Halo 3: ODST
It’s fairly safe to assume that we’re going to see about a million previews/features/ specials about Halo 3: ODST throughout the coming year. Bungie is the consummate master of allowing a slow trickle of information to come out over a very long period of time and it knows exactly how to get the fanboys fuelling speculation on the internet. But what do we really know about ODST?
Well, for starters you’ll be taking control of the now-famous ODST (seen in the trailer) known as The Rookie. He’s part of a five-man team that is dropped into New Mombasa just as the Prophet of Regret jumps out of the system (in Halo 2), quickly followed by Miranda Keyes and the Chief. Now, as we all know a Covenant ship attempting an in-atmosphere slip space jump is generally a bad idea for everyone around, particularly for the people in New Mombasa. The shock wave alone destroys the majority of the buildings. So as The Rookie drops into the city with his squad they enter into an absolute mess, plus the drop goes a bit Pete Tong, leaving him unconscious for around six hours as his squad move off. They didn’t leave him there or anything, they just didn’t know where he was, that would just be mean. So The Rookie begins the game alone.
After regaining consciousness our hero awakens into an open-world city crawling with Covenant troops. Not one to rest on his laurels the game begins as you explore the city looking for clues as to the whereabouts of your squad. Interestingly, when you find a clue the game warps away from The Rookie to six hours previously as you take control of another member of the squad. Apparently these moments will be high in action with many more human characters than we’re used to in the Halo universe, even characters’ faces will be revealed. Each clue found as the lead will give you the opportunity to play a flashback as a different member of the squad.
Once the flashback is complete you’ll return to the muddy boots of The Rookie, complete with the knowledge on how to proceed. There’ll be a few new weapons to help you out, one Bungie is keeping annoyingly tight-lipped about, and a new silenced SMG. A silenced weapon does seem to indicate that you’ll be doing a lot of sneaking but it’s important to remember that this is still a Halo game, not Halo: Ghost Recon. It’s unconfirmed but it’s unlikely the recharging health system will be available, meaning we may see a more Call Of Duty-style of life.
The environments and city will play a much larger role than in previous Halo games, or a more active one at least. Bungie has said that the city will have a ‘voice’. Whether this means that the city AI will interact with The Rookie or that the surroundings will offer clues in a clever ‘go this way but we’re not going to paint an arrow on the floor’ way, we can’t be sure. An AI would be keeping in theme with previous Halo games and would offer The Rookie a guiding voice as he attempts to survive the Covenant forces, he’s not superhuman after all.
ODST shows that Bungie is moving in a new direction. The Master Chief’s story (for the time being) has been told, now the Halo universe is the star and there are many characters and events to tell.