Prepare to Drop! Halo 3:ODST

Halo 3:ODST

For the past year or so, we’ve been getting teased. Our questions answered. More questions raised. However, a week ago, that all changed. Halo 3:ODST was released to much fanfare, almost as much as Halo 3 itself.

The year is 2552. The Covenant control the city of New Mombasa. They are searching for something beneath its darkened streets. You are an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. Your orders: Stay alive, meet up with your scattered squad, and escape he embattled city. Stop the Covenant and we just might win this war.

Yes, just like I take the bio from the back of action figures’ packaging, I do the same with video games. I think it’s a good idea, but your mileage may vary.

So let’s drop right in (pun intended), this is a video game placed during the events of Halo 2. While Master Chief is off fighting the main portion of the Covenant, the Rookie and his squad stayed behind to fight in New Mombasa along side a few other Marines, and members of the New Mombasa Police Department. During the beginning custscene, the squad’s drop into the city is cut short by the Slipspace rupture caused by the Prophet of Regret’s carrier, throwing all of the drop pods off course.

I don’t want to go too far into the story for those who haven’t bought the game yet, so let’s move on. If you have bought the game and would like to discuss it, don’t fret-there is also a post dedicated to nothing except discussion.

Three new weapons appear in the game: the Silenced SMG, the Auto-Mag and the Brute Plasma Rifle (which appeared in Halo 2, but not Halo 3, so it’s not really new, I just wanted to categorize the weapons all together). The Silenced SMG is, well, a Silenced SMG. You can tell a lot about a book by reading it’s cover! The SMG also features a new scope for those far away kills, a slightly more spacious ammo capacity, and a slightly higher accuracy. The Auto-Mag, otherwise known as the M6C/SOCOM (and now you know why I prefer the name “Auto-Mag”) is based upon the Halo 2-era Magnum, so it fires faster than you can say SOCOM, but it’s as powerful as the M6D pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved. It’s also features an integrated sound suppressor and 4x zoom, making it even better than the M6D. It can’t however, one shot kill Hunters. Sad face. As mentioned earlier, the Brute Plasma Rifle isn’t exactly new, but it has undergone a serious update, so let’s go ahead and mention it anyway. Since the Elites don’t make an appearance in-game, the Brutes command the individual squads of warriors, and the ranks and weapons from Halo 3 return. Weapons like the Brute Plasma Rifle. Huzzah! Changes from Halo 2 include a deeper red, slower firing/overheating (still faster than the Elite version) and heavier melee. It’s simply called the Plasma Rifle in game, for some reason or another. Ah well. My personal favorite of the new weapons is the Auto-Mag, due to being so similar to the M6D and Battle Rifle. Speaking of which, the Battle Rifle is absent from both the campaign and Firefight mode, but trust me: after you use the Auto-Mag, you won’t miss the BR at all.

Another addition to ODST is Firefight mode, a survival-type mode of play that ends only when your life does. Or you can quit via the start menu. Your choice. Survival type games have been done successfully in the past, and it works just as well here. All of the maps are based off a lever in the campaign, and two of them actually have both day and night variants. If you pre-ordered the game via any number of retailers, you can redeem a code that allows you to play as Sergeant Johnson (you need an Xbox LIVE account to do so, though). The only default character is the Rookie (and possibly Johnson), and additional characters may be unlocked by completing certain levels and difficulties of the campaign.

Also included is a second disk labeled Halo 3:Mythic, which boils down to a multiplayer only version of Halo 3. The disk includes all the default and all the DLC maps released, as well as three new maps: Citadel, Heretic and Longshore. I’d love to cover all three of these right here and now, but I’d like to include all of the maps into their own, separate review. The disk loads both your armor permutation and edited maps, and works with the File-Sharing feature with other gamers. Also, is it just me, or do the colors seem richer?

I can honestly say this was worth both the wait and the $60 dollar price tag. Initial plans called for a scaled back game and lower price, but added features bumped it back up to the standard price. Many fans have expressed disappointment that they are paying the full price for an expansion pack, but I’m not sure it can be labeled as being an expansion pack. Yes, Bungie themselves call it that, but with so many news weapons, new features, and a more in-depth storyline, Halo 3:ODST can really be a game on it’s own merits.

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