Is
ODST worth $60?

We couldn't possibly respond to such a subjective question with a definitive answer. But our review might help you reach an informed decision about buying, renting or passing on ODST.

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What's in the box?

Halo 3: ODST ($59.99) ships in a standard Xbox 360 game case with a double-disc insert.

Disc One
  • Campaign: "Take your party directly to Campaign to fight the Covenant and solve the mystery shrouding the remains of New Mombasa."
  • Firefight: "Take your party to Firefight missions that gradually increase in difficulty as you rack up the points."
  • Theater (Saved Films): "Take your party to view and replay films of your Campaign missions and Firefights."
Disc Two (Halo 3 Mythic; includes 24 Halo 3 multiplayer maps)
  • Matchmaking: "Take your party to Xbox Live and into the frenetic action of live combat, objective-based missions, and dangerous military exercises."
  • Custom Games: "Take your party to combat and objective-based missions that you select and design. Your rules, your maps, your game."
  • Forge: "Take your party to collaborate in real time to edit and play variations of your favorite maps, from the subtle to the insane."
  • Theater (Saved Films): "Take your party to view and replay films and footage of your Multiplayer and Forge antics."
In addition, the game case holds a Halo: Reach beta invitation (pictured). Once activated, the Reach beta will be accessed through Disc One's "Extras" menu; no key code necessary. If you have the ODST game disc, you'll have access to the Reach beta.

[There's also a Halo 3: ODST "Collector's Pack" ($99.99; pictured) available exclusively at GameStop. The Collector's Pack includes a special edition wireless controller.]

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Should I install either game disc on my hard drive?

While both game discs can be installed on an Xbox 360 hard drive, only Disc One was optimized for installation (a mere 3.5 GB). (Note: Disc Two should not be installed, as doing so will hinder online performance.) There's no clear benefit to installing Disc One aside from slightly reduced load times. For example, you can not run the Disc One content off of your hard drive using Disc Two in the system tray, which would eliminate the need for disc swapping.

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What's it like not playing as Master Chief?

While the differences between playing as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper and Spartan super soldier may seem subtle, they are no less significant. Let's have Bungie game designer Alex Pfieffer answer the question:



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What are the new weapons in ODST?

Along with all of the weapons and vehicles featured in Halo 3, there are two new weapons in ODST:
  • M7S Submachine Gun: "A sound-suppressed variant of the M7 rifle. Compact size, 48-round magazine, and 2x zoom reflex sight, make the M7S invaluable in stealthy urban operations."
  • M6S Magnum: "A sound-suppressed variant of the M6 sidearm. With 4x zoom, 12-round magazine, and minimal recoil, the M6S excels at quick, precision kills." (Read: headshots!)
Note: While the items in Halo 3 are unusable as a player (Brutes will still deploy some of them), the X-button now activates the VISR; "a low-light, target-acquisition vision mode."

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Will you show me the Achievements list?

Sure! All 47 Achievements (totaling 1,000) are charted below:

Heal Up Find the first Medical Kiosk and heal yourself. 5
Tourist Access and download the city map to your VISR. 5
Dark Times Kill 5 enemies while using VISR mode. 5
Boom, Headshot Get 10 automag headshot kills in any level. 5
Stunning! Stun a vehicle with an overcharged plasma pistol and quickly kill the driver 5
Ewww, Sticky Get 5 sticky grenade kills in any level. 5
My Clothes! Plasma Pistol Overcharge and qucikly kill 10 Brutes. 5
Pink and Deadly Get 10 Needler supercombine kills on any covenant 5
Trading Down Trade weapons with a fellow character 5
Headcase Finish any level with at least one Skull activated. 5
Tayari Plaza Complete Tayari Plaze on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefight character. 30
Uplift Reserve Complete Uplift Reserve on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefight character. 30
Kizingo Boulevard Complete Kizingo Blvd. on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefighter character. 30
ONI Alpha Site Complete ONI Slpha Site on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefighter mission. 30
NMPD HQ Complete NMPD HQ on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefight mission. 30
Kikiwani Station Complete Kikowani Station on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary. 30
Data Hive Complete Data Hive on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefighter mission. 50
Coastal Highway Complete Coastal Highway on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary to unlock a new Firefighter mission. 50
Campaign Complete: Normal Complete the Campaign on Normal difficulty. 100
Campaign Complete: Heroic Complete the Campaign on Heroic difficulty. 100
Campaign Complete: Legendary Complete the Campaign on Legendary to unlock a new Firefight character. 100
Junior Detective Find the first clue unraveling the mystery. 10
Gumshoe Find the 3rd clue unraveling the mystery, alone or with another ODST. 10
Super Sleuth Find the final clue unraveling the mystery, alone or with another ODST. 10
Wraith Killer Kill are Wraiths in Uplift Reserve 5
Both Tubes Get 10 Rocket kills on Kizingo Boulevard. 5
Laser Blaster Get 10 Spartan Laser kills on ONI Alpha Site. 5
Dome Inspector Get 15 headshot kills on NMPD HQ 5
I Like Fire Kill 10 enemies with the Flamethrower on Data Hive. 5
Good Samaritan Killing things that are new and different is bad, alone or with another ODST. 20
Naughty Naughty Killing things that are new and different is good, alone or with another ODST. 5
Listener Find the first Audio Log. 5
Tuned In Find 3 Audio Logs, alone or with another ODST. 15
All Ears Find 15 Audio Logs, alone or with another ODST. 30
Audiophile Find all Audio Logs, alone or with another ODST. 75
Be Like Marty In Firefight, finish a full round without lilling a single enemy. 10
Firefight: Crater Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Crater. 10
Firefight: Lost Platoon Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Lost Platoon. 10
Firefight: Rally Point Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Rally Point. 10
Firefight: Security Zone Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Security Zone. 10
Firefight: Alpha Site Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Alpha Site. 10
Firefight: Windward Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Windward. 10
Firefight: Chasm Ten Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Chasm Ten. 10
Firefight: Last Exit Score over 200,000 points in Firefight on Last Exit. 10
Vidmaster Challenge: Classic Finish any level solo on Legendary, on Live, with no shots fired or grenades thrown. 25
Vidmaster Challenge: Endure In Firefight, on any mission, pass the 4th Set on 4-player Heroic Live co-op. 25
Vidmaster Challenge: Déjà Vu Complete Highway on 4-player Legendary Live co-op, with Iron, and no 'Hog or Scorpion 25
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Campaign

How many missions are in Campaign?

There are ten missions; including one tutorial segment, six flashback missions, two levels, and an open-world hub:
  • Prepare to Drop: "Start a new game, drop into the nighttime city."
  • Tayari Plaza: "Beat the Covenant to Dare's crash-site."
  • Uplift Reserve: "Lead a Warthog to charge, clear hostiles from the park."
  • Kizingo Boulevard: "Scorpion rampage through the heart of the city."
  • ONI Alpha Site: "Fall back, deny access to this vital facility."
  • NMPD HQ: "Pelican down. Keep your sniper rifle handy."
  • Kikowani Station: "Aerial combat in the flooded city."
  • Data Hive: "Find Dare, secure the Superintendent."
  • Coastal Highway: "Escort asset out of the city."
  • Mombasa Streets: "Explore the city, find your ODST team."
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What are the collectible Audio Logs, and how many are there?

Scattered around Mombasa Streets, the open-world hub, are 30 Audio Logs. Combined, the logs form a meta-game, known as "Sadie's Story." The Audio Logs are paired with hand-drawn stills, which can be viewed in the VISR Database menu under the COMM tab (note: this does not pause the game).

Audio Logs are "downloaded" from various data terminals in the hub world (highlighted in yellow when VISR mode is active); and environmental hints leading to their locations are provided by the city's AI, the Superintendent. Finding Audio Logs unlocks a series of Achievements (see chart above).

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Is co-op play supported in Campaign?

Yes, Campaign supports up to 4 players (scoring mode optional) via Xbox Live or System Link. Campaign also supports 2-player split-screen mode (but not 3- or 4-player split-screen) and a combination of two split-screen local parties joined via Xbox Live or System Link (for 4 total players); or a combination of two spit-screen players and up to two solo players (for 3–4 total players). It's important to note that Campaign does not support multiplayer matchmaking. Online, you can only play with others that you have established as Xbox Live friends.

Says community lead Brian Jarrad, "My advice is to build up a group of active players by meeting people on Bungie.net, or by meeting them via the Halo 3 matchmaking (which is still included on the second disc)."

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Firefight

What are the basic rules of Firefight?

Firefight is a 1- to 4-player cooperative mode where the goal is to survive and score as many points as possible. All players share a limited pool of lives. The mode is measured in Waves, Rounds and Sets; where a Wave consists of a randomly assembled Covenant squad deployed to attack your position.

A Round consists of 5 Waves, and the fifth Wave always includes multiple Brute Chieftains. After each Round, additional lives will be added to your squad's extra life pool and medkits, weapons and ammo will be replenished on the map.

A set is made up of 3 Rounds (15 Waves) and ends with a Bonus Round. The Bonus Round ends when its timer expires or all squad members are killed.

Dead players respawn as long as there are lives in the extra life pool. Additionally, dead players respawn at the start of each Wave (if at least one squad member survives the previous Wave) and after each Bonus Round.

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How many missions (or maps) are in Firefight?

Ten missions:
  • Crater: "Fight in Dare's sunken crash-site."
  • Lost Platoon: "Fight in the dead center of the park."
  • Rally Point: "Fight with your back against the wall."
  • Security Zone: "Fight in the wide-open ONI exterior."
  • Alpha Site: "Fight in the close-quarters ONI interior."
    [Complete "ONI Alpha Site" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Windward: "Fight high above the city streets."
  • Chasm Ten: "Fight in the infested underground."
    [Complete "Data Hive" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Last Exit: "Fight at the end of the road."
    [Complete "Coastal Highway" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Crater [Night]: "Fight in Dare's sunken crash-site." [Night version of "Crater" mission]
  • Rally [Night]: "Fight with your back against the wall." [Night version of "Rally Point" mission]
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Can I customize my character in Firefight?

Yes, in the "Settings" menu under "Appearance," you can select one of seven characters:
  • Rookie
  • Mickey [Complete "Kizingo Boulevard" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Dutch [Complete "Uplift Reserve" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Romeo [Complete "NMPD HQ" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Buck [Complete "Tayari Plaza" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Dare [Complete "Campaign Complete: Legendary" Achievement to unlock.]
  • Johnson [Pre-order bonus DLC only; currently 99999 otherwise.]
In addition, except for Johnson, appearances can be modified by featuring a helmet on or off. Each player can also customize a 4-character Service Tag and an Emblem for display, as well as a few colors on the armor and Emblem.

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How many skull modifiers are there, and what does each skull do in Firefight?

There are 7 primary skulls (in bold below) and 5 secondary skulls. Once a round skull is activate, it remains active until the end of a set; and set skulls remain active until the end of a match. Here are the complete descriptions:

Tough Luck Covenant forces have extra dodging ability when evading grenades, rockets and needler fire. Round 1
Catch Covenant troops are armed with extra grenades. Round 2
Black Eye Stamina only recharges when you successfully melee attack an enemy. Round 3
Tilt Armored units take less damage form bullets, and unarmored units take less damage from plasma. Set 2
Famine Dropped weapons lose half their normal ammunition/charge. Set 3
Mythic Enemy health is doubled. Set 4
Iron No respawns until the end of a Wave. Bonus Round
Blind No first person HUD. Optional
Cowbell Physics impulses increased. Optional
Grunt Birthday Party Grunt headshots cause confetti. Optional
IWHBYD Rare dialog is frequent and vice versa. Optional
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Does Firefight support online matchmaking?

No, Firefight does not support online matchmaking. Firefight supports 2-player split-screen local mode (but not 3- or 4-player split-screen), 4-player System Link, and up to 4 Xbox Live friends playing cooperatively. Firefight also supports two split-screen local parties joined together via Xbox Live or System Link (for 4 total players); or a combination of two spit-screen players and up to two solo players (for 3–4 total players).

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Halo 3 Multiplayer

Is there new Halo 3 multiplayer content?

Yes, ODST includes three new Halo 3 multiplayer maps: Citadel, Heretic and Longshore (comprising the second collection of Mythic maps). Bungie has stated that it has no current plans to release these maps as DLC.

Note: Aside from the new Mythic maps, ODST's second disc contains the same multiplayer executable file included on the Halo 3 game disc, as well as all downloadable map packs to date.

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Do I need to keep downloaded Halo 3 maps on my hard drive?

No, you can delete any previously installed Halo 3 multiplayer maps on your hard drive. All of these maps are included on ODST's second disc. (If for some reason you decide to get rid of ODST, but keep Halo 3, you can re-download previously purchased map packs without penalty.)

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Where are the hidden skulls in the new Mythic maps?

Funny you should ask! We have a video for that:


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How do I unlock Recon armor for Halo 3 multiplayer?

That's simple! Just complete all 7 Vidmaster Challenges ...

Halo 3

  • Vidmaster Challenge: Annual -- "After 9/25/08, complete Halo on 4-player Legendary Live co-op, with Iron, and everyone in Ghosts." [Note: Halo 3 game disc required.]
  • Vidmaster Challenge: Brainpan -- "Find all the hidden skulls on the Mythic maps."
  • Vidmaster Challenge: Lightswitch -- "Get the rank of Lieutenant in any playlist in the new EXP progression system."
  • Vidmaster Challenge: 7 on 7 -- "Entered into a ranked or social playlist with 7 EXP on the 7th of the month."
Halo 3: ODST
  • Vidmaster Challenge: Classic -- "Finish any level solo on Legendary, on Live, with no shots fired or grenades thrown."
  • Vidmaster Challenge: Endure -- "On Firefight, on any mission, pass the 4th Set on 4-player Heroic Live co-op."
  • Vidmaster Challenge: Déjà Vu -- "Complete Coastal Highway on 4-player Legendary Live co-op, with Iron, and no 'Hog or Scorpion."
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Be sure to check out Joystiq's Halo 3: ODST Review, as well as in-depth analysis of the Campaign and Firefight games modes.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.