In anticipation of Microsoft’s release of The Master Chief Collection later this year, here’s an oldie but a goodie!
Halo 3: ODST’s story places the player in control of The Rookie, whose role it is to find his squad in various parts of New Mombasa. The environment is large and sprawling, and missions can be played in any order. Additionally, audio files strewn around the city unlock helpful weapons caches.
The map can be confusing due to its size and repetition, and the HUD only shows the waypoint as the crow flies, whereas The Rookie can’t travel in a straight line. The VISR mode is a valuable feature, outlining enemies, allies and items in different colors. However, switching between the map and VISR, and trying to fight off enemies can get a bit fiddly.
Storytelling in ODST is engaging and works strongly to show the vulnerability of the squad. Finding items for each squadmate triggers a flashback mission to show their fate, which cleverly allows the player to play different maps in a way consistent with the narrative. Having human protagonists does well to subtly show how rich the Haloverse is, and just how pervasive the Covenant is.
While ODST is of the high quality I expect from the Halo franchise, it is predominantly a rehash of what has gone before. Although the story and characters are new, the gameplay itself hasn’t evolved. Fans might enjoy exploring what the game offers, but some encounters seem tired and overdone.
Co-op is also available for the campaign, but, like other Halo games, both players take on the same character. Other multiplayer maps are available for PvP and Firefight, both online and locally. Firefight is a fun challenge that requires teamwork, as lives are collectively shared, and it really feels satisfying to survive waves of Covenant soldiers.
Overall, ODST is a solid contribution to the Halo franchise. It doesn’t offer much that is new, but there’s enough in the story and multiplayer modes to make it worth revisiting.