Halo Saga and a Look At ODST

From Halo to Halo 3 and it keeps getting better.

Well anyone who owns an Xbox 360 should own a copy of Halo 3. Halo is such an epic series born from genius minds at Bungie and the magnificent universe they have created has paved the path for many amazing titles. I will never forget my first impressions with the first in the series – Halo. Once I had got over just how big and ugly the original Xbox control pad was I started to get involved in what I think is the best (non-online) game from the last generation. The fresh environments opened up to colourful enemies that had such fantastic AI and really tested the player by flanking and using cover effectively. A game I will never forget and one I will keep returning to and reliving such epic moments as the first time you encounter a hunter, or thrashing a Warthog up the river shortly after landing on Halo.

Halo 2 then had plenty to live up to. Very well anticipated at the time but I don’t think anyone could have guessed just how popular this game would become and the impact it would have on online gaming. For me Halo 2 will most likely remain my favourite game ever. Sure the graphics are dated and other games are doing far more complex things to entertain us today. But back then Halo 2 gave me an experience no other game has replicated today. The graphics blew me away and helped make me feel so involved in the game, to the point where I (and most other Xbox gamers) imagined how cool it would be to be Masterchief. The AI was even better and the game was a real test of determination and skill on the legendary difficulty setting. The vehicles now took visible damage and armour would be shredded off those pesky Ghosts when you drilled round after round into them. The epic cinematic sequences such as Masterchief drifting through space holding on to a bomb and guiding it to a covenant ship was jaw dropping. The single player campaign alone was enough to make this my favourite title at the time. What makes it my favourite ever is the multi-player bolted on.

Halo 2’s multi-player offering was the best invention since sliced bread. On a home console I could jump online and engage in epic battles across tonnes of levels and game modes and chat with friends at the same time. Coupled with the ability to track you statistics at Bungie.net and a ranking system based on XP, it was amazing. The whole experience being so unified and simple was an example to be followed by many games after and I believe is responsible for the success of Xbox Live today. It was a groundbreaking achievement and lead to millions and millions of sales with so many gamers giving up days/weeks/months to play online. For these reasons amongst a more personal reason – that being that my son used to kick in his mothers womb every time he heard the Halo theme tune (I kid you not) – the Halo series will always get my attention and perhaps money.

I could go into detail about Halo 3 but to me it is more an expansion of Halo 2 and though making my spine tingle on the night of release – didn’t have the same impact Halo 2 did. It continued the story well and left it open for a fourth. There wasn’t really any need for complaining and the experience was amazing, it just didn’t have the wow factor of the previous title. The most impressive feature I thought was the ability to replay and entire match from any angle or any other player, save short clips and take snap-shots in-game.

So I am well hyped and cannot wait for Halo ODST. What do we know? Well it takes place between Halo 2 and Halo 3 and involves the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers who are no match for the Spartans but are much better equipped than the average marine. It seems you will play each of four ODST’s and relive their moments to piece together and understand what is going on. Each trooper will have different weapon sets and I am really excited about using the traditional Halo pistol – that quite frankly kicks ass. As these guys are not as advanced as the Spartans (who were genetically altered) they will rely on the technology and equipment to see them through some rough encounters but cannot use covenant weapons. In addition to the campaign there is a multi-player co-op mode and co-op Firefight where the players work together to fight off waves of the enemy (think Gears of War 2 and Horde). The game is being released on two discs where one will offer the ODST experience and the Firefight mode. The second is to hold the Halo 3 multi-player mode with three new maps for which you can already see the achievements after the latest Halo 3 game update. The second disc is most welcome as it will hold all the current maps on it and save downloading all the packs from Xbox Live.

Halo 3 ODST is set to release 22nd September 2009 and there is a limited edition bundle available which will include a Halo 3 (green) control pad and access to the Halo Reach beta.

Source: bungie.net and Inside Xbox

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