Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halo 3 ODST Video Game Review

Halo 3 ODST is the new first person shooter in the Halo universe from Bungie. It came out of the ashes of a cancelled game that was to be led by Peter Jackson, called, "Halo Chronicles." Two years after the Halo 3, Bungie takes you back to battle the Covenant.

You play Rookie, a nameless grunt in the ODST. (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) The story takes place during Halo 2 and the Prophet of Regret's assault on New Mombasa. If you remember Halo 2, the mission Delta Halo, ODST were elite infantry who came to their targets in rocket pods. In this mission you are to drop with Naval Intelligence Officer Dare (voiced by Tricia Helfer) and your squad led by Buck (voiced by Nathan Filion). As your squad drops, the Prophet of Regret's ship enters hyperspace, destroying parts of the city and scattering the squad over the city. You land and must find Barack Obama's birth certificate. Just kidding, you crazy birthers. You must find your other squad mates and discover what Dare's secret mission is.

Halo Media Bias

The city of New Mombasa serves as a hub similar to the city of Isenstadt in Wolfenstein. You wonder around the city and find artifacts of your squad mates, a helmet, or a bent sniper rifle that leads to missions playing as that squad mate told in flashback. Similar to Wolfenstein, you don't have to play the missions in any order. Now Wolfenstein was criticized for this approach as there was virtually nothing to do in the hub. The same problem exists in ODST In fact, it's worse. The city of New Mombasa is patrolled by Covenant forces. The problem is ammo is scarce and so is health. Try killing a hunter with a needler. It becomes frustrating because all this does is to delay you from finding an artifact to start the next mission. By the way, I've read critics complaints about this approach in Wolfenstein, I have yet to read a complaint about this in ODST. Must be that Halo media bias.

The graphics are gorgeous and detailed. New Mobasa at night is lonely. The night vision works well, allowing you to see in the dark. Remember in Halo 2, running into a trooper that looked and sounded like That Seventies Show's Laura Prepon. Well that's because it was. In ODST, Dare not only is voiced by the lovely Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) but looks like her. Same with Buck, who looks like Filion. (Firefly)

The sound is good. Gun effects are the same quality as Halo 3. Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori's music deserve praise. The lush, jazz influenced score reflects the emotions of the Rookie. The saxophone solos echoes the loneliness of being separated from one's friends. Well done.

Controls for the most part work. Head shots are still the best attacks. Unfortunately, the Warthog makes its appearance again. I don't understand why Bungie made this thing so hard to drive. I mean look at the driving mechanics of Grand Theft Auto IV. Why couldn't they make it as easy to drive as the cars in GTA IV? It's just sheer torture. The good thing is that the other vehicles are much easier to drive.

As far as game play, missions are exciting if a little hard. The lack of health packs make it difficult and the scarcity of ammo is annoying. Levels are interesting. Sticking a foe with a plasma grenade is still a blast. Pun intended. There also a nice emotional love story between Buck and Dare.

IF you like the Halo games, pick up this prequel to Halo 3. The grade is B. Here's a kick ass live action trailer to whet your appetite.

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