Review: Halo 3: ODST
Halo: ODST in a sentence: “God that was fun”.
So I’ve played Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, & Halo Wars. I’ve enjoyed them all thoroughly. Halo Wars was different from the rest, obviously, since it was an RTS, but it still had our old favorite, the Spartans. The biggest change for ODST compared to all the previous games was the fact that it lacked the Spartans, completely. There are no Spartans anywhere in this game, and I think that is a good thing. With that change comes the fact that the game mechanics are altered to deal with this.
You play through the game as “The Rookie”, he is the ‘strong, quiet type’, so quiet that he never speaks. In fact, you never even learn his real name, I’m sure there is a purpose to that, hopefully to be revealed at some point in time. Regardless, you run around in an open-ish world, finding clues, and reliving flashbacks from other members of your ODST squad. It seems like a strange mechanic, but it is quite enjoyable. You get to run around and see the city (New Mombasa) in the day and night, and in different situations. Though at the end of the game, you are the rookie, not someone else. Since you are an ODST, and not a Spartan like the previous games, you’re so much more human than before. You can’t bash every enemy to death in one hit (unless you hit them from behind), you can’t jump as high, you don’t have shields and you’re overall more vulnerable.
At first I wasn’t sure what to think about this, but I read one review that summed it up well “If you play like you’re still the Master Chief, you’re dead”. Rough translation: You’ve got to play this game more tactically. You can’t simply run into to a large patch of enemies and expect to survive the fray. You snipe people where you can, you sneak up behind them where you can, and if all else fails, you retreat and use cover.
Overall the game is shorter. John and I played through it on easy (yes, easy, it’s fun to feel like a god), cooperatively over Xbox Live and we finished it in about 4 hours. I would have enjoyed a longer game (who wouldn’t enjoy more of your favorite I.P.), but I didn’t feel “gypped” or that it ended too soon. I think playing through it on harder difficulties will probably take a little longer (maybe another hour, depending on how good you are). It also comes with a Firefight mode which is basically you (and optionally up to 3 friends) fighting wave after wave of Covenant. Damn, that is fun. John and I have played a few 2+ hour games of that. Technically, Firefight doesn’t end till you quit or run out of lives, so it can go on for as long as you like.
In the end, I’d say it is a definite buy for any FPS or Halo fan. $60 may be steep for what some consider a “too short” game, but I can say from experience, I’ve spent $60 on games before and been pissed about it (::cough::COD5::cough::). ODST isn’t one; I’m thrilled with the game. I was excited for ODST and I’m excited for the next game, Halo Reach. Unfortunately I’ve got to wait an entire year!!!