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Halo ODST: Hands-on with the new killer co-op mode

Despite what you’re likely to hear over the coming weeks, ODST’s Firefight isn’t just Horde from Gears of War 2 in first person (the popular opinion among our fellow games journos at a recent Halo event). No, it’s Horde, COD Zombies and Valve’s undead co-op shooter wrapped up in one Shock Trooper-shaped package.

Above: Amazingly, adding these elements pretty much gives you Firefight

Aside from the exciting new co-op, we also saw a brief demo of 'The Rookie', the game's first campaign level. You can read more about it in our campaign preview. It was also interesting to hear the Shock Troopers' leader Buck, played by Firefly's Nathan Fillion, referring to the forthcoming Halo Reach like it was a previous battle.

We're still more excited about Firefight, though. And below you'll find out why this new mode, which throws more Covenant cronies at you in 20 minutes than all of Halo 3, could be the best part of ODST.

It throws loads of alien a-holes at you Horde-style

Like Marcus Fenix and fellow beefy space chums’ addictive online game, Firefight pits you and three fellow Troopers against endless numbers of Covenant scum. Each round throws fives waves of progressively tougher baddies at you. The only goals: to survive, while winning as many points as possible by murdering everything in your sight.

The maps are a mix of all three games

The three shown so far range from compact, close-quarters combat in the Crater and Alpha site levels, to larger scale alien annihilation in Security Zone. Getting swamped in the dark and cramped Crater reminds us of COD’s zombie assaulted houses. Best of all, you'll be able to mow down your murderous enemies with Warthogs in the largest maps.

You have to take risks like in COD zombies

Just as in World of War’s Nazi Zombies, surviving is all about taking gambles to get the best weapons. In COD, the risk is leaving your window unguarded while you have repeated (i.e. naughty) spins on the lucky dip weapons box to get better guns. In ODST, it’s risking your squad’s limited number of lives to nick the Brute Chieftains’ Gravity Hammers and Fuel Rod Cannons.