Tech News on G4
Sorry to say - ODST doesn't age well
Jul 6, 2015
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
It sure doesn't bode well for a game when it's released essentially as a big apology for fans, but that's essentially what the Master Chief Collection version of Halo 3: ODST is.
The Master Chief Collection launched in November of 2014, and to say the multiplayer portion was rife with issues would be a massive understatement.
The online competitive aspect of the game was so broken, in fact, that a month later in December developer 343 Industries announced it was developing a digital-only version of Halo 3: ODST's campaign, and that it would be given away for free to anyone who bought and played the Master Chief Collection up to that point.
For those who bought the Master Chief Collection after the December announcement, ODST is still available for download, though it'll set you back $4.99, and it can't be purchased as a standalone product. Despite it costing about the same as a Big Mac, it's tough to recommend ODST to all but the most hardcore Halo fans.
For those who aren't familiar with ODST - which was originally released in 2009 - it follows the interconnected storylines of several Orbital Drop Shock Troopers as they descend upon the fictional African city of New Mombasa. ODSTs are, for all intents and purposes, badasses who in this game are tasked with helping protect Earth, which is under attack by the evil Covenant.
You play as the Rookie, who crashes into New Mombasa and is unable to locate any of his squadmates. As you traverse the city, you find clues as to your team's whereabouts, and then play through individual ODST campaigns in flashback sequences, helping fill in answers about what happened to everyone post-drop.
This is the first Halo game that doesn't feature Master Chief (he's busy on actual Halo installations during the time that ODST takes place), but that's not the reason the game falls flat.
No - one of the big problems with ODST is that the sections set on New Mombasa simply don't work in a video game setting. They do help fill in backstory, particularly if you take the time to seek out the 30 hidden audio logs scattered throughout the city. But doing this not only feels like a cheap way of extending what is a relatively short game, but it also makes following the backstory cumbersome.
Not only that, but New Mombasa is relatively empty and not particularly exciting. Sure, you'll encounter a few firefights, some Phantoms and Wraiths, and the occasional Hunter, but all things considered, these are far from the most exciting Halo moments.
The individual levels featuring the other ODSTs fare much better, although few of them stray very far from the Halo formula that was created in the first three games.
In terms of new features, there is virtually nothing added to the Master Chief Collection version of ODST. It runs at 60 FPS in 1080p, and the visuals have been upgraded slightly to look crisper, but there are no additional levels, cutscenes, or anything else.
New achievements are added on for the game, and players can attempt to beat par times, or finish levels using different skull modifiers.
What is sure to upset a lot of players, though, is that the fan-favourite Firefight co-operative mode isn't included with the price of ODST.
What you're left with is a very short campaign - one which has remained virtually unchanged since its release six years ago. If you own the Master Chief Collection and absolutely loved the admittedly unique ODST story, there are far worse ways to spend five dollars.
For everyone else who owns the collection, there's already years' worth of awesome stuff to keep you busy. I'd suggest focusing on that, and taking a pass on ODST until it (presumably) becomes available for free in the future.
Halo 3: ODST for the Master Chief Collection
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.