Get it? Get it? I guess not.

But hell. I’m going to talk about ODST, why? Because I’m playing it and because I can; what’s the point of a blog if I can’t blather needless, pointless drivel into the face of no-one? Exactly.

Now I’ve never really done much proper game-talk before, but let’s give this a shot.

ODST is and is not many things. I will list them, then go over them.


– That long.
– Possessed of new weapons (in my view)
– Breaking the mould


– Actually fun.
– A Halo game where I give a damn about the characters
– Still immensely satisfying

That just about sums it up, but let’s look into these things.

That Long

It’s not. It’s very short. I am a man who is capable of burning through games it’s true and it’s a strange sign of the times but games nowadays in general are waaaayyy shorter than they once were. That means that the price is somewhat…irksome. But I got it used anyway, so hell. Long story short, it’s a short story told shortly.

Possessed of new weapons

The pistol does not count. It’s a badass pistol I’ll agree and I love its pants off (headshots, wonderful) but it just serves as a covert, ODST-esque replacement for the battle rifle. I miss the battle rifle sometimes but I still have Halo 3 for that and in this “sneaky sneaky” kind of thing the silenced pistol makes sense. And, again, headshots!

Breaking the mould

But who cares? I mean really. Some people I think complained that it wasn’t doing anything I’ve seen people complain of Halo’s style getting ‘stale’. This I do not unerstand. It’s an FPS. You’re in first person and you shoot. You have a shield (or ‘stamina’ in this – health is back, too!) that regenerates when not being shot. You kill many, many things. I fail to see how this could get stale. That’s like saying Dwarf Fortress gets stale because all you do is micromanage tiny ASCII dwarves or GTA (any of ’em) gets stale because all you do is run around, shoot and steal cars.

That’s not getting stale. That’s how these things work. I breath, that ain’t got stale yet. Yes the formula can sometimes seem overused and people can get bored but that’s the secret of good game design, making the fundamental part of any particular game compelling/fun enough that its inherent repetition is not seen as a flaw. I think ODST gets this right, personally. Shooting things is fun, was fun and will remain fun.

Actually Fun

As just said. The game is fun. This links into the next point but it’s just a good game. Not great, not groundbreaking, just fun. It was exactly what I wanted and while it ain’t perfect it mostly certainly entertains, which, at the end of the day, is the goddamn point.

A Halo game where I actually give a damn about the characters

I like the rookie! That could just be because I have a soft-spot for silent protagonists (I still love you Gordon, even after all these years) but the body language he shows in the cut scenes and his relentless drive to murder everything he finds endears him to me far more than having him prattle on during his story ever would.

That, and the fact they got a bunch of dudes from Firefly doesn’t hurt. I kept thinking Alan Turdyk’s dude was called ‘Vickey’, but I was wrong. Actual soldiers doing actual, soldiery things I find more engaging than armoured supermen singlehandedly saving the world numerous times. The struggle of an ordinary man against extraordinary odds; that kind of thing. It’s why I like the Imperial Guard (hah).

Still immensely satisfying

Headshots! Oh, and the firefight mode is great fun. Co-operative modes like that (Horde-esque, you might say) need to be in more games like this; they never go wrong. It’s just a great way to unwind and especially with Halo. Sometimes you just want to shoot things with or without friends, and here you can!

Good times.

So yeah. In the end I’d say it’s a fine game. If you can pick it up cheap do so. Don’t expect to be ‘wowed’ by the story, just expect not to be irritated. Which, given Halo 3, is probably a step up…(who the hell was that chick who got spiked to death? Was I supposed to care? Ah I know, daughter of the dude from the first game, I just…really don’t care about her. Tweleve year old girls bossing me around, honestly).

Well, that was inarticulate…


EDIT: A further thoughtl Bungie have seemingly finally gotten round to making their characters distinctive, and I am glad for it. Compared to the ODST’s in Halo 2 or hell even 3 the ones in ODST actually look like what I imagine elite, maverick drop-troopers would look like. By which I mean they all look individual with their modified kit and so on.

More to the point, from what I’ve seen of Reach, this characterisation has been oddly retroactive. I guess people wanted to blend together after Reach got glassed or something. But glibness aside, Kudos to them – looks might only be skin deep but they help.


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