Busy Gamer Review - Halo 3: ODST

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Busy Gamer Review

Too busy to devote 12+ hours a day to your gaming habit? Here's a review that's sensitive to your needs: Short and focused on just the things that a busy gamer like you really needs to know.

Busy Gamer Review - Halo 3: ODST

Reviewed On: Xbox 360.

Halo 3: ODST
"Mal, uh, Nathan, I mean Buck! Cover me!"
In a Nutshell: The latest - and shortest - entry in the Halo saga, but with a film noir stylistic twist. Oh, and you're not Master Chief anymore. Instead, you play a noob recruit who aspires to be as handy in battle as a Spartan. No more magical armor or healing powers; you're going to have to learn to duck and cover, search for health packs and pick your fights with greater caution if you want to get through this on anything higher than easy. Which, by the way, is the level I played - Easy. Something I never thought I would do, but given the save game (more on that shortly) and my desire to actually make progress in the brief times allotted to me, I decided to go for the version that "practically plays itself."

And yeah, for the most part, it kind of does. I mean, Easy doesn't have to mean "long stretches with absolutely NOTHING to do except ooh and aah at the scenery," does it? The difference between Easy and Normal is HUGE. There needs to be a smaller chasm between the two here. Send in some enemies, throw some firefights at me - but don't make it so insanely difficult that I can't make progress. Better yet, let me save anywhere. Because being forced to search for a checkpoint, rather than allowing me to just find a place to hide and save my game, had a lot more to do with me choosing Easy than my abilities as a Halo player. I'm fine with getting beat down - just let me save my progress so that I can leave when I need to, or just quit and come back later without having to start all over.

Learning Curve: Seasoned Halo players shouldn't have too much trouble picking this one up in terms of button mashing but, strategy-wise, it's a whole new game. No more running in guns ablazing with the option to duck and recover. When you get hurt, you stay hurt until you heal - which requires finding a healing station. (You can't take it with you!) The weapons are generally the same as in previous games, as is the two-weapon limit. The enemy list is also generally the same, with a few upgrades and design tweaks.

If you're new to the series, learning the moves should be relatively easy, especially for FPS vets. This is one game that does not require you to learn eighty different ways to pummel the enemy, nor do you need to master a weapon before you can pick it up. Point, shoot, rinse, repeat. You can also beat down enemies with most weapons. The Needler (aka pink death!) is particularly useful as a beat-down machine.

The Save Game: As I stated earlier, you can't save anywhere - you have to find a checkpoint. Fortunately, just crossing the threshold of a checkpoint (entering a building or new region, for instance) will give you a save. I shouldn't have to wander an extra 20 minutes, or worse, backtrack, just to save my game, though. I have a hard drive. I hazard to say most people do, or at least a memory unit. Let me save my game anywhere. Note that this ability did not hurt Fallout 3 sales one bit... and that is one big-ass game save.

Family Factor: Uh, no. Unless by family you mean allowing your teenagers to pwn you in multiplayer. This one is not for the kids, folks.

Buy, Rent or Skip? Depends on how you plan to use it. I beat the game in just under a month, and that was only playing every few days. (Albeit some rather long sessions.) The creators admit it's about 8-12 hours of gameplay, and it's less if you just plow through it. If you just want to beat the main mission and move on, I'd either plan on a long rental (or a weekend when the kids are away) or borrow it. If you are into multiplayer, by all means, buy.

If you act fast and enter here, you might just win it!

Personally, I've already moved on to Assassin's Creed II.

On a Personal Note: I started playing Halo back before I was a busy gamer (e.g., before I had a kid), managed to get into a Halo 2 multiplayer beta (the only time I've enjoyed playing deathmatch modes), and kind of dropped out midway through Halo 3 when my game got corrupted right after a checkpoint that took a week to finish. So I was rather ambivalent about ODST when I heard it was coming out. While I don't feel a strong need to go back to Halo 3, I did really like ODST. It just left me feeling a little nostalgic for the very first time I played Halo. You only experience the Flood for the first time once - and I can still remember the deep feelings of fear, horror and exhilaration it inspired. I didn't get that from ODST, but I did find it highly enjoyable.

Also, the voice roster for this game is phenomenal, as usual. But this one is extra special for me, because three - count 'em, three - actors from the Firefly/Serenity 'Verse (Nathan "Mal" Fillion, Alan "Wash" Tudyk, and Adam "Not one of those Baldwins, but I am Jane" Baldwin) makes it extra special. Being a huge Firefly fan, it was both thrilling and somewhat apropos to hear these voices floating through space.

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This page contains a single entry by GrrlGotGame published on December 1, 2009 5:22 PM.

Wii and DS Stuff - Christmas Clix, Copter Crisis, My Zoo, Bookworm, Fotoface and Nirvana was the previous entry in this blog.

Be Careful Out There - This may get you banned from Xbox Live is the next entry in this blog.

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