Hands on Impressions: Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3 ODST

Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Also on: N/A (Xbox 360 exclusive)
Console Played on: Xbox 360
Release Date: Tuesday September 22nd 2009
Age Rating: PEGI 12

It was only two years ago the gaming world stood still and saw Halo 3 finally released to the world. It’s been a while since I have played Halo 3 if I am honest, but it is an amazing FPS. Chapter 7 of the game is quite probably one of the finest levels in a game I’ve ever played. Perfect setting, perfect backdrop, perfect set piece to the story, perfect drama and perfect music for the level.

H3ODST_Campaign_Dutch02_tif_jpgcopySo is ODST going to be a game worthy of Halo 3? Even with our hands on time, we’re sure it’ll live up to the hype of the game, just dont pin your hopes like the past three games. I had a combined 45 minutes with Halo 3: ODST, 20 with the first level of the game and 25 minutes with the new co-op mode, Firefight.

First up, Campaign. You start off in a UNSC ship as “The Rookie”, a ODST (or Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) with a team consisting of Dutch, Romeo and Buck, before you’re introduced to your new boss – Veronica, aka Dare. Before you know it, you’re awoken from a nice doze and are thrown into the deep end as you’re thrown into a HEV pod to drop onto New Mombasa.

H3ODST_DropPodCinematic_tif_jpgcopyPrepare to drop indeed, right? Not quite, a Covenant ship uses a jump which catches the pods off their guard, and sends them for a crash landing. You wake up from the crash landing six hours later disoriented and find yourself free from the pod to explore New Mombasa, looking for clues as to how the rest of your team survived the drop.

We only managed to play the first level of the game, hence why this is only a hands on preview and not a review like everyone else will have posted by now. But needless to say, if the first level is anything from this game, it is still a buy from day one, but don’t hold your hopes high for an experience like the past three cannon Halo games.

H3ODST_Firefight_Crater_tif_jpgcopyODSTs are known for stealth, so for this one, you will get stealth weapons. Unlike Gears of War 2’s Road to Ruin, stealth somewhat suits ODST. You get a supressed submachine gun as well as a silenced pistol, similar to that of the original Halo back in 2001. I quite enjoyed this new mechanic to Halo, it brought out another side to the series not seen before in the series. It’s probably unlikely we’ll see it in Reach, but I do hope we’ll see stealth in an another Halo game soon.

If you’re new to a Halo game, or if you feel ODST is too radical of a change from your Master Chief days, you do also get tutorials to churn you over in the first level. They’re nice and easy to get you into the game if you feel ODST is a massive step-up from Halo 3, which it aint. But it is there for you anyways to do. And if you get lost, you can press up on the d-pad, where the SI will tell you where to go with each push of the button.

halo3-odst_johnson-firefight-1stp-01The other mode I played was the new co-op mode for ODST – Firefight. Up to four people can play the co-op mode as it takes on swarms of the Covenant groups. From my playthrough, it only had five lives each with my co-op partner, one goes away each time one of us die. Oh, and its worth pointing out thats five altogether, not five lives each.

halo3-odst_johnson-firefight-3rdp-02That said, it’s a fantastic mode. Probably the best mode from the game if I am honest. Addictive, fun and more, all in this one mode. And in my honest opinion, it easily beats Horde from Gears of War 2.

ODST looks a lot like Halo 3 in some respects, cut-scenes look a little dated from what I saw with the game just to point out one flaw. That said, while in game, it does look a lot smoother in ODST then Halo 3 did. We just hope Reach will look a lot better than ODST.

H3ODST_DutchCinematic_tif_jpgcopy

Overall: It ain’t something special like Halo 3 was, but it is still a must buy. The addition of stealth as well as Firefight weighs in better than the dated graphics and the tutorials, while a godsend to any Halo noobs out there, do tend to annoy you sometimes.

But with Firefight, a campaign which fills in the blanks from Halo 2 to Halo 3, and a second disc dedicated to Halo 3’s multiplayer (not to mention it has all the maps and map packs from Halo 3 as well as three new multiplayer maps), Halo 3: ODST is something which you should give the benefit of the doubt to and buy.

Even with no Master Chief.

Halo 3: ODST is out worldwide on September 22nd, exclusive to the Xbox 360. Our hands on came at an Xbox 360 media event in Dublin. For all the news and other things from the event, click here.

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