Now for something completely different. ODST was an expansion for Halo 3 turned whole game. It takes place around the same time as Halo 2. Instead of a Spartan you play as an ODST trooper trying to investigate what happened to his team. It goes some different places. The biggest is that health is a thing again and more prominent. You can only take a few hits before it starts cutting into your life which need to be replenished with medkits you can find. The game has a HUB world you explore to find missions, each telling the story of one of the ODST troopers. It's much more story driven, or at least dramatized than the previous games.
You start off exploring a city at night and it's really hard to see anything and real easy to get lost. There's some map functions and a lot of tutorials for dealing with it. Your starting weapons are a silenced SMG, which is actually an SMG with a scope, the silencer makes no actual difference. As such it doesn't really do a lot of damage making it highly unsatisfying. You also get a scoped pistol which is roughly similar to the one in Halo: CE but with a silencer, so it's headshot time. You aren't very powerful so you have to take encounters slow and make sure you don't get too much damage or you might make later encounters harder. At least right now health is plentiful though. Getting through a Brute's armor with the starting weapons can be a bit tough though. Due to the darkness you'll spend most of your time with the VISR filter on as it highlights things. I found it annoying because I don't like filters all the time. Eventually you come across a helmet belonging to one of your teammates which kicks off the first real level.
Oh boy Halo 2 flashbacks. You're starting weapon sucks and makes it impossible to take down Brutes so we need to revert to the the tried and true Plasma Pistol + Pistol to beat them at least until you find your first Beam Rifle or Carbine. Thankfully there's not too many Brutes. I'd recommend saving your grenades for the end as you need to fight two Hunters. Interestingly, there are different types now. The blue Hunters are the ones from Halo 2 and 3 that shoot a stream of plasma, the new (old) yellow ones behave more like Halo CE's Hunters with a single explosive shot.
Here we get to have some fun with the Warthog. The single passenger vehicles are simply not as useful because they don't do the type of damage you need. You also start with a Spartan Laser which is very helpful for dealing with the first few Wraiths. As you go you'll find more Warthogs and marines in case you lose some, the most valuable of which are the ones with Spartan Lasers. As a passenger they can deal a lot of damage and have fairly long range but are especially useful at killing Wraiths while you can concentrate fully on not dieing. At the end you can simply floor it and bypass the remaining enemies.
Another vehicle section this time with tanks. You start with just enough rockets to take down the Wraith and then you can get the Scorpion close by. From here it's standard tank rampage though they sometimes place enemies above you which can be hard to hit. Take it slow and eventually you'll find Dutch at which point you need to dismount because someone put up a stupid barrier. The last battle has you facing off against a bunch of Covenant and a Wraith which you need to take down by boarding. Not too difficult provided you kill the gunner first.
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This time it's time to play defense. The first part has you running back to detonate a bridge. Then you fall back to a court yard. Fighting enemies is not necessary as you'll always be called to fall back so I'm not sure what the point of this is other than an unintuitive scripted segment. Inside you have to defend yourself from being attacked from multiple sides. You have a turret but after about 3 or 4 rounds you'll need to back off as there will simply be too many of them. Then it's just cleaning up the stragglers and hoping you have a enough ammo to flush them out. Then more will come in the other 2 sides. This is a bigger wave but there's only one. Luckily you can pick up some ammo where the first waves came from because you'll probably be running low. Finally you take the elevator up to a battle on the landing pad. There's a chieftain up there and you pretty much need him to target an AI otherwise you're probably dead because getting chased out of cover will kill you even if he doesn't. If you wait long enough a Pelican appears that will help you clear the last of the enemies out and again it's really needed because ammo is scarce in your cover area. As always in resource scarce areas, you need to stockpile plasma pistols and use a precision side arm.
This is an interesting level with an interesting setting. You're going through a series of rooftop plazas but you get lots of sniper ammo which is always nice. Eventually you wind up crossing to another building to meet up with your teammates. Here you get the defend against a lot of aircraft but you get plenty of rockets, lasers and missile pods to do so. The missile pods are a turret type weapon that locks on and fires a homing missile. A little bit like Halo 2's rocket launcher but faster and with more rockets. The ammo depletes pretty quickly but there's a lot of them. Win the fight and you're done. Real nice action level.
Bleh. I've come to find I don't like Banshee levels. While the concept is cool and all to fly around and drop bombs you're just so weak to attacks that any little thing will kill you and dog-fighting often turns into a game of chicken moving head on until one pilot loses. The Banshees here move slowly which lets you bomb better though so ground enemies aren't as big a deal. Your squad mates will be in a Phantom that can support you. This level also has several places where you might encounter a game breaking bug, as I certainly did. The Phantom simply refuses to move and thus doors will not open. Along the way you bust up a bunch of hives for those little bomber aliens and eventually have to fight a Scarab. The Scarab is not occupied except for a few gunners so it's not too hard to take down, plus it gets distracted by you invincible teammates.
This is one finally stars the rookie. You jump into a hole that's actually an Umbrella secret laboratory or something. This extremely repetitive level isn't too bad and features some up-close fights which are fun and some fights against Drones which are generally not. Just make sure to shoot them in the air and it kills them much faster than on the ground for some reason. Also, your cop buddy is helpful as a distraction for Brutes so you can whack them from behind and save ammo. You'll go through many identical square rooms connected by hallways until you lose count. Eventually you part ways and he dies, but you get a new partner, the captain. She's found one of those bomb aliens but it turns out they're good and you need to protect it. The next sequence is just luck based as the stupid thing loves to fly into harms way. At least it gives you an overshield if you are close by. If you get lucky you'll meet back up with Buck and fight your way out and from then on its usually well-behaved. This level is much longer than the rest and for no good reason. The repetitive structure doesn't help and neither does the escort mission part.
Not quite a normal Warthog escape sequence. This is level has you defending an armored vehicle with the (now called) engineer but most of the time you need to use it as cover as the enemy vehicles will absolutely shred you. Seriously, they whine about shields taking damage but it's more than you have. You go segment by segment with gates in between which is a painfully obvious way to mask the loading. Each segment looks nearly identical to, just with a slight change of enemies. After a few you get a gauss hog but it's short lived before you get a tank and can actually survive on your own. Near the end it appears you're gonna fight a Scarab but it has a short attention span and keeps walking. Not sure what that was all about. Finally you have one last big defense sequence. It's a few big waves including Brutes, Hunters, more Brutes and snipers with a chieftain and Wraiths. Collecting the sniper ammo is helpful but can leave you open, hope the enemies get distracted by your squad-mates. You also can't kill the Wraiths you just have to kill all the other enemies and a Phantom with the rest of the crew swoops in to end the mission.
The jazzy overworld was unnecessary. It's just not fun trying to navigate and take down enemies in pitch dark. Especially since there's almost no ammo, all drops come from enemies. I'm not even really sure what the point was since finding objects to tie together the stories doesn't make much sense as a story conceit either, it's not like he has psychic powers or anything. The silenced SMG makes you want to use it more than it's actually useful. It has a scope which is always nice but its damage sucks so much that you can't really kill anything with it. The magnum is always better and I appreciate that it has a scope again. The health system is a little more annoying than necessary as is the painful breathing noises that happens when you take damage.
The levels aren't bad, but aren't memorable. Even looking back over this post I don't overly remember them and I think that's really all there might be to say here. It's not a bad game but just forgettable.Back to Home