Halo is easily the biggest exclusive franchise in the world today and with that being said, I am a little disappointed with the visual quality found in ODST. This is barely superior to Halo 3 which released several years ago, with character models looking crude in regards to their facial details and expressions compared to most titles on the market today. Also, all of the enemies appear to be simply copy and pasted into the game with no added sprucing up on their armament, weapons, etc. In its defense though, the VISR mode (basically night vision) is beyond badass as enemies are outlined in red with the environment in yellow. It makes night ops a blast to play and it adds a level of tactics to your approach as you can try and stalk/set up your prey due to this enhanced visual option. All in all its a solid looking title but due to the lack of advancement from the last in the series, it could have, nay, should have been MUCH better.
You play as the ODST (orbital drop shock troopers) of the USNC. You are sent in on a near suicide mission onto new mombasa as the covenant (evil coalition of alien soldiers) are ravaging the land. You are human, your are strong yet you are mortal, you are hope, you are the ODST. This “mortal” approach (compared to being an almighty spartan from the main Halo series) is a great sidestory for the series as you feel the vulnerability of the average soldier from the battle with the covenant. This gave bungie the freedom to have a new epic story involving a tight cast of soldiers and an odd romantic struggle in the midst of war. Sadly, the voice actors definitely overdid their performances and most of the lines feel forced as it lacks a natural flow for the comedic or drama filled dialogue to take shape in. All in all it is a nice fresh scenario within a well known world albeit with some less than expertly performed scripting.
Without a doubt this is still halo but with some key tweaks in place. First off, you do NOT have to fight all the enemies you come across. For the streets of mombasa missions, you can try to avoid/out route your enemies and make it to the next level without having to fire a single round. This adds a level of freedom I much enjoyed, although rarely used as I found shooting to be more entertaining personally. Second, you do NOT regenerate health. You need to find health packs spread across key points in the streets (or levels) you play in. This makes teamwork, accurate shooting, and overall battle tactics a priority which adds a great bit of attention to detail in the gunplay. Lastly, there are NO spartans. You are ODST, human soldiers, so youre not quite as agile and dont jump ludicrously high. Outside of that, the core halo experience is in tact with a wide variety of well known weapons in tow to cause all kinds of chaos.
The core campaign experience has you going through the town of mombasa and finding remnants of your other squad members, which will bring a “flashback” (level) to be played out showing what happened. Once out of it, you proceed to the next one. Repeat 6 times and end with two concluding chapters. Even in a small dose, this felt repetitive and shallow while it really didnt feel like it was worth the 60 dollar “drop”. But they did add a new mode of gameplay.
Now, the new mode that comes with it is called firefight. Think gears of war 2’s horde mode with one less player and much more demanding performance. You pool lives as a group and earn more ONLY after the end of each wave. This means you are punished for playing with a new or less skilled player and is a major upset for team morale. Also, you can NOT search for friends in a lobby, you can only invite them off a friends list. That is unsatisfactory in everyway and I hope that gets focused on quickly. Heaven forbid your friends move on to a new game now you are left to search the net for people to play with vice a matchmaking setup. With those two massive negatives being stated, once you have a full squad to rock it out, it is an utter delight. The fast paced action that is had as four players have to down vehicles, down waves upon waves of enemies, manage ammo of fallen fiends, etc is beyond the definition of fun.
This is a very easy to game to rack up points in but definitely hard to max thanks to the vid master challenge achievements.
This is a mixed bag. The campaign has a fresh angle but the performances set to carry it out fall short of the bungie standard. Also, it can be completed in 4-8 hours depending on the number of players and difficulty set. Firefight is awesome but has some very critical requirements to be enjoyed to its fullest. This isnt an eyesore but it was due a much better standard of aesthetics. In the end, I can’t say you need to drop a full retail price for this game. Rent it, get some kicks out of it, and move on.