ODST: Is it worth the purchase?
I am by no means a hardcore halo fan, but my brother definitely is. So I heard all of the complaints you might expect from those so dedicated to it as changes were implemented in each sequel. The altered magnum meant nothing to me, and dual wielding weapons seemed only to increase the combination of strategies for a sure kill formula. As a whole, I saw each title as an improvement of its predecessor.
Then I played ODST. Through the campaign, all of those complaints I had heard regarding weapons became valid, and I quickly appreciated Bungie's response in ODST. The magnum is at it's finest, and after returning to the conventional multiplayer, dual wielding is a hindrance I'll rarely/never attempt again.
The campaign forces you into the mindset of the stranded ODST to think and act as a spec ops soldier, reinventing halo's gameplay, and removing the run-and-gun arcade style FPS antics of the Master Chief. The story is engaging and well crafted, with stunning visuals unique to ODST. The only questionable element of the campaign is the third person view while operating vehicles. Your perspective is far more removed than in previous titles, which provides an RC racer experience. If anything, I would've liked to see a tighter third person view, keeping you very much in the moment. An eagle eye view of the battlefield is unnecessary to drive a vehicle in any game.
The horde style Firefight MP mode is fantastic with a number of impressive maps which I was interested to see in the conventional MP modes. Unfortunately, this is not an option. Searching for public Firefight lobbies is also not an option, and a nuisance for the casual gamer without a large base of online buddies available for invite to the game.
I understood ODST's second disc to be an expansion of Halo3 online, but was disappointed to find it only provided 3 new maps to the already available multiplayer. I felt somewhat cheated by Bungie's decision to stick with the Halo 3 multiplayer, instead of having the ambition to renovate it, providing an alternative Halo MP experience that utilizes the changes throughout the campaign gameplay. My compensation was the inclusion of all previous Halo 3 DLC.
This is great for those like myself not willing to throw down the extra cash every time a new map pack became available. The campaign is a short, yet solid experience and Firefight is a welcome addition to Halo, with hopes for an update allowing public lobby searches. But for those hardcore Halo fans, the redundancy of the MP provided hardly provides incentive to purchase.