The Halo universe has expanded once again. Proving that Master Chief isn’t the only badass in the galaxy, Halo 3: ODST lets players take on Covenant Forces from a new perspective. Players will be flying down from space as a rookie ODST or an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper in laymen terms. Based on the Halo 3 engine, ODST offers up some serious pack for its punch as an expansion pack. There is a brand new Campaign mode, a new game type in Firefight and all Halo 3 multiplayer maps that have previously been available as DLC, plus 3 new maps exclusive to ODST. Finally the game also grants you access into the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta sometime in 2010.
The Story is set in between that of Halo 2 and Halo 3. The Covenant have found Earth and are attacking the African city of New Mombasa. You get to experience the heat of the battle first had. The biggest knock against the campaign is that it is rather short. Depending on player skill it is around a solid 7-9 hours of game play. Is that too short? Perhaps, but it is a hell of a lot of fun while it lasts. Halo fans will notice the few key differences that set apart controlling an ODST vs. a Spartan (Master Chief). You are a normal human now so you won’t be able to run as fast or jump as high. Gone is your fancy Spartan Armor that has regenerating health. There is no more Battle Rifle, the signature gun of a Spartan and finally, you can no longer duel wield weapons. Instead there is a more traditional health pack system in place (plenty to be found around the game), a new visor system (works as both night vision and an enhanced HUD) as well as 2 new guns, the M75 Silenced Submachine Gun and the M6S Magnum. The new Magnum is my personal favourite due to its ability to zoom in. That means lots of headshots. As with Halo 3, Campaign mode is 4 player co-op. Once you have finished the Campaign, the battle for New Mombasa doesn’t end there, that’s where Firefight comes in.
Firefight is a competitive dog fight (also 4 player co-op) where you face round after round of bad guys. Sound familiar? It should, it’s basically Horde from Gears of War 2. Sure it’s the latest game to borrow the premise from Gears, but it certainly improves on it as well. There are 10 Maps to choose from. They are fairly large with the larger ones even having vehicles to use. The Skulls from Halo 3 make an appearance, randomly adding difficult challenges to the fray. Things like having the enemies throwing tons of grenades, dodging your attacks left right and center and having double the amount of health. To me this is my favorite addition to the game. Its highly addictive gameplay is also as equally satisfying.
Finally for anyone as cheap as me, who hasn’t been willing to pay 800 Microsoft Points for each map pack (3 maps) ODST has them all on a separate disc. You won’t need to download them to your harddrive instead just put disc 2 into your discdrive and you are up and playing Halo3 multiplayer in all of its glory. All of the previous map packs are here plus 3 new exclusive ones. Finally I’ll be able to play ranked Slayer again
Halo 3: ODST while not a full standalone product, does have enough content to warrant its full price tag. It doesn’t feel like an afterthought or a rushed project. It’s quite clear that some extra effort was put into it. For anyone who wants all of the Map packs for Halo 3, that is reason enough to buy it. Throw in a well done, albeit short Campaign as well as Firefight and you have some serious bang for your buck. Just don’t forget to dust off the game (if you can leave it alone for that long) in 2010 for the Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta. Now if you will excuse me I have to go and open up a fresh can of WHOP ASS on some Covenant Scum….OORAH!
Crave Factor 8.5
out of 10