|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bungie Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep.22, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The mix of the Rookie segments and the action-packed ODST potions worked rather well and kept me interested in seeing what came next the entire way through the campaign. Although the game grew in scope since its initial announcement, the campaign still rounds out at only about six hours. This may seem like a letdown to some but honestly, the shorter run-time has allowed for a well-paced, tight experience that lasts long enough to be enjoyable and rewarding but doesn't overstay its welcome and become tedious. In any case, the Halo series' longevity has always been found in its multiplayer and ODST is no exception.
Halo 3: ODST comes packaged with two discs. The second disc in the case contains exactly what it says on the box, which is "the complete Halo 3 multiplayer experience." Aside from the original maps included at the release of Halo 3, ODST's second disc comes complete with the Heroic, Legendary, Cold Storage, and Mythic Map packs as well as three new maps. These new maps are Longshore, Citadel, and Heretic, which is the updated version of Halo 2's Midship that fans have been begging for since Halo 3's release. Everything on this disc functions exactly the same as it would if you were playing it using the Halo 3 disc including video sharing, matchmaking, and Forge customization. Thankfully, ODST also comes with the remaining Vidmaster achievements that finally make it possible for every player to score the once exclusive Recon Armor for use in multiplayer.
While having the entire spread of Halo 3 multiplayer maps in one place makes a great multiplayer package by itself, there is an additional surprise tucked away on the campaign disc of ODST. Scrolling past the campaign you'll find a Firefight mode, which is a new take on Halo multiplayer. That's not to say it is a completely new idea, as the concept has already been seen in Gears of War 2's horde mode and to a lesser extent in Call of Duty: World at War's Nazi Zombie mode. Firefight consists of one to four players controlling ODSTs and struggling to survive against ever-increasingly difficult waves of enemies with very limited supplies or time to seek shelter. While it may not be the most original idea, it is incredibly fun and has a distinct Halo flavor to it. To further spice things up, certain rounds will even have differing conditions, such as not being able to recharge stamina until you melee an enemy, thrown in just to keep players on their toes. The only real downside to this mode is that it lacks a matchmaking feature, meaning if you wish to fully enjoy it, you'll need to have some friends ready and willing to play with you.
With the overabundance of multiplayer goodness combining with a somewhat short, but incredibly well done and interesting six hour, single-player and/or co-op campaign, Halo 3: ODST's sixty dollar price tag is more than justified for newcomers to the series. However, if you've already paid for most of the included multiplayer maps it may be a little harder to get past the game's price tag. Even so, the new Firefight mode, three new multiplayer maps, a Halo: Reach beta invite, and an excellent six hour campaign should definitely be more than enough to make any Halo fan happily slap down sixty dollars for ODST.
CCC Staff Contributor