Halo 3: ODST, or rather The Halo Game Without Master Chief, was supposed to be Bungie's little parting gift to Microsoft - a downloadable piece of additional content that would keep Halo fans ticking over until Microsoft got their rears in gear and pulled a new game out of the bag. Thankfully, that all went wrong, Bungie and Microsoft made up, and ODST became a fully-fledged game that got bundled with a Game of the Year-style package of all of Halo 3's multiplayer content - recent Mythic maps included.
Being a Halo game, ODST has hung around the mid-twenties in price ever since it's release, but now the chaps over at Argos have decided to buck the trend and offer this violent little gem for under twenty quid at £19.99. With Amazon as the nearest in-stock competitor at £24.49, prospective buyers will be netting themselves a nice saving of £4.50.
The Halo 3 multiplayer aspect to this tidy package should need very little introduction. If you can manage to avoid the foul mouthed teenage Americans who seem to spend every waking moment of their lives insulting people left, right and centre whilst pwning you with a Battle Rifle then you'll be absolutely fine. The Mythic and Legendary maps included here will also save you a bunch of money if, like me, you had better things to spend your hard earned Microsoft Points on such as the XBL Summer of Arcade. They add more maps and a whole bundle of games modes that add to the already frenzied fun fest.
I won't lie: the single-player is short, but it makes up for this by being really good. Not since Halo: Combat Evolved has there been a game in this series that hasn't had a duff level. Fear not: Gravemind won't be interrupting your FPS action to read you awful poetry in this game. The variety in the missions is excellent, and there are some cracking setpieces. The presentation is, as usual, first rate, although it would seem at times to be more of a Firefly reunion than anything else - but that's a really good thing as they're all very good voice actors. Bungie still haven't worked out how to draw a human head yet though, so Nathan Fillion spends most of his time looking like a potato.
New Mombasa looks fantastic, and the shadowy, noirish feel of the Rookie's part of the game as he puts together the pieces of the puzzle to work out what has happened to his squadmates is absolutely brilliant. After spending so much time behind the indomitable shell of the Chief's helmet it's a little disconcerting at first to play as a much more vulnerable set of protagonists, and this bleeds into the gameplay, where cover is a lot more useful than before. The weapons are ace too (especially the new, silenced SMG), and the original game's scoped pistol makes a welcome return.
Best of all, perhaps, is the new mode: Firefight. Essentially a Halo version of Gears of War 2's Horde Mode, you and a handful of mates look to take down wave after wave of Covenant scum. This would be brilliant, and indeed it has its moments, were it not for the massively irritating skulls that activate randomly. Some of them are brilliant and serve to augment the gameplay, but others simply ruin the flow and the fun.
If you were undecided on ODST when it first came out then this new price drop should hopefully encourage you to give it a try. It's a great game for Halo newbies as it basically comes with one of the best multiplayer experiences you can get at the moment as well as a wonderful little single-player campaign. The worst criticism I can give is that I found the single-player too short, but then I'd still pay £30 for something that's all killer, no filler.
Thanks to wallacejbj at HotUKDeals!