The enemies for the most part are familiar, though you won't see any Elites due to the current setting. Brutes lead the squads of Jackels and Grunts, and fighting the Hunters is an even more stressful situation as an ODST. Playing on Heroic yielded some pretty impressive situations with the AI, which appears to have been beefed up a bit. There were times when I would gun down half of a squad, only to watch the rest retreat and regroup with another before attacking us again. Without the shield system for yourself, you'll find yourself crouching behind boxes and cover more often. You'll play games of hit and run with the enemy, and you'll use grenades more often. Speaking of grenades, ODSTs are capable of carrying 12 in total, 3 of each kind. The new weapons are a silenced pistol and a silenced SMG.
The co-op mode allows up to four players online, two players locally with split screen, as well as local and online mixed. It's identical to Halo 3's system, so there's no ability to use match making for campaign or FireFight unfortunately. There's a few changes on the gameplay side of co-op though. The biggest thing I noticed is players are no longer tethered to each other, we were able to get quite a distance away from the other player without having them be warped to our position. Each player does take the role of an ODST, but the cut scenes still only show as if there's one. Overall if you've played Halo in co-op before, you should know what to expect - and that's a damn good time.
FireFight is the other big co-op addition to the game, which is Bungie's take on the Horde modes. Up to four players are tasked with surviving waves of enemies in successive rounds. Every five levels you'll get another skull added to make things more difficult, and you'll begin to see harder enemies being dropped. The team shares a pool of lives, with extra lives gained after surviving every group. I really think there's enough here that makes this mode stand out from the other horde and survival modes. The biggest thing is that a lot of enemies are spawned by drop ships that can fire on you, this means as enemies are spawning you need to take cover. There's this constant ebb and flow of the rounds as you fight back the waves. You'll need to time your health runs carefully, and cover each other effectively or you'll die a quick death as soon as you start to reach the later rounds. The earlier rounds are actually solo-able, something the game does let you do. All the maps for FireFight are based sections from the single player game. There's ten in total, with two of them being night versions of the same map.
So all of that is Disc 1 of Halo 3: ODST. On the second disc you'll find the Halo 3 multiplayer game as well as all the premium map packs AND three new maps. Much was made about the length of the game, but you're looking at about 7 or 8 hours on Heroic difficulty when going through by yourself, a bit less in co-op. There's co-op specific achievements for FireFight, and plenty of campaign achievements to earn as well. When all is said and done ODST doesn't do anything particularly ground breaking or new, it has some tweaks and changes to existing formulas, but what you get here is a small iteration of the Halo franchise. That's not to say it's a bad thing, in fact, I'd say it's probably what a lot of Halo fans want.
The Co-Op Experience: A brand new entry into the Halo universe as players take the role of an OSDT Marine. Players can play through the campaign or choose a survival mode called FireFight.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.