Whilst all of the buzz is around Halo: Reach at the moment, it's also giving gamers another excuse to revisit ODST, the first in the series that sees the Chief nowhere in sight. Instead, fielding a bit of a Firefly love-in thanks to the voice talents of Mssrs. Fillion, Baldwin and Tudyk, we are plonked down in the middle of a plot involving a separated team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers during the storming of New Mombasa by the Covenant forces.
You can pick up a copy of ODST for just £12.95 at Zavvi for the moment, which is nearly £2 cheaper than at nearest competitor ShopTo.
It's worth noting that if you're only looking for a way in for the Reach beta that the public test ends on May 19th, but thankfully ODST itself is well worth the price of admission. I have a massive soft spot for this game, combining the ultimate Halo 3 multiplayer experience - including the Mythic and Legendary maps - with an excellent, character driven singleplayer campaign that only really suffers from ending too soon.
A lot of people complained that ODST should never have been released at full price due to its short campaign and repackaged multiplayer from the previous title, and perhaps they had a point. But thankfully at this price we can ignore that completely. Ignore that 'expansion' tag and ODST reveals itself as a truly memorable entry into the Halo series. It doesn't change much in terms of gameplay, but the feel and the atmosphere, the characters and the narrative, are all different. This is a far more human game in many ways, Marty O'Donnell's score here is arguably his best and fully deserved a standalone release, the characters give this game far more personality and make us interested in the story arguably more than any other game in the series.
And then of course there's the multiplayer, which is still rocks three years on, bundled in with a co-operative Firefight mode that takes Gears 2's Horde Mode and slaps it into a bunch of larger maps. Firefight would be absolutely fantastic if it wasn't for the mandatory skulls that force you to change the way you play each round. Some of them are fun and fine, others have you slap people to recharge your shields which seems like an exercise in idiocy when you're staring down a Chieftain waving a Brute Hammer in your face. These things would have been fine as an optional extra, but their random nature and sudden gamebreaking shifts in gameplay often result in far more frustration than fun.
If you haven't bought any of the map packs for Halo 3 then this is something you should probably own anyway, and there's still a good week of the Reach beta for you to enjoy if you do.
Thanks to davver99 at HUKD