Halo 3: ODST

Developer: Bungie
Publisher:  Microsoft Game Studios

Halo 3: ODST is a strange one, it's sort of an expansion only not really and you're supposed to be playing as a regular human only not really and it features a new awesome multiplayer mode... only not really.

The game takes place in the events that occurred between Halo 2 and 3 while the chief was out chasing the covenant through the galaxy,  putting you in the shoes of  'the rookie', a recent addition to a veteran ODST squad (who is mostly voiced by the cast of Firefly, what's with that?) tasked to defend New Mombasa from invading Covenant forces, problem is, you get separated and knocked out for a few hours while on your way there and must now retrace the steps of your teammates and join up with them.

The game has a sandbox feel to it, you wander around in new Mombasa at night, looking for clues (and collectibles), while either fighting or hiding from the Covenant, with neon billboards as your main source of light, this, coupled with the lack of music or the occasional smooth jazz makes for a pretty immerse game. As you come across trails left by your squadmates, the game prompts flashback sequences, where you'll play as the other ODST soldiers, these missions are loud, bright, tension filled and exciting, problem is, they're not very long and there's not that many of them, in fact, the game as a whole is pretty short, you could probably finish it in 3-5 hours, maybe even less.

Now, I like the idea of playing as a normal human, no regenerating shields, no super strength, probably no enhanced jumping, that sort of thing, but the problem is your character control just like the Chief did in Halo 1, part of your health regenerates automatically while the rest requires medpacks, you can still flip over tanks and kill enemies with one or two punches, the one thing you can't do is dual-wield... which of the things I listed, it's the only thing a normal human COULD do (gotta love videogame logic), you also get a pretty neat visor that highlights structure outlines, enemies and useful items, (not really sure why Spartans don't have this neat little feature), but save for that, you character feels and controls just like master chief.

Once you're done with the campaign you can finally try ODST's multiplayer modes... sorry did I say modes? I meant mode, singular, the only mode here is firefight and to make it all worse there is absolutely NO MATCHMAKING, so yeah, good luck with that.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what happened here, the game looks, runs and feels just like halo 3, only shorter in length, with only one multiplayer mode and no matchmaking.

Trivia: Did you know the game was originally planned as a DLC add-on? And once that idea was scrapped it was originally going to be launched at a budget price? No wonder the game feels so barebones.

Trivia 2: The game comes with a disc featuring Halo 3's multiplayer as well as every DLC pack that was launched at the time, might be a good idea to track that disc down if you don't want to spend 30+ dollars on DLC packs

- Missions feature large open areas with a lot of chaotic action
- The Music is pretty good

- Campaign is too short
- Free-roam is fun but largely under-developed
- Only one multiplayer mode and no matchmaking? What's up with that?

Final Grade: C

It's not often I get to say this for a Halo game, but the cover looks great! It captures the mood of roaming the streets of New Mombasa at night perfectly, the colors blend nicely, the rookie's armor is well detailed, finally, a good cover from a Halo game.

Unfortunately, when you open the case expectations drop quite a bit, for starters there's no poster this time around.
We have the usual 48 hour Xbox Live trial, but instead of featuring the awesome cover art from the game, it's just a green and white piece of paper with two avatars raising their arms.

The manual is a bit of disappointment as well, yes it does feature some backstory, but all of the character, weapon and vehicle descriptions are gone, it even has a boring cover, I get that it's pretending to be a field manual, but you can't just slap "'Field operations guide' on the cover call it a day, how about personalizing its contents? Adding some scribbled notes? Make it seem like it's been used before?

The final sheet paper on the game is a double advertisement for Halo Legends (the anthology movie released for blu-ray) and a teaser of Halo: Reach, I like the Legends art, featuring the Master Chief firing a chaingun, though the Reach promo is a bit bland.

Finally, we have the halo 3 multiplayer disc, the best part of the packaging and arguably the best part of the actual game, as mentioned before it comes with all of Halo 3's DLC released at the time, not much to say there.

Overall, this still a pretty good package but for different reasons then Halo 3, the boxart is awesome, but the manual is pretty lame by Halo standards and the Xbox live trial is just boring, really, the one big saving grace is the Halo 3 multiplayer disc.

Packaging Score: B+

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