Ever since Bungie reached the dizzying heights of stardom with the incredible Halo: Combat Evolved, it's been a downhill struggle to try and surpass it's incredible campaign. In my opinion they should have left it with the fantastic Halo 3, but with Halo Wars, ODST and now Reach, it feels as if Bungie are sucking the Halo franchise dry.
I really wanted to enjoy this game, and it had real potential. ODST tries to break free from the linear design level of its predecessors. It's a commendable effort, but ultimately fails in execution. The introduction of a new visual combat aid (VISR) which outlines enemies and points of interest, only serves to dull and kill the already bland and grey visuals of New Mombasa.
The textures are grainy and static and I often found myself endlessly wondering around these dull, empty streets. Some may say that this is the point of the game, to show how ravaged and dead the city has become, but all it serves to do is make it an uninteresting set design, more of an obstacle than an engaging level.
ODST is told in a series of disjointed and confusing flashbacks, as you jump from character to character. The problem with this is that I felt no emotional connection to any of the generic jocks that comprise your team. At times it seems like ODST is taking a step backwards. You can't dual wield, there's no battle rifle (undoubtedly the best weapon in the game), and you'll find yourself infuriatingly searching for health packs. Again you may say that this is the point; that ODST is trying to be more realistic. But does this added realism make the game more fun? The answer is no, and you'll soon be itching to get back onto Halo 3 and in the shoes of the superior Master Chief.
There are no particular moments in the campaign that have replayed in my memory, making it an entirely average campaign experience, and one that I'll be unlikely to play again.
ODST's saving grace is it's Firefight mode, where you can hold out with up to 4 players against an endless wave of Covenant forces. This is what Halo SHOULD be like. Simple, fun and with some epic set pieces. It's the only reason ODST gets 3 stars, an overwhelmingly average campaign, an enjoyable but far from addictive firefight mode, and an extra 3 multiplayer maps for all the Halo 3 online players, ODST demonstrates that the Halo franchise is nearly on its death bed.