Halo 3: ODST
Having finished Halo 3, I moved onto Halo 3: ODST the very next day. I knew going into ODST that it would be a little different from previous Halos. I welcomed that difference. The detective nature of ODST’s story was a neat twist and having a larger cast of playable characters was great too. Having Nathan Fillion and Tricia Helfer doing voices lent a cinematic quality to the dialogue that is usually lacking in Halo voice acting. That said, the face models looked worse than Halo 3’s did. I was a little disappointed about that, but the game looked fine outside of that. The environments were probably too similar, but since the game takes place over just a small area of New Mombasa, that’s to be expected and is forgivable.
Of all the Halo games I had played up to (and after ODST), ODST was by far the easiest. Where I ran into some super frustrating parts in Halos 1, 2 and 3, ODST was a breeze. I think I finished the game in about six hours (over three sittings). The different characters you switched to seem to come in 30-45 minute chunks, and it led to having natural points to take breaks. ODST lacks the sense of urgency of most Halo experiences and it’s better for it. It was a nice change of pace.
ODST’s biggest weak point is the visor system it uses for night-vision and highlighting enemies. Because so much of the game is played in the dark and because enemies are nearly impossible to spot without it, you wind up playing 90% of the game with the visor on and it gets in the way of the actual game graphics. It’s essentially Batman’s detective vision for Halo. It’s usually to have, but the game would be better off if your normal vision highlighted enemies.
Lastly, the uneventful ending left me wanting more. Your last objective is to skirt away with that floating alien in hopes that he’ll help you win the war against the Covenant, but I have no recollection of him playing a role in Halo 3. (Forgive me if I missed that part of the story.) You sit on the front steps of that building, fending wave after wave of the Covenant until the wave counter runs down and you get picked up by a Pelican. There’s no particular reason why the Pelican is now able to pick you up; it just appears after a few waves.