We dropped into the city of New Mombasa and set about slaying the covenant horde in the game's new Firefight mode.
It's been almost two years since Halo 3 came out, and although the game still enjoys popularity on Xbox Live, there is significant anticipation for a new game in the series. With Halo 3: ODST, Bungie has taken the well-known universe and created a whole new story within it, taking place between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3. Rather than play as Master Chief, you play as the Rookie, an orbital drop shock trooper in the war-torn city of New Mombasa. We were lucky enough to get some hands-on time with the game's new four player co-op mode, Firefight, to see if it lives up to the esteemed Halo name.
Firefight takes inspiration from Gears of War 2's Horde mode and pits four players against wave after wave of covenant enemies via system link, split-screen, or Xbox Live. The prematch setup looks similar to the one in Halo 3, and the party leader can choose different match settings and the map. However, once the game begins, there are a number of changes that give the game a different feel from Halo 3.
The first thing we noticed was how differently the Rookie handled compared to Master Chief--he can't jump as high or move as fast. The Rookie also lacks Master Chief's shield for absorbing damage; instead, he uses something called "stamina." The stamina bar works much like a traditional health system. It has a gauge at the top of the screen showing how much stamina you have left and can be replenished at health stations.
New weapons have also been introduced in ODST: a suppressed submachine gun rifle and an Auto Mag pistol. The rifle feels like a much tougher weapon than the standard Halo 3 rifle--it's louder, has armour-piercing bullets, and a great zoom for picking out enemies from afar. The gun feels very powerful, but it extended shooting results in some pretty hefty recoil, so we found it best to fire in short bursts. The Auto Mag harks back to the much-loved pistol from the original Halo and is also very powerful--even such large enemies as brutes and hunters can be taken down by it. And, it has a zoom mode, which allowed us to pull off some very satisfying headshots.
Microsoft was showing off two of the maps in Firefight--Security Zone and the previously unseen Alpha Site. We spent most of our time on the Alpha Site map, which mostly takes place indoors. The map is made up of a vast cavernous building complete with art deco pillars and a multitude of storage boxes to take cover behind. There were also platforms that extended from each side of the map to the outdoors, which allowed covenant ships to land and drop off more enemies for us to battle against. The usual Halo suspects make a reappearance, including grunts, drones, and hunters. The enemies that appear are never the same each time the level is played, and though we got hunters on one play though the map, the next time, we were inundated with brutes instead. However, some enemies are unique to certain maps, such as Wraiths, which only appear on the outdoor levels. This random element means no two games are the same and adds to the intense and unpredictable feel of the mode. Teamwork plays a big part in Firefight, and in order to progress through the waves, we had to work together with our teammates. Sticking together, using cover, and covering all sides of the attack are all key to making it through a wave alive.
The Firefight mode introduces several gameplay mechanics. Each team is given seven lives, which are shared between them. Extra lives are only given after the completion of each wave, but if all the lives are lost, then the game ends. There's an unlimited number of waves to play through, and each wave has a number of stages to complete. In each stage, greater numbers of enemies attack the team before starting over again in the next round. After a wave is completed, skulls are introduced, which give the enemy extra abilities. In our game, we saw a skull called "catch" added to game that caused all the enemies to throw grenades and bombard our team with plasmas. We were also told of another skull called black eye where the player can replenish stamina by launching melee attacks on the enemy.
Medals make an appearance in Firefight and are awarded for performing special kills, such as headshots with a charged-up plasma pistol. The game tracks both individual and team scores, which makes the mode incredibly addictive as you try to rack up the highest score. There are also score multipliers to help the team along, such as double kills, triple kills, and killing sprees.
Though the game is graphically similar to Halo 3, the art style is slightly different. It retains the "futuristic earth" Halo look, but adds a twist of film noir with dark and moody environments. Bungie mentioned that the game had been influenced by the sci-fi classic Blade Runner, with much of the game taking place at night and the gleaming lights of the city glowing in the background.
Halo 3 ODST is shaping up to be a great addition to the Halo universe, and the addictive just-one-more-wave feeling to Firefight could prove to be a great timesink in multiplayer. We can't wait to get our hands on the finished game, so keep an eye on GameSpot for more on Halo 3: ODST before the game is released on September 22.
People we need to begin to get pissed that Firefight as no matchmaking. This indicates that this mode will have little to no support. This mode is one of the big sellers for the game and NO MATchmaking. Anyone with me?
this looks pretty cool, but honestly since it's got Halo 3's MP and this is basically a knock off of Horde and Zombies, I don't think it's worth 60 bucks. I'll wait for the price to drop a bit.
I reserved this game...man it looks good what sounds cool about firefight is no 2 games are the same...and plus all the halo 3 maps. Hope the game lives up to the hype.
i forgot why halo is so fun [not that any of the games are bad] its just that all the gameplay looks the same. and no bungie 2 new guns aint gonna do it. p.s. make the halo 1 multiplayer maps downloadable content for this game please. halo 3 maps aren't that great [too boring]
"Looks nice, i loved Halo 1&2, i'd have gotten Halo 3 except i don't think id be able to stand the squeaky voiced 10 year olds online, this looks like another great game but again, after beating the story who wants to be harassed online by immature little kids?.." Stick to being in a party then. That's what I do - works like a charm. :)
Looks nice, i loved Halo 1&2, i'd have gotten Halo 3 except i don't think id be able to stand the squeaky voiced 10 year olds online, this looks like another great game but again, after beating the story who wants to be harassed online by immature little kids?..
@Mr_Silent_D It has been stated many times by Bungie that ODST comes with Halo 3's multiplayer and all maps released thus far.
with firefight and the campaign both in the game is there any actual matchmaking besides the Halo: Reach beta? or do we have to stick with Halo 3 for that?
And Horde isnt a Zombies ripoff ? at the end of the day "wave Level's" have been around for ages.... Personally, i cant wait !!!
To everyone say Firefight is a "horde" rip off.... Bungie had a "satnd your ground game type way before GOW in marathon 2.
Im assuming you all know but in case you dont... if you pre-order you get to play as Johnson in Firefight. Thats right...JOHNSON! So for everyone who has already done so, GO PRE-ORDER
I know I'm in the minority here, but I just can't get all that excited over Firefight. I enjoy the campaign for a story and playing coop, and I enjoy playing against other people in matchmaking, but Firefight is mindless fighting with no story development, no change in scenery, and no human opponents. It sounds like something I'd get tired of playing after a single afternoon.
No seriously, can this game have an early release and come out sooner?? Firefight is going to consume my time...hoping the campaign will be solid.
FireFight IS a Horde rip-off, but I have no problem with it. I liked Gears' Horde mode, but I still like Halo's weapons, grenades, and vehicles so much more, and I find their enemies far more interesting; so, unless the Skulls totally ruin everything, it should end up being much better.
Firefight? Seems like a Horde ripoff to me. Sounds fun however even Halo can learn a bit from the Gears franchise.
Oh and ignore what I said about Modern Warfare 2 only being in development for 1 year. That is completely untrue. It had 2 years too.
I am already excited for this addition to the Halo series. Still I want to hear more about Halo Reach.
NiteShadeX, I've seen it new on ebay and amazon etc for £15 (or around $22) and then used I can easily find it for £8 (about $12) so I took $15 as a generalization. It seems odd, most of our games are actually more expensive then yours, but games go down in price much more here in the UK. A brand new game normally sells for £40 here, which if we went back to before the recession, was around $80, but now it's about $65, but it's still more expensive than in the US. But again, if we compare with what Modern Warfare 2 offers over its predecessor (after only 1 year rather than 2), it offers actual new multiplayer features, lots of new guns, 10s of new maps, modifications to the game engine (improved graphics and physics etc.) and a new campaign that will be just as long as ODST's if not longer. In addition to that a Special Ops co-op mode that has many modes and gametypes within itself. I'm sure you can see where I'm coming from.
@hassey94 I agree with your points, but where on earth are you finding Halo 3 for 15$? Due to its massive sales and populartity, the title still remains 60 or maybe 40$ in all the stores in my local area. Does price really differ that much between US and UK?
I was thinking about getting it when it was supposed to be downloadable, but now there's no chance. With a shorter campaign, identical gameplay to Halo 3 and graphics that haven't been improved at all, this feels more like a user-created mod than an actual game so far. I'll pass.
In New Zealand it only costs the equivalent of $45USD whereas a normal game round here will usually cost around $65-$70USD.
"Though ODST started out with the intention to be an expansion, it moved beyond the simple 'expansion' stage long ago." But did it? What kg and chaos were questioning was the fact that it didn't seem like much of a full game, at least when compared to Halo 3, for example. Halo 3 had a vastly improved multiplayer over Halo 2, forge mode, new campaign, loads of gametypes and more little features. Halo 3 ODST comes with EXACTLY the same multiplayer (bar $10 of maps), 1 new gametype and a short campaign. I don' t think that's worth it, let toll it up. Halo 3 can be bought for $15, so that's a game mode, campaign the lot. The maps are $10. That means that a 7-8 hour (being generous) campaign and 1 game type are being sold for $35. Not to mention Halo 3: ODST doesn't come with the original Halo campaign. Because of this I'm still unsure whether I should buy this or not. I'll tell you what, Gamespot have high standards when it comes to reviews, higher than most which I often agree with. If Gamespot gives this game a 9.0 or higher, I will most likely buy it, if not, no chance. I don't normally do this, I've bought games that have been rated 7s-10s, reviews don't really bother me that much, but for this I'm going to see if Gamespot think it is worth the money.
A silenced gun that's louder? And I'm 100% sure that isn't a rifle, but an SMG similar to Halo 2 and 3's SMG; but apparently with a silencer that makes it louder.
doenst look too bad, but i wish the character would just aim down his sights with his machine gun, instead of actually zooming in with a crosshair.
Oh, and I think they meant to say "a suppressed (silenced) submachine gun, a rifle, and an Auto Mag pistol." vs "a suppressed submachine gun rifle and an Auto Mag pistol." #1 makes more sense to me and what seems likely to be the intended news
@ kg and Chaos: Though ODST started out with the intention to be an expansion, it moved beyond the simple 'expansion' stage long ago. It's no longer merely an 'add-on," or it would be marketed as such - which it was to begin with, but is no longer. Must say I am looking forward to it. I'm more of a stealth sniper in general gameplay, so I like the idea of silenced weapons and the return of the Mega-Pistol of Doominess. Oh, and GameStop has a Limited Ed that comes bundled with a controller, for anybody who did not know. Had to go reserve myself the bundle today as my 'A' button's giving out >.>
they're trying so hard to make this game seem worthy of the $60, when it should really be like a $20 dlc.
the idea seems good but I don't think that 2 new weapons, a campaign and a new multiplayer mode is worth $60. I'm prbly gonna end up buyin' it cuz I like halo, but still, that's expensive for an add on
I thought this would just be a stupid horde knockoff but it actually looks pretty good now and I might get the game