Halo 3 ODST

FBT plays Halo Opposing Force

After really enjoying Halo 3 (having been disappointed by Halo CE and H2), I’m cautiously optimistic about Halo ODST – especially because when I saw it in the Master Chief Collection, I misread it as Halo 3’s “Original Digital Sound Track” and nearly skipped it. Idiot.

Turns out ODST means "Orbital Drop Shock Troopers", which are the Spec Ops division. Not sure what makes them special, we can’t jump as high, survive the same level of damage or dual-weld, and we don’t have a Cortana. We’re not Master Chief, we’re his clean up crew. Set during Halo 2’s New Mombasa event, a team of ODST is dropped into the city during the Covenant’s attack to recover an unknown asset. When newest member, Rookie, is separated during the drop, they must navigate the hostile city while looking for signs of the squad and complete the mission.

At first, I assumed ODST was going to be a standard shooter where, conveniently separated from the team, we solo our way to the squad with our commander barking missions over the radio and earn their respect by saving them from a big boss, the end. Instead, Rookie free-roams the city, uncovering clues that reveal our fellow soldier’s actions during the attack, which we play via a flashback. So instead, ODST feels at first like Counter Strike Deleted Scenes, a bunch of mismatched, orphaned levels cut from Halo 2 and 3 with Rookie as a narrative bridge. An unconnected tank mission, an air strike, a rescue mission… and so on.

But, ODST creeps up on you – you get invested; the Rookie was knocked unconscious during his drop and is six hours behind the others, so we don’t know the fate of the squad, and the Rookie’s levels are at night and the city is deserted, save for the Covenant patrols; the Rookie seems to be the last human in New Mombasa, giving it an eerie feel as we wander around, finding evidence of the battles and events the team got caught up in. It’s like we’re the last to leave the party.

And it would have been a great party; three of the squad are played by Firefly alumni - Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, and our CO is Mass Effect’s EDI (Tricia Helfer). They all have great dialogue, especially Fillion and Helfer’s characters, who share a romantic past – their story in the c