The Halo: Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One sounded like a dream come true for Halo fans like myself when it was first announced. All the Halo games on ONE disc is certainly an appealing marketing move, and the inclusion of all multiplayer maps running on their original engines along with a fully remastered Halo 2 are the perfect way to re-experience this acclaimed series. Its release is the ultimate way for Microsoft to pay respect to their fans who have loved the franchise for years. Sadly all this fell short of greatness with months of bugs and unstable multiplayer stability. This is where Halo 3: ODST comes in to save the day. 343 studios is making amends with their player base and offering ODST for free. But how well does it stack up?
This is my first time playing through Halo 3: ODST and it’s super exciting to play a high definition version of the game. ODST originally came out in 2009 as a Halo spinoff for the Xbox 360. The game focuses on the “Orbital Drop Shock Troopers” in the aftermath of the Battle of Mombasa. This game is interesting as this is the first game that Halo players won’t be playing as the beloved Master Chief. ODST creates a new feeling with familiar gameplay elements that have its own positives and negatives.
Players will primarily play as ‘Rookie’, a silent protagonist that must find the remaining members of his squad. Taking control of new characters in a Halo game is very refreshing, and the diverse cast differentiates the very straight forward Master Chief narrative voice. The dynamic between the crew is also a joy to watch. The conversations feel genuine, giving the impression that they have been working for the UNSC for quite some time now. The one aspect that hinders the feeling of complete immersion to the story are the flashbacks. When you come across objects that your crew once had it will bring you back in time and show you their point of view. These get repetitious and the story sort of gets lost in a convoluted timeline. The story follows a very familiar route with Halo games, nothing revolutionary to break the cycle between the two.
It’s a fine story that will keep you entertained and satisfied for the 8-10 hours or so that it takes to finish.
Like the other Halo games there’s not much new to see here in terms of gameplay. We get the typical guns, elites and alien types and the set piece shooting sequences. The new feature that stands out remarkably is the open world aspect of this game. The game will have players explore a ruined city, filled with various types of enemies that are scattered across the map. This is something new to the Halo games and it is an added bonus to the overall gaming experience. Going through the world at your pace provides a clear sense of control as you make your way through a linear path of enemies to complete one objective after another.
A big feature in ODST is the new HUD abilities. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it provides a unique gameplay experience compared to Master Chief’s HUD. The new HUD, Heads Up Display/ Visor, allows players to switch on and off to see highlights of enemies and allies. It also has more futuristic feel to make it more immersive.
Not to anyone’s surprise, 343 did another great job remastering this game. The graphics look well scaled, allowing for a more fully immersed experience and every minute enjoyment of the game in its full capacity and to its maximum potential. One thing that I did find surprising was that I couldn’t switch the graphics from old to new like in other games in this Master Chief Collection. This isn’t a problem but is just strange that it isn’t implemented.
Hats off to the cast and the voice actors for they did a great job in making the story as believable as possible. The sound effects are well executed in this game too. You can tell when shooting that the burst of the rifle sounds so realistic and so alive that it just becomes a joy to kill enemies.
Halo 3 ODST is an honest apology from 343 studios and it shows. The game looks better than ever plus it’s more Halo for fans and newbies alike. With Halo 5 on the horizon all we can do is continue to wait and have confidence that 343 studios won’t botch up this game. ODST is free with the Halo Master Chief collection so what are you waiting for. Go ahead and give it a go. If you have played ODST what do you think of it? How was the remastered version compared to the original? Let me know in the comments below and for all the latest gaming reviews, keep it locked to FGE!