#931 Halo 3: ODST

Posted: 18th March 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

131st played so far

Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft

There are games where you know the moment you start playing that they are going to be enjoyable but they never live at the top of your list. Whilst this may sound odd for someone who loves to game but the Halo franchise are some of those games for me personally. Then again this is the way both of us feel about FPSs… which doesn’t really make much sense when we suddenly look up and it’s two hours later.

Again we have skipped ahead a few games in a series so we can eventually give my mate his games back… just one more.

Our Thoughts

This game almost takes me full circle. You see, one of the first games (if not the first) I played on an Xbox 360 was Halo 3, co-op multiplayer through the campaign. My main focus then was coming to grip with the controls and learning everything while playing through the game and learning the story at the same time. One thing I can see now is that I’ve certainly improved, more so than a certain other blog writer’s mouse+WASD skills… thanks for that I will make sure to bring up the total embarrassment that was your first go at Mass Effect.

My big annoyance at that time that also applies to this game is that it uses split screen. This game does too, but it restricts your view quite a bit. If you get attacks from the sky or look far down, it unfortunately gets annoying and in the way. Another issue with multiplayer split-screen is that the font used to offer instructions becomes incredibly small where even wearing my glasses make it borderline unreadable.

Anyway, as most people will probably just as often play this single player, that’s not something to worry about for too long – you get used to it fairly quickly, and they don’t really have any other options. Still interesting is that the cut scenes still use a full screen, even as the HUD comes up during it.

For your reference, we played through half the game. That didn’t take us as long as it sounds – we were actually surprised we got that far ourselves. The game’s singleplayer is actually fairly short, eight missions of 20 to 30 minutes each. They’re quite good to play through – fun, with some good action – but very linear (no exploring necessary) and a few areas felt a bit too empty for me. However, they do well at setting the story and creating something to play through. It’s just short, and that’s with quite a bit of filler already added to the game.

A lot of critics really took issue with the short length of the game and wondered whether a campaign with an average playthrough length of 6 hours is really worth the full £40. This is something that I have begun to think about considering how length of a game for games like Bayonetta can be around 10 hours. Personally I am not even half-way through Saints Row 2 and I have played for 23 hours… now that is value for money.

We found out about the timing since the game records you as you play the level so that you can later play it back. presumably this is to allow later playback of the amazing bloodbath caused by a rogue plasma grenade. For me it was reliving the fun of flying around in a Ghost… I wish Ghosts were real, I would ride it to work with the wind in my hair and a song in my heart.

Leaving that aside, the game itself is lovely. There are some beautiful environments, with quite a bit of variety between missions (I loved the nature reserve with benches covered in zebra head stickers). One of the things that grabbed me most was that, at one point, there was a police car with its alarms sounding and lights flashing. The detail on this was so unexpectedly good, that we could see the different coloured lights flashing on the weapon we were holding, showing off the lighting effects in use. Even the visor system, which lights up the area and gives indications of who’s on your side and who’s the enemy, allows for a lot of options here, as well as adding some additional minor visual cues.

One thing that is really praiseworthy is that although this is clearly set in the Haloverse they went for a completely different approach and instead of the regular storyline involving The Flood and The Covenant they leant more on creating a mystery surrounding what happened in the now wrecked city of New Mombasa.

In the mean time, the sound is quite immersive, and often the chatter of your enemies is the first warning you get that you have to be careful. The casting of Firefly’s Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk was music to my ears… they even made the characters look like them!

Then there’s the multiplayer mode, Firefight. Basically survive waves upon waves of enemies until you spend all your lives. You get scored on how often you die, how many you call and more such stats. Simple, straightforward, but good fun.

With that done, the game is good, a solid shooter with an interesting story that ties in with the other games. With that said, though, it’s short, making it feel more like an expansion pack than Halo 3. You just don’t need the original game for it, that’s it.

Final Thoughts

It was nice playing a game in the Haloverse without Master Chief which makes me look forward to the eventual playing of the strategy game Halo Wars but considering we are (technically) ahead with Halo games we probably won’t be playing that for a good while. It just feels like there’s a bit more game in here, and we’d be served well by being able to have a bit more to do playing the campaign of this game.

  1. […] Other games that deserve to be mentioned include God of War II, Far Cry 2 and Halo 3: ODST. […]