This weekend I wrapped up Halo 3:ODST, the latest game in the venerable Halo saga. If you remember, I wasn't terribly happy with Halo 3. It was something of a letdown from from Halo 2. Sure, it has great multiplayer, but while I enjoy MP I'm much more of a single player guy. I play at odd times and for short intervals typically (which is my primary Warcraft character will take years to hit 85) so I prefer a solid SP experience with an engaging story. Halo:ODST is everything I had wanted Halo 3 to be. Not just one story, but multiple. You play as the rookie member of a squad that has been separated. As you hunt down your squad mates you get to play through their experiences. This gives you multiple narratives that weave together quite well. It also gives you a nicely varied game play. Oh, and to add to that, there is a third storyline told through audio logs that is quite well done as well.
The game plays somewhat like Halo 3 did except that as a much less powerful soldier you have to adjust your strategy. My first game session was quite a shock as I discovered just how much less powerful I was than good ole Master Chief. Once I got used that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I found it slightly more difficult than Halo 3 but never really frustrating.
What really surprised me about this game - besides the incredibly strong story line, was the music. Most of your play time as the Rookie is spent in the city at night. This is after most of the violence has passed (most, not all), and there is a quiet, moody atmosphere not often found in FPS games. Bioshock comes to mind I guess, but I actually think the Halo:ODST pulls off the mood a bit better. The music is incredible. A soft, piano filled melody that is unique. Once I just left the game alone for a good 10 minutes to listen. I've only bought one video game soundtrack before (Kameo) but I think I'll pick up this one as well. (Assuming they sell it - and I'm sure they do.)
I've heard some say the game is short, and perhaps it is, but it felt like a solid amount of game play to me, and again, story wise, it is near perfect. I'm not sure more game time would make sense. And it does come with the complete Halo 3 multiplayer game so if you skipped Halo 3 you can still play the MP version.
I definitely recommend Halo 3:ODST. I wish I could invite my readers to come kill me online, but I'll be wrapping up Sacred 2 next.