Join Date: May 2010
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Please Rate this Review: Halo ODST
High - Exploring the devastated streets of New Mombasa.
Low - The length of the game.
WTF - When Master Chief di- I mean, the dated character animations.
When writing a review for a game so much as related to the Halo franchise, one must walk a very tight rope of relaying information regarding game-play mechanisms, story structure and character development, while still tending to the needs of hardcore Halo fans. If you’re reading this review with the enlightened view point that Master Chief is in fact not ‘DA BOMB!’ but just another pair of floating eyes you siphoned through when completing the first three halo games (albeit a bad ass pair of eyes), then chances are you won’t be very effected by developer Bungie’s decision to shift the focus on another group of characters (also badass). These characters being the O.D.S.T (That’s Orbital Drop Shock Troopers FTW!!!). The setting of the game takes place between Halo 2 and 3, the Covenant (the bad guys) have invaded our little blue plant and the O.D.S.T (that’s pronounced oh-di-sut, not quite as catchy as ‘Swat’) have been called in as reinforcements.
The characters, reminiscent of a futuristic A-team all specialise in different areas, ranging from heavy weapons, vehicular transport and medium weapons). The main character, simply called ‘the Rookie’, wakes up six hours after crash landing in ‘New Mombasa’, flashback levels are initiated by randomly findings objects relating to the other characters in the dystopian city. It is in these flashback sequences the game gets the opportunity to truly shine, although many of the core Halo game-play mechanics remain untouched, other facets have been tweaked. Firstly the pistol from halo 3 is out, replaced with a weaker but more accurate pistol reminiscent of the first Halo game, and bullets will fire in correspondence to you slamming that trigger down. Fear not halo fans, you also get a ‘new’ toy to play with, this being the visor, which when turned on will highlight everything in the players view point, this can prove especially useful in the games night time sequences (Hello Riddick). Some of the SMG’s have also been modified with silencers attached, this has proved to be nothing more than an aesthetic choice, at least that’s the impression I got when I hid behind a bush in a Thief-esque manner, shot a little cretin with my silenced weapon, and stared in bedazzlement as the rest of the stormtr- err Covenant turned around and killed me in what I think was some variation of a micro second.
But moving on, major aesthetic choices have been made to differentiate all of the flashback sequences, you will see tropical beaches, mountainous regions, industrial areas, as well the odd exploding bridge thrown in there. These variations bring a refreshing take on what the Halo universe can hold. Character animations on the other hand, seem extremely poor when compared to competition, O.D.S.T is one of few games that has yet to use motion capture as a tool for realistic character movement, and it shows, primarily in cut scenes where your fellow comrades will be seen marching around the room like puppets in a Trey Parker/Matt Stone movie. One redeemable trait during cut-scenes however, is the fantastic voice acting, with Hollywood’s best B listers such as Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin (Nope, your thinking of his brother Alec) offering their vocal talents, they help to ground these characters in reality, and at the very least manage to differentiate themselves from their squad mates.
An interesting change to Halo’s traditional run and gun gameplay (of course there’s more to it than that), are the quiet exploration sections that bridge the gap between the action packed flashback sequences. Depending on the type of gamer you are, you may investigate your devastated home world, while picking up pieces of a story about a girl named Sadie, or you can just run straight to your objective marker and get right into the action. If you decide to not go the route of the latter, and want to go for a bit of a wander, chances are you will be pleasantly surprised by the atmospheric weight of these scenes, and the words ‘Blade Runner’ may crop up in your mind occasionally.
The music as always is fantastic, although hardcore halo nuts will be slamming their heads against their Master Chief themed wallpapered walls, it is true that the popular main theme of Halo is no where to be heard, and you won’t be playing in excitement waiting for the orchestra to hit that crescendo, which seems appropriate for the setting of the game. This is a more personal story, and although you won’t be turning up the speakers during any of the flashback sequences, composer Martin O’Donnell has comprised some truly beautiful music for the exploration sequences, which evoke a bleakness which was previously unseen in a Halo game.
What semblance of a story there is, is pretty straight to point, find squad mates, fight some orc- Covenant, and escape the alien ridden planet. Bungie’s original intention of this being an expansion pack would have seemed more appropriate, with the completion time ranging from 4-6 hours depending on whether or not you enjoy the night time walks. Halo fans will rejoice in a new story to play however short it may seem, but gamers less excited by the Halo IP may want to go elsewhere, as a famous philanthropist once said, “Erm, that game's OK but nothing special”.
7/10 if you love halo.
Disclosures: This game was obtained via retailer and reviewed on the Xbox 360 console. Approximately 6 hours of play was devoted to the single player campaign and the game was completed. Although the game contains multiplayer modes, this review focuses primarily on the single player campaign.
Parents: According to PEGI this game has been given a rating of 16+, I advise parents to play this game themselves and come to their own conclusion as to whether or not children under the age of 16 should play it, as much of the content is quite harmless and in my opinion would be fine for any child who is 12+.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: A lot of information featured in the game is displayed visually, as well as having subtitled options, the game displays red marks when a player is being damaged, for the most part this should be a relatively easy game to adapt to.
Amputee Gamers: No body ever talks about the amputee gamers. You can do it!
Last edited by FarmerBlaire815; 05-12-2010 at 12:41 PM.