There’s very little to be said about Halo 3: ODST that many people haven’t already discovered for themselves. As a Bungie game, based in the Halo Universe, hopes were always high for this one. Sadly, much of the game fails to please the vast majority of people.
I must start here by stating I am a very big fan of ODST: I think it is a very well made game, and is highly enjoyable, however I cannot fail to see the inherent bad decisions which were made with it.
FPS games have always been my preference, and like most other XBOX gamers, Halo is up there. I myself have always found the games a little repetitive, yet somehow fully immersing. Of course, I always play it co-op, and that may color my judgements somehow.
ODST’s story mode is an interesting side-story to the main series, and has you playing as an Orbital Drop-Shock Trooper, the UNSC’s toughest soldiers (sans SPARTANS). To accommodate this, you have a new health scheme of a weak rechargeable shield, and a health system which requires health packs, somewhat reminiscent of the health in the original Halo. This makes your character weaker, and requires a bit more strategy than just run-and-gunning your way through the levels.
Instead of the standard linear progression, you start off in the streets of New Mombassa, as a sort of world hub, and from there you must examine the city to find clues to the whereabouts of the rest of your squad. The system works well enough, but can be tedious at times as the constant hunting for levels just gets boring. It also serves to remind you that despite the time that went into ODST the game itself is little more than an expansion pack rather than a full instalment. The level designs just don’t have the same thought in them as the previous games, and progress even more linearly than usual.
The big difference in ODST is the multi-player. Although the disc came with the full Halo 3 multiplayer experience (a bitter pill in my eyes) the only mode in ODST is Firefight.
Firefight is my current target. Gears of Wars fans will know the basic idea as Horde, as well as various other names from various other games. It’s not exactly a new idea, but it is a very successful one. Games have you in a small level; taken from sections of the storyline; where you just have to survive through waves, rounds and sets of incoming enemies. Each game progreses the same: You get 5 waves of increasing enemies, then you go up a round. Each round adds a new effect-skull to the game to increase the difficulty: small skulls, such as Tough Luck, Catch and Black Eye. After that your round will increase with larger skulls, using Tilt to make enemies considerably tougher. Complete the way through an entire set, and you get a bonus round (all skulls on) , then skulls begin to mix up a bit.
Firefight is what Bungie have obviously expected everyone to do and they have filled the achievements with Firefight points scores. These are easily earned, but take a drastic amount of time. The biggest drawback of Firefight is that there is no matchmaking; any games that you play must be done with friends. This does stop you getting people dropping out or just playing for themselves, but can also leave you a little on your own at times, since not everybody will want to play when you do.
Overall, the game is good, but disappoints the majority of long-term fans as being a bit ‘thrown-together’. It’s not really one for replayability, but can give you a fair amount of fun as you try to kill Hunters while Wraiths shoot at you.