You ungrateful bastards are lucky I took time out of my busy weekend schedule of playing video games to write this.
Just kidding. I'm actually just past Micky's level in the new game from Bungie Studios, Halo 3 ODST. And as I can say, it's been pretty solid.
As I said, I'm not completely finished with the game, but what I can see looks pretty promising for the rest of the game. As far as gameplay goes, it's par for the course, and, to me at least, the classic single brute plus grunt backup, with the occasional brute chieftan pack and hunter combo thrown in is just as satisfying to me every time. However, more of a rush comes from the fact that you're not the MC anymore, your a very capable ODST. One of many, and being able to do these things that you thought only the MC could do on his own thrills and astounds. There are many different play styles thrown into the game as well, where being in Dutch, Mickey, or Buck's perspective of the game is classic Halo style 'run and gun' fighting, and being the Rookie, the main character of the story (though he's asleep for nearly all of the real action) is more reconnaissance work, trying to find pieces of the puzzle to solve the mystery of what happened to your squadmates. However, I do have some objections. During Rookie missions, the basic idea is to get to the site where a transmitter or a beacon was activated, in the process crossing over New Mombasa. All of New Mombasa. A very daunting task without vehicles. Bungie gives you a map to use to find your way around the city, but it's very confusing and hard to use. It's hard to tell whether a building is an overpass that you can cross under or if that 'gate' is actually a wall dividing you from where you want to go. And I guess the level designers were smoking pot when thinking up these level designs because they have you taking unexpected routes, essentially the 'long' ways. Another thing about this is, there are very few enemies along the way, except for those bastard snipers that wait along overpasses that aren't visible to you, waiting to pick you off any chance they get... as you can see, it hasn't been a good night for me in Rookie levels.
As for the story side of the campaign, I'm more then compelled to keep playing through these tough levels to find out very interesting things I never knew about Halo. I watched in shock and awe as the Orbital elevator fell right before my eyes, and had to stop my Ghost just to watch. It was an amazing site to see. I learned a lot more about the capabilities of ODST's. And I doubt that as I keep playing, there won't be a lack of twists and surprises.
Ahh, cutscenes. Wait... AHH! CUTSCENES! These are the real things I have objection to. Bungie, if you keep up with what they're doing, continues to use hand-drawn animation in their cutscenes, and I respect the tedious work needed to do so, however, games such as Guitar Hero have moved onto motion capture, creating smoother framerates and less 'bouncy' movements of characters. Cutscenes in Halo 3 ODST look bright (with the exception of Rookie levels, of course), flashy, and almost cartoon like. This is very different from what I'm normally used to coming from Halo cutscenes. There is a lot to learn from watching them however... if you can bare the horror.
Also in the department of Cinimatics, voice acting. They were fairly good, and Bungie has that way of picking quality roles for their in-game cast, but I thought most of the lines were over-dramatized, or the exact opposite, lifeless and dull. Could've been better.
EDIT: Just played through the whole game.
CAMPAIGN IN A NUTSHELL:
The campaign in Halo 3 ODST is classic Halo gameplay with a few twists thrown in, very enjoyable. However the cutscenes are lacking, but the story is interesting and will keep you playing. 4/5
My god, if I had to hear someone tell me 'get ODST cuase of Firefight, nothing else is worth it', I think I would've killed myself. But that was when I hadn't known what firefight was. Firefight is basically Gears of War 2's Horde mode done better, take your character out of the Campaign and put him in a level-style arena with countless waves of Grunts, Jackals, Brutes of various levels, and Hunters. Add water and a huge aresenal of weapons at your disposal and you've got the makings for complete and utter chaos... in a good way, of course. You start off firefight in wave 1, where there are basically no big enemies -- just some Grunts and a Jackal or two. Then, once you get into later levels, Hunters and Brutes start spawning like crazy. That's pretty much it. Completing campaign levels and unlocking achievments unlocks other Firefight characters (and as you might have heard, pre-ordering ODST got you Johnson as a playable character) from the campaign to play with. It's really fun overall, alone, or better yet, with 3 other friends on split screen co-op. Rating: 5/5
Multiplayer Map disk -- The complete online experience
As many of you know, Halo 3 ODST itself didn't come with too many features other then the above, so Bungie decided to sell their public back the entirety of Halo 3 Mutliplayer, along with 3 other maps. Whoop-de-fucking-do.
And the worst part about that is: there's no news on the additional maps becoming DLC anytime soon. Basically the 'fish hook' to get people to buy ODST even after people have already told them it sucks (which is untrue). Personally, like the first set of Mythic maps, this set should have been DLC when ODST came out, and the Multiplayer disk should've been replaced with something else. Perhaps MS points? An MC crotch piece to go along with our Helmet? Fake dog shit? No, they sell us what we already have in order to justify charging 60 dollars for the whole thing. However much I like this game, this is the one down side to buying the whole set. You'd be better off asking someone if they still want the Multiplayer disk after they're done using it.
Multiplayer disk merrits a GENEROUS 2.5/5, because you're able to play some Double EXP Weekend playlists with it. And I like Double EXP Weekend. A lot.
And the total review score for Halo 3: ODST by BCE Productions' standards is:
I was also being generous with that score, just because I really like playing campaign and firefight, even if the cutscenes are bouncy and un-watchable and I have the sense of being cheated for paying 60 dollars for a campaign, a mini-game, and something I already have.