Tag Archive: Halo 3: ODST


Sotaro Tojima Moves to 343 Industries

According to a twit from the official Halo Waypoint twitter account, Sotaro Tojima formerly of Kojima Productions has moved to Microsoft’s Halo studio 343 Industries as an audio director. Tojima did a lot of work in the sound department at Kojima Productions for many of the Metal Gear Solid games, until he moved on to work on the soundtrack on MGS4. That’s some strong talent Microsoft picked up.

Looks like Halo’s power (AKA Money) captures developers of all kinds, I’m interested in seeing how the Halo soundtrack evolves with this new influence on board. If Halo 3: ODST has taught us anything, it’s that the Halo series soundtrack doesn’t always need to be in the style of space opera.

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So the October NPD sales data has hit us, and there’s really not that many surprises. Wii and DS continue to murder with Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort as its best selling software this month. PS3 continues to ride the increased sales wave of its recent price drop, and PSP sales are low as usual. Halo 3: ODST continues to sell well, and people love the NBA.

Some surprises though. Uncharted 2 was a big hit it seems selling a half million copies, Borderlands sells roughly 400K on the 360 (PS3 not on the list) which was much better than it being sent out to die as some said. Forza 3 races at a steady pace with 175K, and Kingdom Hearts sells well for the DS at 169K.

One little disapointing thing to note, Brutal Legend isn’t on the Top 10, though according to Geoff Keighley’s twit it sold roughly 215K on both the 360 and PS3 combined. Maybe I’ll pick up a copy of the game someday.

Check out the full data sheet below. Any surprises for you folks? Tell me in the comments!

PlayStation 2 117.8K
PlayStation 3 320.6K
PSP 174.6K
Xbox 360 249.7K
Wii 506.9K
Nintendo DS 457.6K

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES (PS3; Oct-09) 537,000
WII FIT PLUS* (WII; Oct-09) 441,000
BORDERLANDS (360; Oct-09) 418,000
WII SPORTS RESORT* (WII; Jul-09) 314,000
NBA 2K10* (360; Oct-09) 311,000
HALO 3: ODST (360; Sep-09) 271,000
NBA 2K10* (PS3; Oct-09) 213,000
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 (360; Oct-09) 175,000
KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 DAYS (NDS; Sep-09) 169,000
FIFA SOCCER 10 (360; Oct-09) 156,000

Review – Halo 3: ODST

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Systems – Xbox 360

Publisher – Microsoft Game Studios

Developer – Bungie

Genre – First-Person Shooter

Halo 3: ODST is the next step in the Halo series that people may not have been expecting. As an expansion whose purpose is to tide us over until the next big Halo game (AKA Halo: Reach) it does a lot of new things that, while doesn’t completely change the Halo 3 formula, breathes fresh air into the series. Offering perhaps the best campaign and atmospheric experience in the entire Halo series.

Halo 3: ODST actually starts off during the events of Halo 2, a Covenant Carrier is hanging over the city of New Mombasa and you are a member of a special ODST (Orbitial Drop Shock Trooper) squad are in charge of boarding the ship.

After a short cut scene introducing the members of your squad you are literally dropped into what could be perhaps the most cinematic and jaw-dropping event in the entire Halo series as you descend upon New Mombasa in your drop pod.

But of course things go wrong as the carrier jumps into slipspace, messing up you and your squads drop, scattering them across the city as you, The Rookie, gets knocked out. 6 hours later you awaken in the night-time city, all the UNSC forces are gone and New Mombasa has been conquered by the Covenant. You’re completely and utterly alone.

This is where the game chooses to showcase how human you are compared to the iconic Master Chief, you no longer have a rechargeable energy shield, instead you have Stamina which is mostly like a shield, when you take damage your screen turns redder and redder until your character’s threshold of pain is broken and you start taking permanent damage to your health bar, which can be remedied by picking up a health pack.

Also you don’t have a motion sensor, and you can’t duel-wield weapons.  But you do have some tricks up your sleeves that the Master Chief never had. The most prominent of which is your Night vision visor mode which is incredibly useful in the dark city.

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After you pass the tutorial level the rest of New Mombasa opens up to you, becoming a open-hub world for The Rookie to explore and investigate what happened to your squad. This is a daunting task that lays before you in this large and silent city. Thankfully you have a friend. The AI of the city, the Superintendent, uploads a map of the city into your visor, he is your guide in this city.

Once you find clues you”ll be thrusted into the daytime and you find out what happen to your squad, these day time missions are much more ‘Halo-esque’ as you’ll be jumping around, fighting hordes of enemies, and throwing grenades everywhere. It’s a weird change of pace but it works as these missions are the real meat of the action in ODST.

The tone to this campaign is a much darker and more atmospheric than I was prepared for. Instead of the epic music in the other Halo games you are treated to a much more darker, lonely soundtrack which is superb. The lighting is amazing and has a very film noir feel to it has your exploring this place looking for clues about the whereabouts of your team. Unfortunately you may miss a lot of the amazing light displays as you’ll most be in Night Vision mode, which is a big shame.

Also you’ll have subtle things happen like the Superintendent guiding you to your objective by turning on street lights or warning you with signs. This is easily the most atmospheric Halo campaign ever, with the best plot twist also since Halo 1.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the campaign is that it ends really quickly, taking me only 5 hours to beat. There may be a lot of people who instantly mark this game off after hearing that but there’s plenty of things to do after you beat it. You can continue to explore New Mombasa looking for easter eggs, secrets, and perhaps another one of the most interesting things in Halo 3: ODST, the audio logs.

These audio logs reveal the story of Sadie, a girl in the city searching for her father during the Covenant invasion of New Mombasa, and reveals a startling perspective to the Halo universe, that of  the common person not a Spartan badass nor a special forces trooper. It’s quite a touching tale, and well worth exploring the moody city to hear. There are over 30 of these things lying around the city, and they also have a gameplay benefit of finding which I won’t spoil. halo-3-odst-screenshot-big

When you’re finished with the campaign there’s a new cooperative mode for players to try out, Firefight. The concept of the mode is not new to gamers, it’s basically Halo’s version of Gears of War 2 Horde mode. But that’s what makes it so different is that it is Halo. Combine Gears’s horde mode with the advanced enemy AI that Halo has always had to its unique weapons and  sandbox gameplay and you have something special. You fight through waves of Covenant with up to 3 other people sharing lives forcing you into fighting like a team while at the same time competing for the best score against each other.

And it gets even harder when skulls get introduced, these skulls bend the gameplay and AI into doing different things like enemies throwing more grenades, or making your bullet’s bounce off enemy shields. It’s very intense and you have about 10 maps for you and your buddies to survive on, unfortunately you do have to unlock these maps by playing the campaign, though if you have someone on your team that has beaten the game you can play all of the maps regardless if you have.

The third biggest piece of content here is the second disc which is just the Halo 3 multiplayer experience including theater mode and forge and all of the DLC maps released over time and 3 exclusive maps to the game. It’s a good value for anyone who hasn’t payed for the DLC, but for most Halo fans this is pretty ‘meh’ as they’ve probably bought all the DLC maps.

And finally the last factor, the multiplayer invitation to the Halo: Reach beta. It’s weird that a Halo game is promoting a future Halo game, but it is interesting. All we really can do is wait for the beta to come out before we can judge on how much it adds to the value of the game. So keep your disk folks!

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Overall Halo 3: ODST is an interesting experiment and breath of fresh air into the series. Offering the most immersive and human Halo campaign ever, with the most fun I’ve ever had in Halo with the new mode Firefight. The second disc is very ‘meh’ for Halo fans, though great for people who haven’t jumped on the Halo train yet.

ODST leaves me with more questions than answers considering the future of Halo, teasing Halo: Reach within it. Let’s hope for a full game in Halo: ODST 2 to expand upon what Halo 3: ODST lays down. People may think $60 is too much more an expansion, but this is truly a great experience to be had.  This it not the Halo you’re used to. This, is Halo: Combat Humanized.