It's been a while since ODST's launch, yet once I played the newest installment in the series I discovered I had skipped a game.  Thank goodness I went back and found this hiding gem, for that's exactly what ODST is: A hidden jewel of wonderment. 

The main enjoyment I've drawn from this game came from its unique single-player campaign.  Told primarily through the eyes of the character known as "The Rookie" you wander the streets of a war torn Earth city after an orbital drop goes bad.  The open ended sandbox style of running around causing mayhem really lent itself well to the series, offering both a refreshing take on what was starting to become formulamatic and an entirely different experience from Halo 3's "take on the world" style.  The game knows you are more vulnerable and takes advantage quickly.  The flashback squences that keep the storyline focused provide some nicely human characters to keep things from getting stale. In them you discover that Bungie has shrank the scale of events yet at the same time, they become easier to understand and follow. 

The firefight mode is as addicting as ever providing some extreme challenge in both skill and tactical thinking, though in my opinion it becomes impossible far to quickly.  It is very easy to get through a round and then think that the next will be just as easy, only to find that the black-eye skull has suddenly turned on to make your life miserable.  The variety of the maps just lends to the fun too with each one requiring different tactics and advantages.  The only issue with the firefight appears when you don't have a buddy to play with there to cover your back as it gets Gravity Hammered. 

There are some issues with the game.  Firstly, it was intended to be an expansion pack, thus the graphics run off basically the same engine as Halo 3.  Second, the enemies have a nasty habit of suddenly spotting you in the dark even though you're well hidden.  while this isn't too annoying on Normal difficulty, on Legendary such an occurence is almost always a death sentence. Yet despite some minor shortcomings, ODST shows its true colors well by distinguishing itself from its brtheren but still retains that Halo feel that makes fans remeber why they love this series. Considering this review is being written so much later from ODST's launch, it's price has dropped substantially, making Halo 3 : ODST not only a requirement for any Halo fan to play, but also a video game fan as well.