ODST's Risky Campaign Offset By An Abundance of Classic Multiplayer Action - Halo 3: ODST - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Halo 3: ODST

ODST's Risky Campaign Offset By An Abundance of Classic Multiplayer Action

Though I enjoyed Halo 3: ODST, my praise comes with a few caveats. On one hand, the campaign is shorter than Halo fans are used to, and considerably smaller in scale. Instead of fighting to save the world as Master Chief, you play a nameless rookie just trying to reconnect with his squad. Series veterans have already seen most of the enemies and weapons they will encounter in the game, and some of the graphics — especially the faces of your human allies — look considerably outdated.

On the other hand, I can’t get enough of the game. Even after two marathon sessions totaling more than 20 hours of play, I was ready to jump right into another match. Although it might disappoint some, the limited scope of the plot also meant that I knew what the hell was going on for once, and the use of nonlinear flashbacks makes the storyline mysterious and intriguing. The fugly characters you’ll come across are quickly forgotten in light of the countless explosions you’ll see (and cause) throughout the game, each scattering vehicle fragments, enemies, and the occasional ally through the streets of New Mombasa.

ODST fixes a few of the problems plaguing the series since its inception. Players finally have a map of their surroundings, complete with clearly marked objectives and the ability to place your own waypoints. Backtracking, an irritating, consistent staple of the franchise, takes place primarily in the open-city sections of the game, giving you the ability to pick different routes through buildings and side streets even if your destination is somewhere you’ve already been. As for not playing as Master Chief? After getting used to the smaller jump and not having a shield (don’t worry, your character’s “stamina” works in much the same way), I didn’t miss the big guy one bit; my new sense of mortality only made my victories over enemy squads that much sweeter. 

For most players, the single-player campaign will serve as a warm-up to ODST’s plethora of multiplayer offerings. The second, multiplayer-only disc is packed with value, sporting 24 maps, the full functionality of Halo 3’s Forge and Theater modes, and an insane amount of player stats chronicled on Bungie.net.

Even if you’re not a fan of Halo’s competitive multiplayer, the new Firefight mode is a refreshingly different experience for the series, delivering hours of fun in its own right. The mode takes the four-players-against-the-world co-op formula that’s so popular nowadays and injects it with the franchise’s top tier A.I. Instead of facing off against rounds of mindless cannon fodder (Gears of War 2) or undead enemies that run toward your explosives (Left 4 Dead), your opponents in Firefight mode are formidable and dangerously clever — even the lowliest grunt can be deadly when he starts whipping plasma grenades. Halo’s battlefields haven’t felt this intense and chaotic since the original game debuted in 2001. In just a dozen or so hours of play, Firefight mode delivered my most enjoyable experiences with the series to date.

Ultimately, Bungie’s newest adventure won’t sway those who have already made up their minds about the series; Halo haters will dismiss ODST as more of the same, while diehard fans will proclaim it the greatest thing since — well, Halo 3. Someplace in the middle is where ODST will make its biggest impact. If, like me, you’ve found yourself slowly falling out of love with Halo over the years, ODST provides a fresh, exciting experience that rekindles your interest in this seminal sci-fi shooter.

 

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User Reviews:

  • 9.50
    Playing as the Master Chief in any Halo game makes you feel close to invincible...that is until your shields give way and you have to find cover...or when a grunt sticks a plasma grenade to your shiny, metal armor,... or when an Elite cuts into you with a plasma sword... or a Brute Chieftain bashes your...
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  • 9.00
    I have a PS3. I don't get to play alot of XBOX360 games. When I played ODST, I didn't know what to expect. I knew it was different, but by how much? I played it, and it was fun. Graphics pretty good. Some mishaps time to time, but overall pretty good. Story descent. Overall it's like 4-6...
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  • 9.25
    It was a great game and still is, you can give all the reasons you want but i like it for one simple reason. That reason is that it takes everything great about Halo and a little bit of an open-world style. You may not be MAster Chief but that doesn't mean your not killing covenant scum and winning...
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  • 9.25
    I was not turned away by the lack of competitive multiplayer, though it would have been greatly interesting to play as an ODST in multiplayer, relying more on stealth than you normally already need to. This game was really fun and was very interesting. This was a more campaign led game and that disappointed...
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  • 9.50
    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...
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  • 9.00
    A year and a half ago I purchased Halo 3: ODST. Originally Halo 3: Recon, Microsoft decided to make a full-priced release out of an otherwise $30 expansion. The result? I don't think it's worth $60, but the price has gone down since launch and it has many great features to keep you hooked. ODST...
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