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Halo 3: ODST

Developer: Bungie Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
22 September 2009
Halo 3: ODST - cover art
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3.60 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
881 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#802 All-time
#31 for 2009
During the events of Halo 2, a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers is tasked with assaulting a Covenant carrier attacking New Mombasa, a major city on Earth. During their drop, the carrier enters Slipspace and causes a rupture, scattering them across the city. One of the members of the team, The Rookie, wakes up alone in his crashed pod hours later, left to piece together what happened to his squadmates.
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Aside from its criminally short length, ODST is up there for one of my favorites of the Halo series. Taking what fans were clambering for in Halo 2, ie; wheres the battle for Earth? ODST takes place in the war torn and bombed out African metropolis of New Mombasa just as the Prophet of Truth Slips out of the city, and the effects of this devastating event on a wayward team of shock troops sent in originally to secure the cities superintendent ai from the invasion force. The game plays like classic expansions of old, using the contemporary graphics of Halo 3, ODST mercifully doesn't feel as clunky to control.

One of my main gripes with the third Halo entry was just how buoyant and bloated the Spartans felt. Its a weird feeling to describe but the gameplay honestly felt like you were playing a slayer match as the Michelin Man. ODST mercifully rectifies this and is a much better game for it, but to be honest it also tragically feels off with regards to the titular special forces. Halo is meant to be an over the top power fantasy, as you mainly star as a 7 foot tall, 2k pound cyborg super soldier going against equally fierce and aggressive alien infantry. Here, the ODST play almost exactly as the standard spartan and that really ruins the feeling of how unique the Master Chief was. Few little details like nixing energy shields and duel wielding are meant to reduce the ODST in stature but arent convincing enough to sell how utterly helpless you should feel going against the Brutes, who even in the superb live action ads for this game, are meant to be these terrifying, indomitable beasts (see attached photo, https://i.redd.it/izgohg1ud0y51.jpg what would have been a much more terrifying experience).

Aside from how wonky the characters are presented, the game is a gorgeous and atmospheric set piece in a lost and obscure corner between games, and that is where I think the game excels. And with an ample helping of vehicle missions, the game keeps you engaged. But man these levels feel unfairly truncated and further replays make it evident how small some of these missions really are. Easily the best soundtrack of the series, I just wish that there were more stealth based missions and that your silenced arsenal actually worked. and finally, who could forget the addition of firefight. While its following on the heels of COD's zombie mode, Firefight finds you fighting against endless hoards of Covenant. Simple and fun arcade mode that is elevated by how memorable the set piece maps seen in the campaign. From Alpha Site, Crater, and Rally Point to Lost Platoon, some absolutely fun times playing with a friend holding the line against the purple bastards.
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_tumbleweed_ 2021-07-07T13:45:43Z
2021-07-07T13:45:43Z
3.5
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Surprisingly good side entry from the Halo series.
Definitely feels cobbled together with the remains of everything Halo 3 left us, but easily holds up as a great game within of itself. Every reason you love Halo 3, you're going to love this game also as much.
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headway8553 2022-11-10T05:02:03Z
2022-11-10T05:02:03Z
4.5
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Under Cover of Neon Light
I think the music and atmosphere carries this game pretty hard, and the gunplay is good, it's not too far removed from Halo 3's. The Automag pistol was a nice change of pace from the at the time standard Battle Rifle precision weapon (which I believe is completely absent in this game). Firefight was also a great addition to the franchise and it is very fun. While I do enjoy Reach's customization features, ODST's atmosphere really lends to the desolation that comes in this gamemode.

I also think the open-world loop in a destroyed city was rather experimental and it was a nice change of pace as well as a breather for the more linear levels. It's a good size considering you'll usually be on foot. I definitely like the unique aesthetic, aged as it is. Despite being over a decade old I find the nighttime hub levels very engrossing and immersive to be in. Stuff like the Engineer graffiti and seeing the aftermath of small setpieces both within the flashback levels and in the hubworld also added to the sense of a ruined city after having gone through an apocalyptic battle. Lastly, the soundtrack is one of the best you can find in gaming, incredibly unique among the Halo games.

However, I think my biggest issue is what we got narratively and mechanically wasn't really hitting the tone I feel like they should've aimed for here. The "WE ARE ODST" trailers set up this incredibly gritty story; you're an ODST, not a Spartan, with a lack of physical augmentations and simple metallic body armor, you need your wits about you to survive against enemies that are far outmatching you in physicality and weaponry. Your comrades will die, but you will have to soldier on without them, as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

Ultimately though, what we actually get feels far more Whedon-y in tone. Alpha-Nine are jokesters through and through, and you never really get the sense that they actually truly came together as a team, especially since most of the game keeps them fractured (I also found the scene where Romeo gets injured very weird when it comes to this team cohesion message, as they wait until the next mission chronologically to do anything about it). Bungie weren't known for being great writers but at times the dialogue in this game could get really grating, and I find it odd that they saved the grittier tone for the next game in *Reach*. Overall this game is let down by me just not really enjoying the writing or general story, I think it could have been done better and this is part of the problem with the tone not reflecting what I think fits the marketing, the atmosphere, or what I think was generally expected, and thus being dissonant.

The gameplay itself also doesn't help when it comes to setting the tone of the game and being a novel twist on the Halo formula; playing through each of the Halo games on Legendary, this one was by far the easiest, and I really wish they had done more to change the gameplay to fit being an ODST. Shields are replaced with "stamina" which recharges slower, as well as non-regenerating health requiring you to pick up Optican health packs to heal up. In essence, it's a slower version of CE's health system, but frankly, it still feels like you're playing as a Spartan. You can still do absurd feats of strength like hijacking vehicles, take large amounts of damage before dying even on Legendary (at least considering you're playing as an ODST), and your stamina even drains much like shields do in Halo 3 when hit with a Power Drain, which felt really lazy, this should have been changed. Also, this is a nitpick, but it's a huge shame that Elites didn't return as an enemy given the fact that (at least according to Halo 2's story), the inciting incidents that started the Changing of the Guard/Great Schism hadn't happened yet, so to explain their absence (bar their corpses) they had to rewrite it so that the betrayal of the Elites was executed earlier. I think they would've been a great addition to 3's gameplay loop and likely added more challenge.

It's a okay game, but it combines a narrative and gameplay loop that sort of undermines what it felt like the game should be aiming for tonally (in other words, the former is too stilted and jarring, and the latter is not novel or difficult enough). Lastly, it feeling like DLC for 3 despite the full price tag and combining that with the samey gameplay and at times annoying writing makes this the weakest title in Bungie's Halo games. However, there's cool ideas here and it's certainly one of the most unique in the series (also Huragoks are awesome, I love their design). Worth checking out if you have MCC.
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earthandspace 2021-05-07T19:10:43Z
2021-05-07T19:10:43Z
3.0
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The Peak
Its the best one out of all of them really. Great characters, great story, and great gameplay possibly improved from the base Halo 3.
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Saiyaguy 2022-05-25T10:24:30Z
2022-05-25T10:24:30Z
5.0
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This incredibly half-assed game feels cobbled together from creative fumes and scraps of unused maps left over from Halo 2 and 3. The only parts that aren't half-assed are the basic shooter mechanics, which are identical to the earlier games - which is odd, because you now ostensibly a regular grunt instead of a cybernetically enhanced supersolider. What little is new to this installment is terrible: the dialogue is comically dreadful, there's an alleged story but it's all so thin and aimless and perfunctory I couldn't muster enough interest to be able to follow it, the visuals (a distinct step down from the earlier Halo 3) split the generational difference between the 360 and the original xbox, the maps are big, ugly, featureless, and bland. Even the soundtrack sucks. Overall, this is about as lazy and uninspired as franchise filler gets, but on the positive side, it ends quickly.
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blargh4 2022-01-26T04:17:53Z
2022-01-26T04:17:53Z
2.0
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There's not much point playing this one, better halo games are out there. It has nothing going for it
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headsoftyphon 2021-08-10T19:23:18Z
2021-08-10T19:23:18Z
2.5
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Catalog

Xerosolar Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-07T03:04:33Z
Xbox 360 • XNA
2022-12-07T03:04:33Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bullets_are_the_beauty Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-05T23:11:31Z
2022-12-05T23:11:31Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MelancholEvening Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-05T22:28:46Z
2022-12-05T22:28:46Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bocik55 Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-04T20:14:25Z
2022-12-04T20:14:25Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LenaCat Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-03T11:18:21Z
2022-12-03T11:18:21Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
smolderingsteel Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-02T15:02:32Z
2022-12-02T15:02:32Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tryingtohearitall343 Halo 3: ODST 2022-12-01T17:00:52Z
2022-12-01T17:00:52Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ZinestheticLuminescence Halo 3: ODST 2022-11-29T23:36:05Z
2022-11-29T23:36:05Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
1969fordf100 Halo 3: ODST 2022-11-29T21:06:36Z
2022-11-29T21:06:36Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rafizans Halo 3: ODST 2022-11-28T07:17:20Z
2022-11-28T07:17:20Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
zobano Halo 3: ODST 2022-11-28T04:04:38Z
2022-11-28T04:04:38Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ChuckB Halo 3: ODST 2022-11-26T03:07:17Z
2022-11-26T03:07:17Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: M
Player modes
1-16 players
Media
2x DVD
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative , Deathmatch / FFA, Team play
Multiplayer options
LAN, Local, Online
Franchises

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  • Previous comments (3) Loading...
  • heavymetalthunder 2020-12-06 17:07:37.461569+00
    Mombasa Streets is arguably the greatest halo level ever made and the characters are so memorable but lots of levels are just decent for me. Still the third-best Halo campaign
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  • ... 2020-12-30 06:03:07.464954+00
    God damn this game's soundtrack is just so good
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  • Qwertchi 2021-06-03 01:30:20.826023+00
    Criminally underrated on here, easily top 3 halos ever
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  • hexiluv 2021-09-27 10:15:27.216591+00
    the best one
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  • kitten199X 2022-08-14 00:43:38.397515+00
    this game seemed to catch so much flak in the halo community when it released. i never did understand it. bungie tried to do something a little different and they succeeded in my opinion. i always enjoyed this game. the soundtrack is very good as well.
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  • Pumas 2022-09-15 12:41:04.188037+00
    Amazing game. Innovative (for the series at least) and absolutely nails the atmosphere. Same old (but gold) classic gameplay. Incredible score. This deserves to be so much higher.
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  • mildewri 2022-10-24 01:01:12.165766+00
    the world of ODST is so immersive, its approach to noir results in an aesthetic that has stayed with me for 13 years
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