Around fifteen games journalists descended on the Microsoft offices in Prague on the 11th of September to get their first hands on the new HALO 3 ODST game. Fortunately, I was one of them and with HALO 3: ODST Review Party invite in hand I made my way there as well. They did do some other presentations including Forza 3 and Lips Number One Hits, but it was ODST that everyone came to see, and more importantly, to play.
The moment the game begins, you know this is HALO. Getting into the gameplay confirms this fact but you’ll notice some slight changes. First off, there is no Master Chief, this allows the mythology to breathe and the universe to expand away from a single timeline and single story. It makes HALO 3 ODST all the better and enriches the HALO universe. This game brings diversity to the FPS portion of HALO like Halo Wars brought diverse gameplay to the entire franchise.
If you’re like me and you love a great story that acts as motivation for you to continue playing a game, then you’re in for a real treat, HALO fan or not. Humanity’s fight against the Covenant was never so three-dimensional as it is now.
The gameplay tells you this is a HALO title. The FPS action, the environments lacking in much destructibility, the weapons and major players. They are things we know, things we are comfortable with as we have seen it now for some time. HALO 3: ODST brings with it the comfort of familiarity and that means many will be instantly pleased with it. The Warthogs make a return as do many of the weapons. I hear that you get to drive a tank through the city of New Mombasa but I haven’t witnessed it yet myself.
HALO 3 ODST expands the existing universe and the war with the Covenant into a new direction. You get a new look at the battle and have some new ways to complete some missions. Sure it isn’t groundbreaking but it does mix it up and it is worth the price of admission.
HALO 3 ODST will have two discs will be packed together, a single player disc containing the campaign and firefight accompanied by a multiplayer disc stacked to the edges with maps, game modes and more. Over 20 maps and 9 main modes give a good start. Each mode also has 3-5 variations for a total of 35 ways to play with your friends including Slayer (deathmatch), Territories, King of the Hill, capture-the-flag, Oddball, Juggernaut, Infection (zombies!), Assault and VIP.
The well-rounded HALO 3: ODST offering will certainly bring value to the franchise and flesh out the HALO universe. It will certainly be worth the purchase price, maybe even for those who are not HALO fans. With the release date just around the corner (Sept. 22nd) the HALO franchise will once again shine in the heavens of the gaming greats.