Halo 3: ODST

With E3 Bungee’s party line changed. ODST is no longer considered a Halo 3 expansion, but a full game spread across two discs – one containing the entirety of Halo 3’s multiplayer; the other the campaign and its Horde-like Firefight mode. While it’ll be shorter than Halo 3 it’s a game you can play differently every time.

But it doesn’t take any more than a glance to see Halo 3’s old engine, which looked weathered even when Halo 3 was brand new, is looking a little tatty post Gears 2. It lacks even a semblance of the anti-aliasing which makes Gears of War look smoother than a porn star’s nut sack, and it’s obviously short of the seven hundred and twenty pees the 360 usually runs games at. Like Halo 3 it’s clocking in at around 640 lines, with the 360 upscaling it to a full 720p, which rather explains the jagged edges so sharp Jesse Ventura would use them to shave his face.

Bungie’s tech might be vastly outperformed by Epic’s Unreal 3 in sheer bloody-hell-that-looks-pretty-I-want-one-of-those stakes but it’s not many devs who can rival Bungie’s sense of design. Those vaguely crummy-looking graphics are the reason we were able to go to war against two Covenant Scarabs on land and in the air while an entire war raged around us at the climax of Halo 3’s Journey’s End mission.

The old Halo engine doesn’t photograph as well as its modern counterparts then, but it does everything Bungie needs and handles everything gamers love flawlessly – massive environments filled with massive stuff, and entire armies going to war in a vaguely intelligent fashion. ODST might be shorter than Halo 3, but it’ll be a whole lot wider too.

The linear missions will be precisely as good as you’d expect from the Haloverse but it’s almost disappointing that Bungie didn’t have the nerve to dispense with them altogether. Halo combat evidently works sandbox-style, even with an ODST fighter’s obvious weaknesses – while we’re mightily impressed with Bungie; you’d never know it’s their first shot at a truly open world.

Jul 15, 2009


  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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