Tech News on G4

'Halo: ODST' doesn't measure up

Oct 30, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

back to -|- Tech News index -|- John Powell column archive


Halo: ODSTA ‘Halo’ without Master Chief? Say it isn’t so. Oh, yes, faithful reader. It is true. It is darn true.

Occurring at the same time as the fateful events of ‘Halo 2’, ‘Halo ODST’, features a fresh cast of playable characters. Yes, that’s “characters”, plural. As you fight to take back what little is left of the African city of New Mombasa from the Covenant, you will bounce between several members of a tough as nails ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) squad.

Dropping out of Earth’s atmosphere in pods, the troopers are scattered all over the charred remains of the city and throughout the elaborate storyline, overcome enemies and obstacles as they try to reunite with one another. You know, it is the whole “No soldier gets left behind” state of mind.

Halo: ODSTThe storyline itself is the best part of ‘Halo ODST’. Weaving the threads together in a playable format was not easy. Just when you figure things out and have an idea of where your character is going, everything gets turned upside down as you leap into someone else’s skin. Here’s a tip of a hat to developers Bungie for taking on the challenge of telling a different kind of story in a different kind of way. Nice job.

To make things more challenging, the ODST trooper doesn’t have the luxury of sporting the luxurious armour worn by Spartan soldiers and other members of the United Nations Space Command. They are not super soldiers and therefore have no super gadgets either. It is back to basics for this mission. All you have is a normal stamina metre, which blips to red very, very quickly. Hiding so you can rest countless times during a battle to build your stamina back up is the norm.

Halo: ODSTThat’s how Bungie made ‘ODST’ a mite more taxing than other ‘Halo’ instalments and they had to do so because there is nothing besides the armour system that presents a hardship to any experienced  ’Halo’ player. ‘ODST’ started out as an add-on to ‘Halo 3’ and it shows in the generic gameplay and the battleground settings. Towards the end of the fleeting adventure, things do pick up considerably. There is a scorpion tank free-for-all pursuit where you blow banshees out of the sky while on the run and a banshee escourt mission that has you piloting an enemy aircraft. You have to plough through the many uninspiring street scuffles to get to the truly first-rate skirmishes though.

Halo: ODSTThe second disk is full of every ‘Halo’ map ever released as well as three new ones, so, if you are a newbie to the franchise, ‘ODST’ is not a bad package to pick up even though its Firefight mode pales in comparison to the one found in ‘Gears of War 2’ and the campaign lasts only six to eight hours. ‘ODST’ should satisfy the hunger of any hardcore ‘Halo’ fan until ‘Reach’ is released next year. For casual fans, ‘ODST’ will play out as a undistinguished and unmemorable distraction.




Halo: ODST'Halo: ODST'
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Official Site:

Rating: 7 / 10




  Related Articles
· Get G4
· G4 Press Release Index
· Interact
· Advertising Information

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