you.

  2. The game is too “dark”. I like the visor mode for the art direction and I believe they use the darkness to hide how dated the graphics and tech is in the Halo 3 engine. I believe in solo mode the visor and more “tactics” could come into play but really if your playin with other people you play ODST much as you would halo 1. Brute force will win all.

    Clearly the main draw to these games is the multiplayer modes and they again do not disapoint. Firefight is is Halo’s “hoard/nazi zombie” mode. I’m so thankful they gave a crap load of maps (even though I believe they are all stolen from the campaign mode). COD should be ashamed for how much they charge for their maps but clearly people are buying them? Nazi Zombie mode is lost on me so to have three maps to play I would have to pay another $20 and that is not happening on a yearly cycle call of duty game.

    Regardless for the most part I agree with you. The 360 halo games get flawless scores from me only because of the online co-op. In my opinion there is not a more fun way to play videogames as I’m a huge fan of co-op so ODST gets a pass because nobody does it better then Bungie. Halo Reach I am reading should have new “tech” so hopefully they can get true HD into Halo with an engine that can do 720p so the visuals pick it up but regardless I’ve gotten my money out of ODST where i thought it was a huge rip. If you can play co-op it’ worth every penny. Halo 3 is a much much better game IMHO.

  3. It’s interesting to see reviews from people who were into Halo Wars Vs. those that weren’t. I wasn’t thrilled with the health packs and lack of dual wield but since the characters aren’t Spartans, it wasn’t surprising. ODST made sense to me from Halo Wars but thinking about it, For others it might not be a great title to use.

    I’m a huge fan of GOW and FireFight comes clsoe to the same amount of fun.

    1. That’s a good point. I bought the limited edition of halo wars to get the first set of mythic maps (had to get sandbox, worth every penny), and I still haven’t played it.

      I agree that the health thing, and lack of dual wield are fine. I did not even notice the lack of duel wield, because it isn’t useful in Halo 3. However, in may ways I still think the ODST are probably too powerful. They play and feel almost exactly like Master Chief, and in firefight you kick more ass than Master Chief.

  4. People said , ODST is really what has been cut off from halo 2 and 1 , thus weaker graphics , and it should be titled Halo 2: ODST , not 3.

    Bungie an M$ is the same combination as EA and their bought studios

  5. You’re crazy– the campaign in ODST is 20x better than the campaign in H3. And I especially LOVED the film noir setting– the darkness is what made the game so intriguing. Also, Firefight is amazing. You’re one of those people that can’t see the beauty in a really good game, and you expect every game to live up to every one of your expectations, even though they were never promised in the first place.

    Now, if Peter Molyneux was lead designer, I might see your point…

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