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Halo 3: ODST

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The Rookie spends the first two minutes of ODST having a nap, 60 seconds dropping to Earth and then the next six hours sleeping off the trip. He’ll spend the next few hours wishing he’d woken up a little faster. Frankly, he had it coming.

ODST begins with a mystery and it’s the first of many. The six-man squad is planning on infiltrating the Prophet of Regret’s ship in the closing moments of Halo 2’s second mission, but are told en route of their new objective in New Mombasa. Lucky too, since Regret fires up the slipspace drive and kills every ODST in the boarding party, scattering the six-man squad across the city. The Rookie is knocked unconscious and wakes up many hours after nightfall.

Heading out into the world it becomes clear the game is everything Bungie said it wasn’t. The Rookie is slower, shorter, and less agile than MC; he can’t use equipment and has a health bar rather than a regenerating shield. It’s Tom Clancy’s Halo 3 – all long-range ambushes and carefully-planned movements. The Rookie fights with a silenced and scoped pistol, and a silenced SMG held with two hands for greater accuracy than the similar gun in the hands of the Chief. He has a map, comms, and intel screen plus nightvision and an enhanced reality mode ripped right from GRAW which identifies targets.

New Mombasa is the biggest environment in any Halo game, far exceeding the likes of the Tsavo Highway in Halo 3. Bungie want you to think of ODST as a detective story, and have immersed the city in layer upon sleazy layer of high tech film noir atmosphere, with hazy streets illuminated by moody pools of light beneath street lamps and roadside signs.

Beacons placed by the city’s Superintendent AI onto the map pop up on your HUD’s VISR system, guiding you to your destination. It’s a city filled with Covenant patrols, secrets, and easter eggs off the beaten track. It’s a world where Bungie’s flawless level design makes for perfect shootouts and a world where Halo’s AI is pushed to the limit, improvising and reacting on the fly in a completely open world.

The city at night is a subdued and empty place where you’ll set ambushes and pick off enemies from afar, but the linear missions are all-out action set-pieces ripped from past Halo games. Missions and flashbacks are also cleverly interlinked; when The Rookie finds a collapsed bridge and a discarded detonator you’ll temporarily ‘flashback’ into the shoes of the team’s demolitions expert Dutch, a mere two hours after the drop, as he sets about destroying the bridge you’ve just found in ruins.

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53 comments

  • bschroth - July 20, 2009 6:25 p.m.

    sounds like this is what i want in a halo game. it'll be better for me because i think it's more reflex and skill based rather than a rechargeable shield. i wish they would take more time to improve on the engine, mainly iron out ALL the kinks seeing as the engine is 2-3 years old.
  • glitchdude28 - July 20, 2009 1:36 p.m.

    deffguru, they had health in halo 1 but that was almost a last resort. u had a regenerating shield as well
  • gmilf71 - July 19, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    this looks awsome. cant wait to play as srgt johnson.
  • funkymonkey01 - July 18, 2009 7:52 p.m.

    i wonder what the diffrent betweenthis game and halo 3 i don,t under stand
  • McDoobie - July 18, 2009 3:20 p.m.

    i hate halo fanboys
  • LieutenantCipher - July 17, 2009 5:25 a.m.

    Eh I don't care for ODST. Won't buy it, won't give it a chance. It just looks to me like a ripoff or a half-assed attempt to steer-off from another Halo 4 conversation. Why can't they just make an actual Halo 4, NOT some spinoff or continuation of past events?
  • ParagonFury - July 16, 2009 10:59 p.m.

    Graphics do not make gameplay. Graphics do not have to be ultra-high end to be good. So long as they convey the artist's intentions, and work for what they are going for, they are great. Not everything needs the Unreal Engine.
  • purpleshirt - July 16, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    only thing that kinda annoys me is the whole two disks thing, I dont wana have to change my disk to play multiplayer...
  • UberPorpoise - July 16, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    @jar-head Well, since ODST is coming out before Reach and since Reach is probably still going through production or debugging, I would say that ODST is, in fact, their first attempt at a sandbox game. Not @jar-head I don't see why some people are making a big deal over the loss of Master Chief's attributes. You play as an ODST, which is not a Spartan. You shouldn't possess shields, the ability to jump high, or the ability to dual wield-accurately at least. You play as someone else so you can learn more about the story through the eyes of another person involved. I think that there will be some form of regeneration. But I think you will lose health and slowly regain it later. It will be like in Mass Effect when you have Medical Interfaces equipped to your armor. Playing as an ODST might give you the feeling of hopelessness since you know you are a regular human with combat training. And after you defeat all of the Covenant forces, you might have a better feeling about doing so. I think ODST will go great. Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3 have all been dissed. ODST isn't going to be perfect just like all the others weren't. The only reason that everyone thinks that ODST should be the best game ever or it will fail is because Bungie is taking a risk and people don't like the change. That is my opinion at least.
  • ninjasniperX12 - July 16, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    I don't know what to get halo 3 ODST with money leftover or modern warfare 2 prestige edition with those beastly night vision goggles!?
  • NovaProspekt - July 16, 2009 4:06 p.m.

    Hmmmm... Doesn't sound like Halo with out the Chief. I'll pass...
  • Shane1403 - July 16, 2009 2:38 p.m.

    I love halo so i will get this for sure but ithink its good to see that bungie is changing their tactics reCAPTCHA: malaria member
  • MechGyver - July 16, 2009 1:25 p.m.

    Halo!!!!!
  • MechGyver - July 16, 2009 1:25 p.m.

    Another!!!!
  • MechGyver - July 16, 2009 1:24 p.m.

    God!!!
  • oryandymackie - July 16, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    Why buy this, an ATTEMPT at an open world Halo, when you can have Crackdown 2?
  • Yeager1122 - July 16, 2009 5:27 a.m.

    in no way do i want this game much better games coming out
  • SwishiestB0g - July 16, 2009 4:24 a.m.

    At one of the fine people before me, you don't just get all the DLC maps, you get 3 new maps along with all the old ones. About the article, yeah, I want the game, I honestly don't care how bad a game looks (I'm still playing Fable 1, and Halo 1) not cause they're pretty but because they're great games. I also dislike all those fancy smancy graphics as they always pop in and sometimes dont load. Loved halo from the start, and i'm just glad that they're still making games for the 360.
  • venomman01 - July 16, 2009 2:56 a.m.

    health sounds great for me. Maybe not being so invincible will be fun. but not health packs.
  • TheMonarch - July 16, 2009 2:26 a.m.

    Cart00n, if you check the videos you can see that the health is based off of the first Halo. It has a regen system, I think they called it an "adrenaline" meter, but once that's worn down it goes to a health bar. I like that because that was tension that was lacking in the last two games. When you were down to one or two boxes of health, knowing you had a large scale encounter to survive before finding the next health pack. I personally can't wait for Firefight. I loved Horde in Gears, mainly because it was just my friends and you don't have to worry about jerks griefing.

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

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