Halo 3: ODST

  • Story and characters are a nice break from formula
  • Firefight cooperative mode is very, very addictive
  • Plenty of hardcore Halo fan service here
  • Campaign is surprisingly short
  • Gameplay is overwhelmingly familiar
  • Is this just a placeholder until Halo: Reach?

ODST is all about mindset.

Are you hoping for more Halo 3? Are you looking forward to another adventure in that game’s grandly exaggerated yet comfortingly familiar universe? Are you excited to wield the same crazy weapons and vehicles in brand new battles, to encounter the same smart enemies in unexpected new situations and to witness the same epic war from an entirely new perspective? Are more missions and more multiplayer enough? If so, then ODST is the answer. You will definitely not be disappointed.

But what if you got carried away by the hype? What if that amazing live-action trailer, or that significant September release date, have you convinced that ODST is the next major milestone in the Halo phenomenon? What if the talk about detective characters, film noir settings and gritty close-quarters combat have you anticipating a bold departure from the Bungie formula? Then yeah, you might be in for a bit of a letdown. Like we said at the start, though, all you need is the right mindset. So here’s what you should expect from Halo 3: ODST…

Above: This is an advertisement. This is not a game

A new kind of hero

For pure escapism, Master Chief is the perfect hero. He stands seven feet tall, he wears nearly invulnerable armor, he hangs out with naked computer chicks and, best of all, he’s a blank slate on which players can project themselves. For narrative impact and emotional resonance, however, he sucks… no one can really relate to, or truly empathize with, a faceless genetic supermachine.

His controversial absence in ODST, therefore, is actually a big plus. Halo’s developers have finally been freed to create new heroes, and this time, they’ve written them to be much more realistic, much more believable and much more human. “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper” may sound like a fancy title, and does indicate special training, but these men are still simple soldiers with a limited knowledge of the overall conflict. They follow orders, even if they don’t agree with them. They bicker. They crack jokes. They compare war stories and watch each other’s backs. They make lewd comments about the opposite sex, or reveal long-simmering romances. In other words, they have real personalities.

Above: Look ma, no masks! 

A new kind of story

The game’s story is structured differently, too, enabling these characters’ differences to shine. When an ODST mission to Earth goes disastrously wrong, the squad is scattered across the futuristic city of New Mombasa, Africa – visited briefly in Halo 2 – and the team’s rookie member is forced to wander the urban landscape at night, piecing together what happened during the six hours he was unconscious in his drop pod.

Sadly, the Rookie is as silent and empty a vessel as Master Chief. Each time he discovers a clue to his friends’ location, though, you’ll jump into their unique and colorful shoes for a flashback mission. One is a trigger-happy explosives expert who gets his hands on a tank. One is the gruff and grumbly cowboy type who must protect a critical government facility. One’s got a cocky attitude, but the sniper skills to match. One’s the leader (voiced by Firefly’s Nathan Fillion), trying desperately to rescue his female superior (voiced by Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer) and discover her secret reasons for sending them on this failed operation to begin with.

Compared to the sweeping galactic saga that is the original Halo trilogy, ODST’s plot is decidedly small-scale. Intimate. You won’t experience any earth-shattering revelations, or be blown away by too many breathtaking setpieces. You certainly won’t feel like you’re saving the universe. Some players will undoubtedly be bored, but after eight years of increasingly convoluted story threads that often required the help of novelizations and comic books to unravel, we felt refreshed.

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Bungie
Franchise: Halo
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Language, Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending
Charlie Barratt

I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!

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  • Gob - December 30, 2010 11:29 a.m.

    Loved it.
  • jscriber100 - September 18, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    i still need a 360!
  • CMG - December 21, 2009 3:33 p.m.

    Having play both Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST, I personally think Halo 3 is better because its got more gameplay variety. Halo 3 has the Campaign , but when want to play something different I play online matchmaking which ODST does not have. ODST has a new game play called firefight but its just not as good as matchmaking on Halo 3.
  • cutthroatmike1 - December 15, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    to all the others... stop complaining on price. this game is a great collection to halo projects. better graphics and the works. more advanced and just great. i did like the idea of playin as a team in solo.
  • Kondratiuk1990 - November 8, 2009 7:14 p.m.

    I think ODST is arguably better then the other Halos, I have played all the games excluding Halo Wars. I t offers the most complete online multi-player experience around. Also the length of the campaign mode, I polished it off in about 6 hours, that is the same amount of time it took me to complete the first Gears Of War game.
  • grimreaper777 - November 8, 2009 4:14 a.m.

    this game is amazing i have masterd most of the online stuff im missing a fue skulls thats all
  • Dragonsheilder32 - October 18, 2009 4:49 a.m.

    I love ODST my favorite character is Buck but it lacks the Hours of gameplay the campaign is way to short.
  • OooDuffMan1ooO - October 5, 2009 5:16 a.m.

    I have it and it is awesome. I don't know why they gave it a 7. I'd rather give it a 10. Firefight is very cool, but if your playing it on co-op you share the same lives :( . Campaign is addicting but once you beat it you just play Firefight. It's wierd, but true!
  • BadLadJon - October 4, 2009 8:53 a.m.

    wow there still working on Halo 3 games.... i bet there gonna make more Halo 3 games like this and not make anything new
  • IslanderSwagg - October 4, 2009 3:51 a.m.

    According to the video, UNSC is not American. LOL Oh and the three negatives... I dont think everybody would hate those
  • xSpeedyMonkeyx - September 30, 2009 6:02 p.m.

    Because i'm such a pro. jk I think that this game is well worth 60 dollars. The only reason that you wouldnt want it is that your too big a pansy to take on someone bigger than you. Its not hard. You just need to step it up a little. btw, Hunters are 1 hit KO.
  • chrisjon - September 30, 2009 2:49 a.m.

    i disagree with this review. I made a GR account just to encourage you to still get this game. Campaing is short but there are plenty achievements and firefight is superb. i would give it an 8 its a good game to buy until mwf2 comes out
  • trustme - September 27, 2009 7:04 p.m.

    booo, the only thing this is kind of worth is firefight, rent it, don't buy it. Its like i just bought PAC-man from them, then they turn around and sell me Mrs. PAC-man
  • JakCass47 - September 26, 2009 10:09 p.m.

    I'm not a huge Halo fan but I took the leap and got it, it may be a little short but it IS sweet. The VISR mode makes a super cool addition in the experience and I got it at Toys R Us this week and recieved a $20 gift card which I turned around and got Dirt 2 with, which seems like a pretty fair deal to me !! Just sayn.
  • rivalmarine - September 26, 2009 5:32 p.m.

    halo 3 is one of the best games i've played this year
  • jar-head - September 24, 2009 1:06 p.m.

    (possible Spoilers)just finished odst...and im VERY confused.. Why is the battle Rifle Not in the game? Why can you use an 8ft long gravity hammer, but No support weapons: bubble shield? Why are there No Elites? i found ONE Body in the Entire Game. the prophet jumps, and within 6hours, the covenant pacts is over? not by a Long shot...But Why does it FEEL like an actual Warzone in firefight? a couple Well placed rounds Can take down a horde of grunts and brutes, unlike halo3 it took more rounds than i can rememeber, plus reload time, to kill one or two brutes plus grunts? But the graphics are incredible, if not "upgraded"(must have HDTV for Full compatibility) And, Sadly, not alot of my friends have odst( or they just Suck...) but invite me to Any firefight game, and you Will Not Regret it: Username: ClassicJarHead
  • civver - September 23, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    Hardcore Halo fan? +1 Casual Halo fan? -1 That pretty much summarizes the whole review.
  • DirkSteele1 - September 22, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    I loved all 3 Halo games, playing through each one at least twice (wanted the full set on Legendary difficulty) but I am just not enthusiastic about this game at all.
  • crumbdunky - September 21, 2009 8:07 a.m.

    So, it's just more Halo , we've got nearly half of it already(well most Halo fans will), the best and newest stuff is only used as the hub to explore and find missions and the best reason to buy it is a Gears mode rip off. Great. The reviews for this have been all over the place which does suggest there's something wrong with this being pushed as a full game-some sites accept it just because it's Halo while some just don't see any value-at $40 I would imahine you'd see many more 9/10 scores than we finally will and this will endup the first Halo FPS that isn't a AAA game meta score wise as a result. Thing is I'm a fan of the series, though by no means a massive one, and I've even bought all the H3 maps I could and if you're in the same boat is this really a full price game at retail? I just think it's greedy and for the very first time the voices saying MS are milking Halo and it's fans have some credence, imo, as selling people stuff they already have to justify a price tag is a little below the belt. 7/10? Just about right I would imagine though right now, and for the very first time, IDK if I really want to play it and find out-I despise having to pay more for someting just because they've bulked the pack out with stuff I already have!
  • themooninites - September 21, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    it looks alot like halo 3...whos campain was just terrible, i think i may just rent or barrow from a friend. what happen to when halo's story and gameplay were actually good?