Sunday, September 27, 2009

ODST, yeah you know me

Finished playing single-player Halo 3: ODST. I don't have any particular interest in playing it competitively on-line, so I'm going to review it based on the single-player game.

Anyhow, ODST wasn't a bad game, although there were some infuriating segments. And, for some reason, it gives me a headache to play for more than an hour or so. I don't really hold that against the game, though.

What I do hold against the game is that they got rid of Master Chief only to give you someone even more faceless and banal. It's sort of like when everyone said they hated the Ewoks, so George Lucas came up with Jar Jar Binks.

I do like that they put Mal in the game, I hadn't read up on it much so I wasn't expecting it. It was quite a surprise. He gave some veneer of human touch to the story, although all the characters were well into the uncanny valley.

There are things I miss as Halo advances. I miss the troops actually mattering. I miss being part of a larger effort. I miss being able to kill shit: every episode they give everything more shields and more hit points until, at last, in ODST you simply rely on instant kill methods 90% of the time.

I understand these changes: they have to make the game better for competitive multiplayer mode. All of these adjustments are in the name of multiplayer enhancements, even if they damage the single-player game. Hell, you can't even dual-wield anymore.

Where are my one-player games going? Even Crackdown 2 is "focusing on multiplayer gameplay". Which, as far as I can tell, means crippling most of what made Crackdown fun in exchange for balancing a game I don't want to play. I want to play Crackdown. ODST is a bit similar: the single player game is neutered due to the focus on the multiplayer gameplay. A continuing evolution throughout the series.

I don't mind games that focus on multiplayer modes, but I don't like games I liked for their single-player aspect gutting the single-player aspect to enhance the multiplayer aspect. Grrr.


CrashTranslation said...

ODST has no competitive multiplayer of it's own, the second disc includes all the previously released Halo 3 multiplayer content and some additional maps. The mechanical changes made to ODST are not carried over.

The weapon balance and removal of features such as equipment and dual wielding, were made specifically for the singleplayer and cooperative multiplayer modes.

The idea was to make the player feel less powerful, no longer the ubermensch that the Master Chief is. Even the encounters have been designed so that at least until the very last sections players rarely race the number of foes they would regularly in Halo 3.

I do agree about the bland facelessness of the Rookie. It seems like a missed opportunity after having you play explicitly named characters in all the flashbacks. After everything I'd been through to get there I was expecting Buck to finally use my name when I rejoined him. It felt like I should have earned his respect by that point.

Craig Perko said...

I don't know if that's true, because I can't bring myself to try the competitive multiplayer. If what you say is true, then Bungie just went retarded with no valid reason.

I understand the "reasoning" behind their decisions, and to some extent it worked. But the fact that I killed literally 90% of everything with either an instant-kill move or a turret means it was less a shooter and more of a puzzle game.