Halo 3: ODST is one of my favorite types of video games. Specifically, it's a game which takes an already popular and successful video game like Halo 3 and then simply makes more content for it with a different story. These are known as "Mission Pack Sequels" and form the basis for a lot of really good games like the Elder Scrolls series or Assassins Creed. I'm not a great believer that you need to reinvent the wheel to make an entertaining video game and think some of the best are built on a preexisting solid foundation.
Halo 3: ODST was a game which was strongly recommended to me by my fellow Halo fans, an entire community I was apart from until recently, which left me coming into this with very high expectations. It's believed by many to be one of the best Halo games. Honestly, I'm sorry to say I disagree as it's probably my least favorite of the franchise so far. This isn't to say it's a bad game but it's comparing some of the best shooters I've ever played to something which feels a good deal more tepid.
|My biggest question is "Why am I not playing Nathan Fillon's character during this entire game?"|
The cast for ODST is top-notch with Nathan Fillon playing Sergeant Buck, Tricia Helfer playing ONI agent Veronica Dare, and Adam Baldwin as one of the other ODST Troopers. Indeed, part of the game's problem is I had no interest in playing the personality-less Rookie versus playing Halo's version of Malcolm Reynolds. Switching between the characters during their missions also undermined my ability to get attached to them as the majority of their stories lack the kind of emotional gut-punches which make Modern Warfare's use of the trope so interesting.
|The game is about shooting aliens with some AI-controlled buddies. Nothing more or less.|
Gameplay is pretty good, being almost identical to Halo 3 with some minor changes like the fact you don't have shields but "Stamina" (which functions identically to shields) and being able to sprint. There's also the curious fact you can run with the repeating cannons which Master Chief is slowed down by the weight of despite the fact the Spartan-IIs have super-strength. Dual-wielding is impossible, though, but I don't really miss it since I felt it nerfed single weapons.
|The parts wandering the dark streets at night to mournful saxophone music can be quite effective.|
Enemy innovation is limited to the creation of the Engineers who basically float around and repair the shields of the Covenant before exploding if you get too close to them. Given they're adorable and make the game slightly more challenging, I feel no need to kill them and question how much they really benefit the gameplay. ODST also introduces a Horde mode mechanic to the series which I much prefer to Multiplayer.
|Shooting Brutes never gets old.|
Indeed, if you take a step back, there's a lot of very strange narrative choices in the game and I don't just mean constantly switching perspectives in the game between characters who are mostly identical. There's no villain in the game despite a large number of the audible terminals being devoted to making the Police Chief of New Mombasa a complete monster. A character you never meet and who meets his fate offscreen.
|I like Captain Dare but she disappears from the game for 2/3rds of the narrative.|
It should be noted Halo: ODST doesn't come with Halo: The Master Chief Collection but is a DLC purchasable for about five dollars. This is more than my money's worth on the game even if I don't think of this as anywhere near my favorite Halo game. The game is playable from the main game and incorporated as an expansion to Halo 3, though, which makes sense from multiple perspectives.
|Sergeant Johnson needed to be in this game more.|