Halo has always revolved around the overly tall badass in the green armour who goes by the name of Master Chief and now for the first time ever, a Halo game has been released that puts you in the boots of a normal, albeit very well trained soldier as the battle against the alien baddies continues.

Some of have critisiced Oh, Dee, esS, Tee for being nothing more than an expansion charged at full price. Is it more though and can joy be found in a Halo title that lacks any sort of Spartan presence?

When it comes to Halo 3: ODST I feel no real need to actually explain how the game plays and that’s because it plays like Halo and almost all of you already know what it’s like.

The absence of the Chief brings a few differences though. You no longer have the wonderful regenerating health that Master Chief was graced with. Instead of shields you now have “stamina” that gets worn down and once that happens you lose health that doesn’t regenerate and requires the player to find some health packs. Oh, yeah, you also can’t jump one story high anymore.

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The story in ODST follows a squad of soldiers as their drop pods are scattered around the city and attempt to regroup. The story is told via the missions that are played as the “rookie” and have him investigating the happenings of the day after regaining consciousness a hefty six hours after the drop.

As the rookie finds pieces of the events that took place, he plays out the mission of the soldier that led up to that point.

One of the best parts of the story comes in the form of some sterling voice acting provided by actors such as Nathan Fillion (his character basically looks like him as well), Nolan North and Adam Baldwin.

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Playing co-op with some buddies is also a big part of the fun that can be had with the Halo experience and ODST is no exception as it adds an extra dynamic to the game from the word go.

One of the real gems of ODST comes in the form of the Firefight multiplayer mode which has you and your buddies holding off waves of enemies that get enhanced over time with skulls that activate over the following rounds. It is loads of fun and can be incredibly tricky as you all fall into a sense of complete panic.

What I did find very disappointing with the game is the lack of any other ODST modes. I was hoping for some ODST based team deathmatch or objective based modes but found the second disc to contain nothing more than Halo 3’s multiplayer component with the new DLC maps bolted on.

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The campaign, while fun still feels too short for a full price game and with only Firefight added as a new multiplayer feature the game feels somewhat underwhelming as a whole. Should it have been an expansion? No. It has introduced us to some new and interesting characters and has a feel of it’s own. Is it worth the price of a full game, I wouldn’t say so either.

What Halo 3: ODST does is add some slightly different aspects to Halo to create a new adventure for fans of the series but still doesn’t fully warrant the price tag. What I would have much preferred is if the game was bigger, more complete and could seriously be considered as its own part of the franchise. I hope that we see another ODST game in future, just bigger and more complete with some new multiplayer modes and a grand new story.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8.5
It’s Halo, good but nothing really new

Presentation: 8.0
Pretty enough but starting to show signs of age

Sound: 8.5
All the Halo sounds that you know but with great voice acting

Value: 7.5
Firefight and co-op adds some value, really lacking new versus multiplayer modes and has a very short campaign.

Last Updated: October 27, 2009

Halo 3: ODST
Summary
It's good - but It could have been great. What I would have much preferred is if the game was bigger, more complete and could seriously be considered as its own part of the franchise
8.0
Halo 3: ODST was reviewed on Xbox 360

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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