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Halo 3: ODST

aka: Halo 3: Recon
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(prices updated 9/18 12:19 AM )

Description official descriptions

Halo 3: ODST happens mostly at the same time of the events of Halo 2 and the very beginning of Halo 3. It details the Covenant's invasion to Earth in year 2552 from the point of view of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The player takes the role of various members of the ODST squad in the war-torn city of New Mombasa - most prominently The Rookie, who can be considered the protagonist of the game.

A departure from previous games in the Halo series, Halo 3: ODST is more open-ended and features more exploration. The new VISR visor system can provide light amplification and is used to identify friends and foes. The visor also provides map, navigation data, and link-up with the AIs that run the city. The players are also no cybernetic super-soldiers this time; player stamina and health are bigger factors than before, and both the speed and jump height are scaled back.

The game features a Firefight mode, a four-player cooperative game mode that is centered around the campaign. Rather than the hardcore sci-fi of previous editions, ODST has influences of film noir and jazz-like elements to complement the soundtrack.

Halo 3: ODST also includes Halo 3: Mythic, which is essentially a stripped-down, multiplayer-only version of Halo 3, and includes all Halo 3 downloadable maps, including Heroic, Legendary, and Mythic map packs and three previously unreleased maps.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

390 People (359 developers, 31 thanks) · View all



Average score: 79% (based on 56 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 3 reviews)

An unique and welcome take on Halo

The Good
First off, this review is about the campaign - I haven't tried the multiplayer yet.

Halo 3: ODST is definitely a unique game in the series, and that's a good thing. It's a big breath of fresh air.

The character cast is rather varied this time, which is definitely a good thing, and it's kind of startling, yet positive, to hear the characters talk this much. It breaks the immersion a little bit, but it's worth it. The Master Chief had precious little humour, but these guys can also be funny when the situation calls for it.

The campaign missions are fun, the dialogue and story are pretty well thought out, and there's a lot more tangible story here than in the individual Halo trilogy games proper.

Despite of the flaws listed below, I think the concept of storytelling in this game is pretty good, and the hub level is a pretty good idea as such.

The soundtrack also has a little bit more variety this time, and I'd say it's better than the rest of Halo soundtracks, which, as a general rule, just kind of felt tacked-on.

The Bad
As long as there has been Console Wars, there's been rivalries between the similar console-exclusive game series. Most rational people usually dismiss these and say "let's not discuss which is better, Halo or Metroid Prime - they're so different, after all". And yes, the series have done different things differently. They're both great at what they do.

But here, Bungie consciously tried to bend Halo into Metroid Prime mould, so I can't take that excuse any more. I would allege that Halo 3: ODST answers the question "what would Metroid Prime be like, if it was boring". It says something that a lot of people - even myself, a huge Metroid Prime fan - consider the "more Halo-like" flashback sequences superior to the open-ended part.

New Mombasa is not really a place that would encourage you to explore it. There's a lot of buildings, but the doors just remain shut. There doesn't seem to be anything wondrous going on. Nobody is here. Covenant troops are pretty much all the same. The hyped "detective" angle isn't really in as big swing as in Metroid Primes: you collect audio logs, yeah, but you can't really make sense of what else has been going on in the city based on the weird stuff you see. If you're going to fragment information, then fragment it properly!

Another bad thing is that the ODSTs were hyped as being "not Master Chief". We're supposed to believe ODSTs are not super-human cyborgs. Yeah, they fatigue. Yeah, they can't be dropped from tall buildings. But they can still take ridiculous amount of damage before dying, they can still flip Warthogs with their little fingers (there's no innovative game mechanics like "get all squadmates around you and all hit RB together to painstakingly push the car right side up"), they can still swing the ridiculously heavy and huge Gravity Hammers with ease. I blew up the heavily defended Scarab really fast and not dying even once, as opposed to Halo 2 or Halo 3 (granted, this time I definitely knew what to do, but still). And their armour electronics is considerably better than the Master Chief had. Chief's just not much better than these guys. Something is not right here.

The Bottom Line
So, there was this giant explosion in Halo 2, when the Covenant ship decided to enter slipspace right on top of New Mombasa, and UNSC In Amber Clad decided to follow it - taking Master Chief far away from good old terra firma once again. I kept wondering what the heck happened in the city after that. Did anyone survive? Could anyone survive? Actually, what the heck happened on Earth between this event and the beginning of Halo 3?

Slightly unluckily for the United Nations Space Command's Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, they were just about to drop in the city and fight their way into the Covenant ship. They only got the first part barely done. One of the squad members, the Rookie, wakes up 6 hours after the unlucky drop into the city. And there begins a journey into finding out what exactly happened to the other squadmates, who apparently woke up a little bit earlier than that. Armed with a silenced submachine gun and pistol, the Rookie will examine the environment, finds clues, conserve the precious ammo, find audio logs that tell one civilian survivor's story, and interface with the city's slightly loopy control AI.

Or so the theory goes. The bulk of the story is told in flashback missions, which are done in style far more similar to the rest of the Halo games - the player gets to control the rest of the squadmates in order to perform other little miracles. There's stuff to blow up, enemies to fry, and places to sneak into. All in all, eight missions and a hub level mean there's some good time to be had in this game - not long time, but good time.

There's also a multiplayer mode, which I haven't tested, because there's apparently no matchmaking and my friends don't have the game yet. People have described it with a whole gamut of superlative adjectives, from "brilliant" to, er, "brilliant". I have to take their word for now. The game also comes with Halo 3 multiplayer disc (complete with Forge and Theater and all of the downloadable maps, plus some more), and you can't really go too wrong with Halo 3 multiplayer. It's great.

As far as tech and campaign goes, Halo 3: ODST works pretty well. At its core, it won't get too far from its roots and the promised dramatic improvements aren't all that dramatic, but as far as "fanservice" goes, it's a little package of pure gold.

Xbox 360 · by WWWWolf (444) · 2009

Gorgeous spectacle undermined by its short story.

The Good
This game, even for today's standards, is SPECTACULAR spectacle for gamers to behold: it's like watching a more cyberpunk-y version of Star Wars and Blade Runner rolled into one package. its lighting is glorious and the satisfaction you get when blowing aliens away is rather satisfying.

The Bad
I think the story was a bit too short and not fully exploring of the Halo lore. It didn't add anything nor did it really detract anything. It's still a glory for the eyes but not the brain.

The Bottom Line
You like space and war movies? Halo's that and then some. Halo 3: ODST is a visually gorgeous experience that honors its space opera heritage, even if the story's rinse and repeat-y in the end.

Xbox 360 · by John H. (52) · 2019

Why would we need this?!

The Good
It makes you more vulnerable than in the previous Halo game which made it a lot more harder. In Halo 3 I was able to finish the game the first time playing on Hard, ODST on the other hand gave me a run for my money. You regain your health the same way you do in Half-Life, you find a machine and use it to patch up. Quite a good solution, I'd say.

The premise of experiencing the Halo universe through the eyes of a weaker protagonist sounded very interesting to me. Not just because they are weaker (I already mentioned that), but also because they are more desperate than Master Chief who could survive a nuke without ever showing some emotion.

Even though I never actually watched Firefly, I was quite amazed by the great voice-actors who deliver their lines brilliantly. If this is going to be the standard of video game voice acting than we have a bright future ahead of us. They also interact with each other in a believable way which in turn also made for more interesting characters.

The Bad
This is the shortest game I ever played, especially when you keep in mind how long it took for this game to launch. I played through the entire campaign on Hard in the same afternoon the game arrived. The multiplayer did keep me busy for another two days, but that doesn't count for reasons I will explain later.

The sequences where you play as Rookie which act like a HUB-world of sorts are annoying as hell. There is barely anything to fight, it is really dark and compared to the actual missions they aren't fun either. Maybe if there was more light and they'd just tell me what to pick, I would have been kinder towards these sequences, but no, somebody on the team must have wanted it to be this way quite badly.

Firefight is an idea that has already been done (better) by Gears of War 2. The fact that all the enemies are delivered to you by a phantom which fires at you as well and is indestructible is also annoying, but what really takes the cake is the lack of fun or reason to play it. It isn't challenging and it isn't rewarding in any way. All you get is an achievement if you get 200.000 points, which might have been okay if that didn't take incredibly long. I could get these achievements without much effort, but I would just commit suicide in the game because I'd get bored.

People who already played Halo 3 are going to notice that the new multiplayer isn't new and certainly not worth it. It has all the maps that were already in Halo 3 (+ DLC) and comes with three new maps. Two of these new maps are rather small and the last one is normal-sized and fun in Forge mode. These are certainly not worth buying a whole game for because Foundry is still the better Forge Map and the DLC maps we already had were much bigger.

The Bottom Line
If you want to have Halo 3 and plan to play it online a lot than buying this game might save you a few dollars on DLC. If you already owned Halo 3 and you'd like to see the next game in the franchise... maybe Reach is something for you, I am not sure, didn't play it and not planning to. And of course this is a sequel in which the player partakes in events everybody already knows the outcome of.

Even if we don't compare it to the previous Halo it disappoints. The game only lasts a few (good) hours and is full of boring sequences that take longer than the mission they are leading you to. The voice-actors do a pretty good job and the gameplay is acceptable, but this is an expansion pack at best and a big DLC at worst. Not worth the money you'd pay for a stand-alone game.

Xbox 360 · by Asinine (957) · 2011


1001 Video Games

Halo 3: ODST appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The game was initially announced and marketed as Halo 3: Recon, a standalone expansion pack to Halo 3, before being upgraded to a full-price release as Halo 3: ODST.


  • 1UP
    • 2009 - Best Xbox 360 Game (Editors' Choice)
    • 2009 - The "Music to Our Ears" Award for Best Audio Design
  • 4Players
    • 2009 – Best Trailer of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2009 - Xbox 360 Gamers' Choice Award (Readers' Vote)
  • Machinima
    • 2009 - Best Trailer
  • Spike TV
    • 2009 - Best Original Score

Information also contributed by Big John WV

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 42644


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by WWWWolf.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Sciere, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack.

Game added September 25th, 2009. Last modified August 26th, 2023.