Long story short, ODST is looking damn good…
On Monday I attended a preview event of Halo 3 ODST. It began with a presentation of the single player campaign which sees you control the Rookie and other characters along the way. Overall, the campaign is very different to that of past Halo games since it seems to be more focused on exploring, finding clues and seeing events from other characters’ perspective. The classic Halo gameplay remains, but being an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper isn’t the same as being a Spartan…
First of all when your stamina is depleted, any damage you take is permanent until you find a health pack. Yes, just when you thought you had seen the last of health packs….they emerge in ODST. You also can’t jump as high or be able to land from a big drop without losing stamina. An ODST is also slower than a Spartan, so you are at a disadvantage or so it would seem. Having played ODST myself, I can’t say that the losses are that great. It still feels like playing a Halo game; it just adds a bit more depth to the combat and essentially stops you being invincible in the form of Master Chief. Another thing to note is that the single player campaign offers co-op just like Halo 3 (upto 4 players).
The mode we got to try at the event was Firefight. It’s essentially the Horde mode from Gears of War 2, but harder. You are given 7 lives between 4 co-op players and when one player dies, the life is lost. So essentially you have to make all the lives last otherwise you won’t be able to respawn. Add in the fact that skulls become active the harder you go and enemies become much tougher, not to mention that ammo can become scarce sometimes…and you have yourself a tough mode, but one that is damn fun to play.
There were only 3 maps to try at the event. The first was Alpha Site and it’s a base-like level with waves of enemies coming from ships at opposite ends of the area. The enemies are quite varied in the waves and the new weapons pack a serious punch against them.
The second map was Crater and it’s quite a dark level, The UV mode helps during dark spots to see your enemies and allies. Enemies can come from quite a few directions, so it’s not always guaranteed. Another thing to notice is that enemy spawns can be random, for example in one map they might drop one or two Wraiths differently.
The third and final map is Security Zone which is more or less a head-on assault with the enemy. It can be pretty hard since they spawn Wraiths on this one and it’s a big level, so if you don’t stick together…it can become tricky later on. Alas we only got 10 minutes each time, so we didn’t have much of a challenge to contend with other than trying to outperform each others’ high scores. The different skulls get activated upon each round of the match. So after all waves of one round are complete, another skull becomes active. The ones we got to were where enemies became tougher and grenade happy…
Its odd how much better ODST looks than Halo 3 does, that question and more are answered in the interview
Tthe latest screenshots are here (Note: You may want to turn up your speakers for the interview, apologies for the bad quality, oh and be sure to have Quicktime installed.)
Overall, the game handles well and Firefight is a fantastic addition to ODST. I can’t wait to try it in September.