New Mombasa is under attack and it's your duty to drop in and eradicate all the Covenant forces attacking the city. You are an elite Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, trained to be an efficient killing machine. You drop in from the sky and slam the hammer down on some alien butt, or rather, that's how it would have been if everything went to plan.
You begin the game as the character known as Rookie, a strong silent type of person. Not a man of few words, a man of no words. Your mission is to drop down onto the one Covenant ship that has made it past earth's defences and take it out. Everything seems normal until Dare, the sole female character, shows up and changes your drop coordinates. As you and your squad are dropping a Covenant ship jumps and the shockwave scatters the entire team across the city. The rest of the game has you trying to reunite with your squad and eventually discovering your real mission, retrieving the data from the "Superintendent", the city's AI, that assumingly holds important intelligence.
Past players of Halo games will have no problem getting reacquainted with the style of gameplay found in ODST. That said, it's also one of its downfalls. ODST, although an enjoyable game does not reinvent or introduce much of anything new in terms of action. All the enemies are familiar, all the weapons have been seen before and the gameplay takes on a familiar style. This game is in essence an add on to further the background information of the Halo universe and give fans of the series a few more hours of fun while they wait for Halo Reach.
As the Rookie you'll be wandering the streets of New Mombasa alone for the majority of the game. The game does a good job of giving the feeling of being isolated and in danger as you travel the streets alone. Even the saxophone soundtrack further immerses you in the environment giving real atmosphere to the destroyed and abandoned city. As Rookie you'll spend the majority of your time searching for clues that will unravel the mystery as to where the rest of your squad is and how to regroup with them. This consist mostly of traversing through the Covenant infested streets to find items that your squad mates have left throughout the city. This is no cake walk as whenever you encounter enemies they will likely be joined by three to five brutes who are a challenge to take out, especially when you're running low on ammo and grenades. The game normally follows a similar pattern, one level as Rookie and one level back with the other members of your squad. The pace is broken up with occasional vehicle sequences which is typical of a Halo game, and it helps to switch up the regularity of shooting Covenant on foot.
It should be noted that no longer do you have regenerating health as per past Halo games. Although you can absorb a great deal of damage, once you've taken a certain amount your life will stay in the red until you pick up a health pack. This means that during heavy firefights you'll likely have to plot out where the closest health packs are so that you do not die and have to retry the section again. Although worrying about your health might be a nuisance to some, it makes sense as you're no longer playing as the unstoppable killing machine that is a Spartan.
Halo 3 ODST may seem short by modern standards, and at full retail price many people will be wondering if it's worth their money. The answer to this is simple. How many games deliver the quality and experience that a Halo game does? In this sense potential customers should be looking at quality over quantity. The game should take you anywhere from four to seven hours to complete, depending on what difficulty you play on and how hard you search for the thirty audio files scattered throughout the city. These audio files, telling the story of Sadie, are a nice touch as retrieving them rewards you with a different perspective of the events leading up to the Covenant attack and gives you a sense of how chaotic New Mombasa was in the opening few hours of the invasion. You can tell a lot of thought and effort went into these audio files and listening to them will likely have you stopping to listen as you conjure up images of the mayhem that took place during the events of the story.
ODST also introduces a new multiplayer game type known as Firefight, wherein you and up to three friends fight against increasingly difficult waves of Covenant enemies. Also, with ODST you get Halo 3's multiplayer experience including every map that has been released as downloadable content since the game's initial release. If you add up everything that comes in this package it seems like a decent deal that most gamers are unlikely to pass up. Halo 3's multiplayer has been and remains one of the best experiences you can have on Xbox Live. The problem is that most Halo fans have likely already spent real money on these additional maps and having them on a new disc with a full priced retail game will not add any value. Likely purchasers of Halo 3 ODST will already own Halo 3 and may complain that they're paying for content that they already own. It's a difficult balance to strike, but any fan of Halo games will not be disappointed, especially considering the depth and enjoyment playing Firefight with friends can bring.
Halo 3 ODST offers up everything you'd expect from a Halo game. Fast paced action, a decent story, and a great multiplayer experience. ODST furthers the Halo universe and although it's not a completely new experience as many fans would likely expect, it's still a blast to play. Fans of the Halo series will not be disappointed from what content they receive but may feel that more could have been done. New comers to the franchise will have an amazing opportunity to literally drop in and see what all the fuss is about. Solid gameplay and a great experience make this a must have for anybody that is remotely interested in the Halo Franchise.