Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 94 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 94
  2. Negative: 1 out of 94
  1. Halo expands focusing on the smallest things, with new gameplay and the same excellence we are used to.
  2. This Halo manages to earn its own keep while learning from its predecessors’ mistakes and balancing fan expectations. It’s no small feat, particularly with that Master Chief guy nowhere in sight.
  3. Thanks to a combination of well-designed levels, a solid story line, addicting multiplayer and top-notch voice acting, Halo 3: ODST presents a package that is even more compelling than its namesake. The game is not only better than Halo 3; it is the best Halo title to date. And, planned or not, Bungie has also managed to create a compelling character in Gunnery Sergeant Buck. He is just as much the hero as Master Chief ever was.
  4. Between the new campaign and Firefight mode, Halo 3: ODST shows that the Halo franchise can have a Spartan-free title that can still rise up to the same level of entertainment that is to be expected from the series.
  5. A fantastic game that reminds us of why Halo was so great in the first place.
  6. If, like me, you’ve found yourself slowly falling out of love with Halo over the years, ODST provides a fresh, exciting experience that rekindles your interest in this seminal sci-fi shooter.
  7. One of the more impressive aspects of Halo 3: ODST is the soundtrack, a symphony of fantastic and epic music that will inspire players to fight their hearts out every minute of the campaign mode. More than once while playing the subtle music ran a chill down our back, reminiscent of something available in only the most intense of films. Overall the title is exactly what we expected it to be, a different look at one of the most beloved franchises on the Xbox 360 console.
  8. While ODST is my personal favorite Halo single-player campaign to date, it is a tad short at only six hours. Luckily, it is still excellent despite its length and has a ton of great multiplayer content to fall back on for replayability and longevity.
  9. 92
    For those of you who own all the Halo 3 content, your still getting a full single player experience, and a great co-op multiplayer add-on. For the rest of us the value is only bigger, for me I got dozens of new maps, Firefight, and the story all of which have so far been a blast to play.
  10. Halo ODST won't be able to win over the ones who never loved the saga. But for its price, it is really a great chapter even trying to innovate under some respects. It may not be perfect, but fans will love it indeed.
  11. Although it would have been interesting to actually use and maneuver yourself while in the Drop Pods, the story is fleshed out and the flashback levels has the warming welcome from Halo that we’ve enjoyed many times before.
  12. Even though you’re not playing the boss man himself, Master Chief, the game does have some “wow” moments that is matched with the traditional sturdy Halo 3 gameplay.
  13. A great side story for the Halo universe, with an eerie atmosphere that's more exciting than the majority of the Halo 3 campaign.
  14. 91
    ODST does suffer for the lack of genuinely new elements it adds to the Halo universe, and the campaign mode is a bit brief. Yet between the enormous scope of New Mombasa, the unique atmosphere, and the brilliance of Firefight mode, I can easily see myself pouring more time into ODST than any other Halo to date.
  15. ODST doesn’t quite take Halo into unfamiliar territory, but it does show how robust and adaptable the core of the game is – and, more importantly, stands on its own two feet as a spin-off that’s better than the vast majority of original games.
  16. Those expecting even Halo 3.5 may feel a little underwhelmed, with 3-II the most relevant numerical comparison, but for anybody who has so much as enjoyed the series in the past, this is an essential purchase.
  17. Those who've already purchased the DLC might look at that £40 price tag with concern, but - make sure you're seated - we reckon its quality, not quantity that matters most here. And ODST has bundles of in both it's superb single-player and sublime online modes.
  18. With ODST, it often feels as if Bungie desperately wanted to create something different, but, for whatever reason, wasn't able to go as far as it wanted. There are obvious influences from other games, most clearly 2K Games' BioShock, and distinct tweaks in the tried and trusted Halo formula, but ODST is still very much a Halo game that fans will instantly find familiar.
  19. Halo 3: ODST is a great game that transcends its label of add-on. The singleplayer is powerful, Firefight is brilliant and the extra disc with the Halo 3 multiplayer is a great bonus. The price tag makes the game a must-buy for every Halo-fanatic and a great entry point for those who are unfamiliar with the series. It remains a point of discussion if the hype around Halo 3 was justified, but with Halo 3: ODST, Bungie deserves every praise it receives.
  20. Overall, taking into account the general atmosphere the game builds for you, the graphics and the excellent soundtrack, as well as looking at level layout, storyline etc. I’d personally (and I’m laying my life on the line here a little) have to say this is the best Halo game yet. Even if it is a bit short.
  21. Short, but fun experience in the Halo universe.
  22. Bungie decided to create a different experience from what you find in other games, both in form and development of the narrative and in terms of gameplay. With a good campaign mode, the main problem with Halo 3: ODST is that its duration is somewhat reduced. However, it is still a great game that will please fans and lovers of FPS. The addition of a second disc with one of the best online modes available can be a decoy for those who have not joined the fight.
  23. Halo 3: ODST is a welcome addition to the world of Halo. With an engaging story, solid visuals, amazing sound, and addictive gameplay, it is much more then the expansion that it was originally supposed to be.
  24. 90
    There are places where Halo 3: ODST could be improved, but when it comes right down to it, every Halo fan should buy this game. Even if you've lost interest in the franchise over the years or haven't ever given a Halo game a look, you'd do well to grab ODST and a few friends for some of the best multiplayer gaming around, especially with as wonderful an addition as Firefight.
  25. An awesome campaign and addictive new Firefight mode make ODST a thrilling new entry in the Halo franchise.
  26. While Halo 3: ODST doesn’t wow you with innovation, breakthrough technology, or terrifically new gameplay, the campaign story is point blank better than Halo 3’s storyline; Firefight is an adrenaline rush so powerful you’ll need six-pack and a backrub just to settle down, and the multiplayer experience is still one of the best on the planet.
  27. . This is a meaty, loud and epic new Halo with a superb new campaign and an awesome co-op multiplayer mode with all the Halo 3 multiplayer shenanigans thrown in for good measure. It may be a little short and it's not a far cry from what Halo fans have seen already. But it's more of the same industry-defining quality you expect from Bungie.
  28. Bungie have done a grand job in expanding the Halo universe here and although the story aspect might not be as rigid as previous games, the execution and presentation is second to none and has been well thought out to capture your imaginations even if you don't immediately gel with the players on the stage as readily.
  29. 90
    Halo 3: ODST has left its humble DLC roots in the dust, and is definitely worth the $60 price-tag. It probably won't win over any new fans to the Halo franchise, but it provides an invigoratingly fresh experience and plenty of fan service for those that have lived and loved the series for years.
  30. Halo 3: ODST is an excellent add-on campaign for Halo 3, and one which all Halo fans should own.
  31. Whether you're looking to go it alone, check out Halo 3's full suite of multiplayer options, or just see how long you and your buddies can keep the Grim Reaper at bay in Firefight, ODST has something for everyone.
  32. 90
    Most importantly though, it appears that Bungie are learning how to write and present an excellent single-player story to match the multiplayer prowess of Halo.
  33. ODST is a nice surprise. Leaving alone the extra-value added by a new game mode and 3 new maps for the multiplayer experience, the main campaign is involving, and remains one of the best stories of the franchise.
  34. 90
    In my opinion, Halo 3: ODST is the best Halo game yet. The campaign is shorter than in previous games, but the quality makes for a punchier, action-packed thrill ride from start to finish.
  35. Disappointing only because of how high it sets the bar in its early stages. [Dec 2009, p.74]
  36. Halo 3: ODST may not re-invent the franchise, but it's a stylishly delivered splinter of the Haloverse that's worth experiencing. It has everything a fan could hope for, and even more for the devoted multiplayer enthusiast.
  37. Still controls like a dream, I credit the franchise for bringing decent controls for a FPS to the consoles.
  38. Another superb Bungie shooter, but it doesn't improve on the existing formula enough. [Dec 2009, p.80]
  39. People might enjoy this game more if they stop overhyping it. ODST is a great game that is NOT meant to be a sequel but at the end of the day will still be judged as one.
  40. Not only an add-on! This is better than many of the main games! Next to the single player, you also get a great multiplayer mode. You just cannot do wrong if you buy this game!
  41. Halo 3: ODST maintains all the features that made we love Halo 3, bringing us a very good plot even if without introducing great gameplay or technical news. What we obtain is a highly enthralling experience that won't displease all the series lovers. We particularly liked the Firefight mode , which allows us to play with our friends without having to dive into the ultra-testosteronic Halo 3 multiplayer arena. The 49,99 Euros price is just right for the kind of content offered, so it's surely an advised buy.
  42. Halo 3 ODST offers up everything you'd expect from a Halo game. Fast paced action, a decent story, and a great multiplayer experience.
  43. There are several things that make Halo 3: ODST a winning combination. The story presentation and characterization clearly evolved beyond what we're used to witnessing in prior Halo games.
  44. 86
    When it delivers, it does so with an excellence unmatched within the genre. Ultimately though, it fails to build upon the framework of Halo 3 in a way meaningful enough to put it on par with Bungie’s previous efforts, resulting in a game that’s merely great.
  45. Far more than a simple expansion, Halo 3: ODST offers an intense gaming experience, and an unusual one too for a Halo game, with a well-balanced switch between action, exploration and strategy, where the player is always the main character.
  46. Halo 3: ODST brings enough to the table to make it easy to recommend to anyone, including people who have purchased Halo 3. Oh, and the inclusion of a Halo: Reach beta code is pretty sweet too.
  47. The bottom line here is that this is a nice little piece of Halo, and that anyone who has ever enjoyed Halo will probably enjoy this too. The only question is how much it is worth to you. As a full priced stand-alone game, its value is somewhat dubious.
  48. 85
    Despite initial concerns about the price tag, Halo 3: ODST offers up a surprising glut of content for your money. Bungie aren't making a concentrated effort to reinvent the formula they've so successfully championed, and for that reason they're likely to come across their fair share of detractors. Halo 3: ODST is never going to be considered game of the year, but Firefight in particular will likely be played for a long time to come.
  49. On one hand, Halo 3: ODST is a no-brainer purchase for fans, thanks to the new story and the addictive Firefight mode. It’s a classically fun Halo experience but on the other hand, if you’re looking for something truly different or innovative, you won’t find it here.
  50. A great game. Some annoying shortcomings keep it from being a leap from the series, but it definitely stands on its own as a great addition to the Halo franchise.
  51. After 18 months, have developers Bungie managed to create a title that can live up to the expectations of millions of Halo 3 fans, as well as carve out its own legacy? Quite possibly, but it's not all smooth sailing for Microsoft's darling.
  52. Halo 3 was Epic, and Halo 3: ODST is some kind of its personal face. Solid and low-priced action game that surely will satisfy every Halo fan.
  53. The multiplayer title brings the best of both the campaign apparently keeping 4 players in Halo 3-although it arguably is a kick in the crotch to the original script.
  54. The main flaw of Halo 3: ODST is a lack of courage. Because with ODST Bungie could have tried to break away from the main saga, to give the ODST greater dignity and recognition. Although, it's still a very good game, full of spectacular moments and fun to play with a multiplayer segment of exception.
  55. You have a good expansion that at times feels odd, but delivers satisfaction. It sticks to the familiar formula but keeps things fresh as necessary. And while it won’t be the highlight of Fall ’09 action shooters, it’s a solid selection.
  56. Bungie’s latest storytelling method in ODST is certainly unique and captivates the imagination from beginning to end, but the problem is, just when you really start to get going, the experience ends. The single player campaign is far too short and can barely push 7 hours on the hardest difficulty, but there is plenty of replayability within the game’s new Horde, I mean, Firefight mode.
  57. All in all, ODST is a solid addition to the Halo franchise.
  58. It's the shadow cast by Halo 3 itself, and its contemporaries then and since, that proves slightly too long and broad for Bungie's valiant efforts of the past 18 months to escape, because no matter the quality of what's on offer, they can't reasonably make the same demand of your wallet, and yet they still do.
  59. Still it’s a good solid package but don’t be expecting anything too new.
  60. Halo: ODST is very much a traditional Halo game at heart but distinguishes itself from the second and third games in the series by having much more personality and a more engaging campaign.
  61. ODST covers a lot of familiar territory. Only two new weapons appear, and a majority of the missions feel similar to ones from previous Halos. Because of this, the game doesn't feel nearly as epic, but it still provides several hours of Covenant stomping fun.
  62. Halo 3: ODST is, as a single player experience, a very short one at roughly five to six hours for the main campaign. The structure of said campaign would benefit from focusing more on the action oriented parts, which are great, instead of shoehorning stealth elements into the mix. As per usual the campaign does grow when experienced with up to three friends in four player co-op, and the same goes for the multiplayer co-op mode Firefight. Add to this a second disc with the complete Halo 3 multiplayer experience and you've got a delectable smorgasbord of Halo treats.
  63. Halo 3 ODST may feel a little thin in may places, and some of the bonus material may seem a little like padding, but there's more than enough here to recommend it to Halo and FPS fans alike.
  64. A good campaign, tons of multiplayer content, access to the Halo: Reach beta and, what's more important, no sights of the Flood.
  65. The campaign is as short as it is entertaining, and as usual, the online-component is here to save the day again. Firefight is simply the most fun you can have with any Halo-game, period. Other than that, this package, stuffed with maps from previous DLC-packs, is still pretty expensive for its length in the campaign.
  66. Overall a welcome new angle on the Halo universe.
  67. Overall, Firefight is a blast and one of the most refreshing experiences with a Halo game in a long time. Firefight is almost worth the purchase of Halo 3: ODST on its own. It encourages teamwork and it’s a feature that games need more of in this day and age.
  68. 80
    Even with its superb gameplay and the addictive new Firefight co-op mode, a five-hour campaign is a paltry amount of content for a full-priced game. If you’re flush with cash or a mad-keen Halo devotee then ODST’s definitely worth picking up, but others might want to save their money for something else.
  69. Firefight mode, in particular, more than justifies the $60 price point, providing some of the best multi-player thrills of the generation. It might not win any Game of the Year awards, but Halo 3: ODST is a fine game in its own right, and the single-player campaign should hold over fans for Halo Reach releases at some point next year.
  70. There’s no doubt in my mind that Halo 3: ODST is a good action game. Unfortunately, for many gamers, the price tag will be an issue and will play a huge role into the decision of buying, rent it or get it later when its price drops. Add to the fact that Firefight isn’t supported by a matchmaking system, the offering of a standalone disc that contains the multiplayer mode of a game that millions of folks already own (minus three maps) and that re-uses most of what we’ve seen in Halo 3, Microsoft and Bungie have put a small cloud on their cherished franchise that I hope it will never show up again.
  71. 80
    Halo 3: ODST is by no means a flawless game. It provides little in the way of surprises with only minor changes to enemies and arsenals.
  72. 80
    The story is more interesting and coherent than Halo's narrative has ever been, and the environments make the game feel slightly different at times, in an exciting, challenging way. That said, I wish Bungie had taken it even further; playing as the titular ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, essentially the Halo universe's version of a special forces unit) made me feel like they missed some opportunities.
  73. Halo 3: ODST fills in a few interesting spots in the Halo timeline, even if the characters themselves aren't strong enough to carry the narrative. But it strikes a healthy balance between new twists and more content done in Bungie's trademark style. The more important thing is that if you've enjoyed playing Bungie's Halo games in the past, chances are you'll continue to enjoy that style in ODST.
  74. 75
    A well done story, large set pieces and a new co-op mode are great, but aren't enough to make Halo 3: ODST as different as it was supposed to be.
  75. We like Halo 3: ODST and welcome the injection of personality brought to the narrative by your lost crew - especially Firefly actor Nathan Fillion as Buck - but it doesn’t quite manage to live up to our lofty expectations of what a Halo title should offer.
  76. The positive side of this game predominated, but this is still a replay mission of Halo 3, despite of the typical Halo gameplay and the new great Firefight mode. ODST is a midday snack compared to Halo 3, which has much more epic moments. It just misses an interesting story, new graphics and the game should have been longer. We hope to give Bungie something to think about with our grade while creating Halo: Reach.
  77. 75
    ODST is a fun Halo game, but clearly an expansion and not a completely new game. There are some new possibilities, due to the small gameplay changes, and the multiplayer will keep you coming back for a long time.
  78. ODST is an excellent in everything that it does; it just doesn't do enough. It feels more like an expansion than a full title.
  79. Though the core design was focused on the fans, Halo 3: ODST has enough in it for both veterans and newcomers alike.
  80. To consider buying ODST, particularly for full RRP, will feel more or less like value for money depending on whether you already own the multiplayer from Halo 3 and the various expansion packs. If you don’t then the 24 maps, including three new ones and plenty of game modes offers potentially months of gameplay, and value. If it’s just the campaign mode and Firefight multiplayer you’ll be buying for the cash, which I suspect will be a lot of people, then maybe not so much.
  81. In the absence of a compelling plot to compensate for the muted thrills, ODST's claim to 'must-buy' status looks very shaky. [Nov 2009, p.102]
  82. In many ways, Halo 3: ODST marks a bold departure from the franchise formula, with story, characters, atmosphere and multiplayer that are refreshingly, surprisingly different. Due to a short campaign and overly familiar gameplay, however, it fails to escape the “expansion pack” label.
  83. Not much new in single-player part but atmosphere and narration make ODST more the worth trying. Now you can try to survive in a harsh world as an ordinary soldier not as a superhuman. [Oct 2009]
  84. Bungie plays it safe with a side story that seems designed to expand little but Microsoft's wallet.
  85. While there is a lot to be proud of scattered throughout the double-disc set, a hub system that drags the main game's action to a halt and some unnecessary inclusions detract from an entire package with an unjustified MSRP.
  86. When ODST impresses, such as during moments when massive things go boom in the distance, it certainly gives your heart a bit of a jump, but then it yanks all hope of an epic experience away and quickly returns to the rut of re-used assets and recycled gameplay ideas.
  87. It's hard to justify it as a full release due to its repeating material and its short length. [Issue#51, p.76]
  88. It’s not a broken game, it’s just not a very original one. Feels like more of an expansion than a standalone title.
  89. Thinking about ODST as the must buy for the player who plays alone is totally wrong. And even if the scenario changes playing with your friends, thinking about GTA: Lost and Damned as a full game released at 1800 MP should let everyone think about buying it at full price.
  90. New Mombasa's burning skyscrapers, neon signs and omnipresent, almost palpable curls of smoke add a sense of style and depth to the visuals. Somber piano and unexpected saxophone solos feel like this is not science fiction, but a film noir. Unfortunately, as soon as we jump into a flashback, the magic is gone. The levels withered by the African sun are a parade of the old flaws. As this short, 6-7 hours tops, draws to its end, Bungie resorts to its old tricks – unhealthy gigantism and “copy/paste” - more often.
  91. The gameplay ideas don’t match up to the narrative playfulness. ODST was originally conceived as a minor side project, and it never feels like anything else.
  92. The core gameplay of ODST is decidedly average - as such it earns a decidedly average score.
  93. Ultimately Halo 3: ODST’s campaign is a big disappointment while it introduces some great multiplayer features.
User Score
7.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 963 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 235
  1. Mar 1, 2011
    4
    One of the biggest disappointments I've ever had to suffer. I'm a long time Halo fan, and while I don't exactly love Bungie, I trusted them to deliver a great experience. I'd already given up hope for a great campaign since Halo 2, and all I really cared about was playing survival Halo. I was initially taken aback that a game Bungie themselves had dubbed an "expansion to Halo 3", with an estimated price for $40 was now being marketed as a full game (thankfully Amazon gave me $10 back soon afterwards). Loading up into the campaign, I was almost immediately struck at how.. well.. bad it was. The cutscene animations are laughably poor, and the characters are all bland stereotypes. The storytelling was rather annoying, as between levels you'd have to "explore" an extremely repetitive New Mombasa while fighting outposts of Brutes (more like driving past them with a ghost you steal) and then searching for 10 minutes to find the next "clue". Somehow this piece of garbage reveals an extremely complicated story to your "rookie". Honestly, this is probably the worst Halo campaign in existence. Besides that, two things stuck out to me:
    1. Where in the hell are the elites? I personally hate fighting brutes; they're dumb, slow, and boring. Obviously since this game takes place about 2 seconds after the Master Chief fights with about a MILLION elites, you'd think there would be.. I don't know.. some elites left over. Well you'd be wrong. I'm not sure what the canon explanation is, but basically the H3 engine didn't have enemy AI coded into the elite characters, so we're stuck fighting Halo 3 elites before they even existed.
    2. You're supposed to feel different. You're supposed to feel like a smaller soldier, without super shields, who can't take on 50 brutes by himself. You don't. You still feel like a spartan, but you can see your hands this time. You still run and gun as you kill dozens of grunts and elites with superior firepower to your own. Yeah, you have to find healthpacks from time to time. Big woop. You definitely do NOT feel like a small fragile soldier, and there is no more strategy than previous Halo games offer.

    On to firefight.. boy what a disappointment. There is no defense strategy, there is no teamwork involved. Playing with 4 friends, we just got into a game and found the best strategy was to run our separate ways and kill as many enemies as possible. What makes this incoherent mess even worse is that you're forced to deal with these stupid skulls that turn on after a couple waves. These skulls force you to melee enemies to regain shields, to constantly dodge enemy grenades while yours are rendered ineffective, to deal with a terribly low supply of ammo. Do any of these things sound fun to you? They sure aren't. I knew they would offer the skulls for those looking for additional challenge, but to force them on you? Ridiculous. It ends up playing like a 4-player co-op campaign, except there's only one tiny level, and there's no story... and it's not even remotely fun.

    Some people loved the "storytelling" and "style" of this game, but ultimately, as a Halo fan, it was a huge disappointment. I played ODST for about a week before stopping altogether. Do I regret buying it? Not entirely. For one, I now have all the H3 maps on a single disk and my HDD has much more space. Two, I was able to complete the achievements towards getting Recon armor in H3. And finally, I was able to participate in the Reach beta. All that aside, I found this game terrible. I'm a HUGE Halo CE to Halo Reach fan, and I found this game TERRIBLE. Take from this what you will.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 27, 2011
    9
    Not the best Halo but at least like a lost episode , very nice. Actually it added cool features the game, just like the DLC and the firefight mode apart from the short campaign . The campaign was nice, playing as an a ODST felt like a challenge against the covenants and that was a great feature in difference about Master chief that is (obviously) a spartan (easy) . A little disappointed in the campaign , I mean it needed the battle rifle, and mostly in all the level you used the silenced m7s , the levels vastly appeared the assault rifle and come on the protagonist never talked it just felt like another master chief only human. But anyway is full entertaining and you get a good use for your money . Full Review »
  3. Apr 22, 2011
    6
    Halo 3 ODST is a decent game on it's own, but with the full Halo 3 multi-player experience packaged with it, it makes this an awesome deal. The campaign is interesting, with varied locations and classic Halo battles with the Covenant; although you don't play as Master Cheif, it doesn't detract from the experience. Firefight is a good addition, but the ability to go on Xbox LIVE would have made it much more interesting. Nonetheless, it is fun whether you go it alone or with some friends. Full Review »