Halo 3: ODST

This Week: Halo 3: ODST

Trying to convince unsuspecting buyers that he is Master Chief.

So I never played this game when it first came out. I bought it, but to this day it remains sealed in its original shrink wrapped packaging. And for that we mostly blame Halo Wars, but we’ll talk about that next week.

I knew a little about Halo 3: ODST. It was meant to run alongside Halo 3 and play as a character who wasn’t Master Chief. As a result you didn’t have the same armor and unstoppable power as a Spartan, so you had to be more cautious. So right off the bat, I’m thinking, “So you want me to die?” Going in like I’m a walking tank and beating people to death with my health bar is my go to move.

This guy gets it.

I generally go in hoping that I manage to kill everything else before my hit points run out. Not the best strategy for a first person shooter. . . or you know, anything, but

Blocking is for woosies!

So Halo 3:ODST just sat on my shelf not getting played. It was always on my to do list, but Halo Wars had to come first.

There were so many options, but this was the best.

So when Covid-19 attacked, and I finished Halo 3, I of course had to start Halo Wars next, right? Well, check the title. I had the Master Chief Collection which came with ODST and Reach, but not Halo Wars. I found out that Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition came with Halo Wars Definitive Edition, so I ordered that and decided in the mean time to play Halo: ODST, which was free with the Master Chief collection. So to keep the momentum going, I loaded up Halo ODST.

And it immediately took me to the Xbox Live Store to buy it.

I decided to avoid all the gifs that said F***, despite feeling it strongly.

So, when I first bought the Master Chief Collection, I knew it was just Halo 1-4. But when I started hearing about the PC releases of Master Chief Collection including Reach and ODST. So when I eventually found my missing MCC disc and loaded up, I saw Reach and ODST both listed. So I assumed that they were now included in for everybody who bought the game.

Nope, ODST was gifted to players who bought the game when it first came out and was buggy as all hell. Now it is $5. $5 for a game I already bought on the 360 and was shrink wrapped on my shelf?

Oh yeah, can’t take me for a sucker!

But. . . I would have to get up, find the game, unwrap it, open the box, eject the Master Chief Collection, load in Halo 3: ODST, wait for it to load, deal with the stupid 360 Emulator, and then do it all over again for Reach. Also, it’s just $5 and I got my stimulus check.

. . . don’t judge me.

Yeah, it was just simpler. So I loaded it up and HOLY F***BERRIES! IS THAT NATHAN FILLION?!?

The only way to respond to this gif. . .
. . .is with another gif.

Yeah, I had become aware that Nathan Fillion appeared in Halo 5, but what I didn’t realize was that he was in Halo 3: ODST. I probably would have played that game a lot sooner had I known. Or at least maybe watched some cut scenes.

I had my own idea of what Halo 3: ODST was supposed to be. I imagined you were an ODST who was participating in missions that ran parallel to what Master Chief was doing. While Master Chief was fighting the big fight, you were playing the smaller missions. I imagined that you were going to see some of the events from Halo 3, but you had your own job.

And to a minor degree that is true. You have your own mission, but it doesn’t really have ANYTHING to do with Halo 3. The ODST drop at the beginning of Halo 2 and then the final scene occurs just before Halo 3.

Honestly it is kind of confusing, because as far as I know, the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3 seem like they could be one really long bad day for Master Chief. However, because Halo doesn’t delve into the realism of Master Chief eating, sleeping, and using the necessary, one should assume that whenever he isn’t immediately going from one threat to another, a sleep or two has passed.

At least we know this to be true in Halo 3: ODST. We begin the game as the unnamed Rookie who is sleeping, drops down in his pod, and then falls asleep again.

I think I figured out the Rookie’s name. . .

From here, a rather interesting game format occurs. You end up wandering around the abandoned city of New Mombasa at night trying to figure out what happened to the rest of your team. Somehow by looking at an empty can of biofoam, you can figure out that your team stole a Phantom and bailed out of the city. Are we sure that the Rookie didn’t die and was brought back by a big black bird?

First Crow Reference!

Every time he finds a clue, we cut to another team member and get to play as them for a mission. It’s a neat form of storytelling and gives us a way to prevent the Rookie from having any lines because he has no one to talk to. Win win.

I really don’t know why this was called Halo 3: ODST. It has almost nothing to do with Halo 3. It would have been fine as Halo ODST. And apparently I am the only one asking this question because google is giving me no answers.

Then again, a late night search while typing the article probably doesn’t count as research. Unless you’re [insert political new source of your choice]

My only drawback is the weird love story at the end and the engineers. It was weird having this new creature that we haven’t seen for three games suddenly make an appearance. Apparently they were in the books though, so what the hell.

Anywho, Halo 3: ODST. I recommend it, nice little side story that has nothing to do with Halo 3, but has Nathan Fillion, so 10/10!

Yeah ball of flammable gas, use that lighter.

Next Week: Halo Wars, the game that put everything on the back burner.

Halo 3

This Week: Halo 3

This is Master Chief trying to figure out how to tri-wield guns.

The Ad campaign for this game was insane. They had these old soldiers talking about how Master Chief saved their lives, they had live action trailers of battles, and even a giant diorama detailing the battle.

Chilling

The ad campaign was enough to make me pre-order my copy and get my lazy butt in gear finishing Halo: CE and Halo 2.

As a result, this is one of the few games I was ready day one for. I attended a midnight release party at GameStop ready to pick up my copy of Halo 3. I went ALL out and bought the

Standard version, that came with nothing.

Yeah, by the time I was fully invested in the Halo series, it was too late to get any of the fun and fancy editions. And I was two years into college, so I was broke as all hell. I believe I was working walmart at the time.

I had either class or work in the morning, so after picking up the game, I played 1 level and then went to sleep. After completing my obligation for the day, I then burned through the game in about 2-3 sittings. I would say it is probably my favorite Halo game. It focused completely on Master Chief, the ending was satisfying, I liked the Warthog run in this one much better than in Halo:CE, and it decently wrapped up the story while also leaving the possibility for more.

I played a little multiplayer, but again, was not very good at it. Having the ability to play online allowed people from all over the world to T-bag my face. One time I started a match, everyone on my team bailed and I was fighting alone. I think I managed a kill or two. I figured since I was obviously fighting alone, the other team would be cool and let my corpse lie alone.

Nope. . .

Now, this was back on the Xbox 360. Achievements were a fresh thing with the system and I remember looking over my gamer score and found after playing all the way through Halo 3, I had only one achievement. Fear the Pink Mist. For killing 5 enemies with a Needler.

Yeah, you got NO achievements for beating the game on Easy. Halo 3 did not spare your feelings. You want to just play the story and call it a day, then do so with no gamerscore like the b**** you are!

One of the things that was introduced in this game that I got very little use out of was all the extra gear beyond grenades and guns. I almost never used the bubble shield, the flare, the EMP, none of it. Playing on Easy, I was never in enough danger to actually need it and in multiplayer, I was so bad that I couldn’t effectively use them in a tactical way.

It’s like that one time I was playing some fighting game and after getting my but handed to me for the 15th match in a row, I paused the game and asked, “How do I block?”

Is it this one? No. This one? No. Maybe. .

After playing Halo 3 and getting my butt kicked in multiplayer for a week or so, I put the game away to finally rest and watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.

Maybe I should take up farming. Is lead farming an actual thing or was that just a joke?

After Halo 3 we had Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST. I bought both and because Halo Wars came out first, I had to play that before I could play ODST. Well, I got 2 levels in, lost a level, and then never picked it up again.

So resulted in me missing out on Reach, despite buying it, Halo 4(didn’t buy that one, I don’t think), and Halo 5. I kept wanting to catch up, but in my own. . . my own. . .

So when I got the Master Chief Collection, I figured my comeback was in place. I would play from first to last. And this time I would balls to wall it on LEGENDARY.

And after getting my ass kicked in Halo CE on level 2 and giving up for 5 years, I finally dropped it back down to easy and did the replay.

Now after playing with the God-like graphics of Halo 2, Halo 3 came as a shocking downgrade. Getting a near photo realistic Master Chief and then taking several steps back was disheartening. I heard from a coworker that supposedly the graphics were good enough on Halo 3 that it would be too much to upgrade the graphics for only a minor improvement.

Halo 3 Anniversary please!

Once I got past all my characters not looking as good as they used to one game ago, I really enjoyed playing Halo 3 again.

Also, this time around, I got a bunch of Achievements for beating it on Easy, so suck it 360 version that simply wanted me to do better.

I earned this!

This time around, I finished Halo 3 and kept my momentum up by going right into Halo ODST.

I’m not dead. . . I’m feeling fine

Next Week: Halo can still be fun without Spartans or Halos, right?

Halo 2

This Week: Halo 2

It’s 2 because now he can shoot 2 guns.

So, my memory is really kind of fuzzy on this one. I’m pretty sure I didn’t play this one until Halo 3 started getting advertised. But considering they were two different console generations, it just seems weird to me. But that is the narrative that I remember best, so that is what we’re going to go with.

I remember 2 came out and I just passed it by considering I hadn’t even finished CE yet. Then the map packs and stuff came out and I was kind of relieved I didn’t get tied up in that. I just remember a bunch of gamestops had that Halo 2 statue of Master Chief. It was cool, but I would have rather had the Tobey McGuire Spider-man.

Sorry Chief, of the two statues I couldn’t afford, I chose not to buy Spider-man over not buying you.

One of the things I do remember was seeing the “What if you miss?” Trailer. At the time, I wasn’t too invested in reading the text that was popping up too quick to read and just enjoyed the trailer where he jumps out of ship.

And the only reason this stuck with me is when this same scene happens, it is accompanied by, “I’m going to give the Covenant back their Bomb.” Which was just awesome. Watching the trailer now, having played most of the games, the opening text means more. At the time I originally saw it, I hadn’t even finished the first game. So it was cool seeing a trailer for a sequel game to the one I hadn’t finished. It is always nice knowing you are falling further and further behind.

Assassins Creed also taunts me, at least that has a new hero each time and is quite good at hiding what happened the previous game. Halo 2’s trailer spoils the hell out of Halo: CE.

But like I said, 3 paragraphs ago, I didn’t bother reading, so yeah, jokes on you.

Also not knowing what they spoiled helped.

I did play Halo 2 once around the time it came out. I was at my local gaming store and they had Halo 2 in the back room. I hopped on one of the Co-op controllers and played about five minutes. Probably until I died. Like usual.

When I heard Halo 3 was on the horizon, I decided to play catch up. So getting a very satisfying wrap up in Halo: CE with everyone dead except Chief and Cortana, I loaded up Halo 2.

One thing I do remember people telling me was that the ending sucked in Halo 2. But I ignored that, because obviously they aren’t me. I have previously held that I enjoy things that other people don’t. (See previous entry mentioning Shadow The Hedgehog) I’m happy that I just finished a game while other people want a deep meaningful ending. Again, this was also back when I didn’t have the same critical mindset that I do now.

Well, after playing it, I get it. Story wise it’s fine, and it is definitely neat to see more of the story from the point of view of The Arbiter.

No, not that one.

It’s a fun campaign, but my biggest problem is the ending. I’ve always held it as one of the weaker entries for me because the ending left a poor taste in my mouth.

There are essentially two final levels in Halo 2. One as Master Chief and the other as The Arbiter. In Master Chief’s final level you finish off a prophet and then hitch a ride on a ship headed for Earth. Then you switch to The Arbiter and finish off Tartarus. After doing that, we cut back to Master Chief coming back to Earth to Finish the Fight! And it is over.

It wasn’t as bad for me as others. I finished Halo 2 a few months before Halo 3 came out. I already had a release date and pre-order set up and everything. But there were 3 years and console generation between Halo 2 and Halo 3. Also, in what universe do we want to end on The Arbiter?!? Me and my house, we serve The Master Chief!

Your Assault Rifle and RPG Launcher, they comfort me.

Yeah, if they gave us one more level, or at least finished on a Master Chief level, I think it might have been better. There was just a strong, “What? That’s it?” feeling to that ending. So for me, Halo 2 was always the forgotten middle child of the original trilogy. Not even a warthog run to finish it off.

So just like with Halo:CE, I picked it up again for the quarantine with the Master Chief Collection.

In anticipation of Halo 5, they completely redid the graphics and cut scenes of Halo 2. And oh GOD IS IT PRETTY!

SO
DAMN
PRETTY
Well. . . most of it, anyway.

Yeah, I forgot how fantastic certain scenes in this game were. Every cut scene was amazing and I spent a lot of the replay wondering, “Did we do this in the original?” I honestly don’t recall the fight with the heretic in the first Arbiter mission. But then again, it has been over a decade since the last time I played Halo 2.

However, when I got to the end of Halo 2, I still had the same reminder of, “oh yeah, this is why I didn’t like it.” It just wasn’t a satisfying ending.

I think a lot of people really loved Halo 2 because the multiplayer opened up so many more options with the pick ups and the ability to duel wield weapons, but considering I never really played much multiplayer, it didn’t do a lot for me.

I still love the story and the campaign, but it feels incomplete. Like a teaser for a bigger story. At the end of Halo: CE, you destroyed a ring and closed the chapter. In Halo 2, it feels like you stopped short of the final mission. It’s not like Empire Strikes Back or Endgame where you end in failure and have to find a way back in the next movie. It would be like in Star Wars: A New Hope, cutting off as everyone is approaching Yavin 4.

And ROLL CREDITS!

Yeah, Halo 2 was my first game of major story disappointment. I wanted to enjoy it despite the naysayers, but it just left me wanting.

Fortunately, my wait wasn’t long.

Couldn’t find an Anniversary version.

Next Week: We finish the Fight with Halo 3!

Halo: Combat Evolved

This Week: Halo: Combat Evolved

Yeah, I played the original, so I can use the original box art. As long as Bungie doesn’t sue.

So, am I video game blog now?

No, I am not so broadly well versed in video game lore and history that I think I could do an effective gaming site. I leave that to the pandas.

However, I did want to discuss my history with a few franchises of my past and how I am revisiting them now. Let’s begin with the one that will leave me in financial ruin every time they decide to launch a new console based around him.

So, since the dawn of time, I have loved helmets. Power Rangers, Knights, the Guards in Judge Dredd, Motorcycle helmets, Iron Man, the whole shebang. I particularly preferred ones that covered the whole face. Sorry RoboCop and Dredd.

There is probably some psychological thing in there about me preferring the hero to be an every man so I can self insert myself into that role, but nah, I just think helmets are cool.

So when I got the Xbox, I’m not one hundred percent sure how quickly I got Halo. It might have been bundled in with it, or my parents might have bought it later, but I’m pretty sure I got it fairly quickly.

Oh and I can tell you right now, when I started playing that bad boy I didn’t stop until I got to the second level and put the controller down for like several years.

I kid you not, Halo 2 had already been out for a while before I ended up finishing Halo: CE.

For one, I never was a big fan of First Person Shooters (FPSs). I played Goldeneye on the N64 and got pretty good at setting traps for my friends with a room FILLED with proximity mines, and I finished the game a couple times, but games like Doom, Hexen, Turok, and Duke Nukem all got played for a little bit, but eventually I got killed and gave up.

Finishing games wasn’t a conditioned past time. I died way too often to think games could be finished or had a story. Sonic, Mario, and Tetris all taught me to play the beginning, die, then play the beginning again. The N64 tried to fix me of this with finishing Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, and StarFox, but these were outliers, right?

Also, I was never a multiplayer guy. I didn’t bring my Xbox over to other people’s houses and link up to do a LAN party. That requires, like, friends. Which in the early 2000’s I did not have.

(Oh so you had friends in the late 2000’s?) Shut up.

So I played alone. I played Halo for the story instead of getting my butt kicked in Multiplayer ALL the time.

I actually think I might have had the 360 and been awaiting the release of Halo 3 when I finally dusted off Halo: Combat Evolved. I think I had to relearn how to hold the massive controller after getting used to holding the 360 controller.

Not to brag, but I beat the whole game on Easy.

That’s a lie, I stopped counting after 87.

I never cared much for the multiplayer. I’ve always understood and accepted that I am a low quality wretch of a gamer. Everyone else out there is much more dedicated and have finely honed their skills to become masters of death. I’ve at best developed the habit of shooting until I run out of ammo and then throw a hand grenade to buy time to reload.

I can snipe the hell out of you if you have put down your controller to go make a hotpocket.

So in 2015 when I moved back into my parents house for 2 weeks 4 months while trying to buy a house, I got the Master Chief Collection and decided to try my hand at Legendary.

Interestingly enough, I made it to roughly the same spot I died at the first time I played Halo on easy. I beat the first level, then I made it to the base first base on Halo and kept dying horribly. All the marines I was trying to save were long dead. I eventually was just not having fun and decided to try and decrease the difficulty. I found out I would have to restart the level/game and just went back to Dark Souls.

Because I wasn’t having fun dying, if you recall.

After I moved again, I couldn’t find my Master Chief Collection at all. I kept looking at prices for a new disc, but they weren’t low enough for me to justify buying it again. So for several years I just carried around my empty case and watched as more news about Halo games came out and I still wasn’t ready to pick it back up again.

Then everything changed when the Covid-19 attacked.

I decided I wanted to finally push through my block of playing Halo. I decided to ask my dad if he found the disc and even prepared to buy the Master Chief Collection did not resurface.

Then I opened my old Dark Souls case and guess what was inside?

As you should expect from opening Dark Souls, but no.

There it was, my Master Chief Collection. So I called off the search that I initiated twenty minutes earlier and loaded up Halo:CE.

I switched back to my comfortable mode that makes me feel like a god and only died maybe a dozen times the entire playthrough. Most of them coming from that damn Warthog run at the end of the game.

It was really neat to see the graphics upgrade between the original Halo:CE and the Anniversary edition.

I never really took to the Covenant Weapons. Except for the Ghost. I like just driving around and shooting everything to death. The Scorpion tank is fine for just blowing everything up, don’t care for the warthog because you either drive or shoot, not both. Except when you stop, get out, shoot everything for 10 minutes, then move on.

Banshees I have yet to fly effectively across any of the games. Just like the Warthog I have to choose between flying effectively or shooting things to death.

Favorite weapon would probably be the Sniper Rifle when I am in a situation where I can snipe everybody and then move on. However when I am running and gunning, I like the Shotgun and Assault Rifle combo. Only downside is how few shots the Shotgun carries and how long it takes to fully reload.

Now, it is really difficult for me to judge video game stories. Hell, most movies I judged as “good” as long as I finished them. It wasn’t until I started watching online reviews that I actually decided North maybe wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it was simply because I saw the credits.

However, games are a bit different. If you go through the effort of finishing the game, it means you probably enjoyed it enough not to give up. Doesn’t necessarily mean the story is good, but at least the gameplay is enough to keep you interested enough to finish. Am I a good judge of whether a video game story is good?

Well, I enjoyed Shadow the Hedgehog’s story. All 50 of them. So if you want to use that as your-

NO! WAIT! SORRY! I CAN CHANGE!

Nah, there were some things I found weird about Shadow, but I did enjoy the game. But that is for another review. I enjoyed the characters and the overall mythos of the Halo universe enough to keep playing it across 9 soon to be 10 games, 2 movies, 2 mini-series, and 3 books. Is it a good story? I’ll let the more snobbish critics decide, but I enjoy it.

Halo: Combat Evolved is the starting point of a great series. Although I was mainly in for the story rather than the multiplayer madness that everyone else was in for, it was a fun ride.

Yeah, I wasn’t legendary, so no alien groping for me.

Next Week: Halo 2. We get to use 2 GUNS AT ONCE!