The Halo games have changed quite a bit over the past few years, and not always for the better. One could even argue that the series started going downhill right after Halo 3. I disagree. Without getting into it, the Halo series entered its prime with Halo 3 and only started declining with Halo 4 (it then took a drastic dive with Halo 5, but I digress). With a very successful Halo 3 already in gamer’s hands, Bungie was in a place where they could explore the Halo universe in ways they never could before, and they made sure to take that opportunity and run with it.Halo 3: ODST was the first of only two Halo side-stories primarily developed by Bungie. The second was Halo: Reach, which we discussed last week. While it still featured much of the same gameplay feel that characterized Bungie-era Halo, ODST was a very different animal in terms of tone. Bungie wanted to make this clear from the very beginning, so they released a short teaser about a year before the game’s release.
(Video by YouTube user: Gamehelper)
In ODST, the player steps into the shoes of “The Rookie,” the new guy on a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. They’re not a SPARTAN. They’re just the elite of the normal human troopers. As promised in the above trailer, something goes wrong and the Rookie finds themselves alone in a dark and rainy city surrounded by hostile aliens. They have to be quiet and stealthy if they’re going to survive, regroup with the rest of the team, and complete their mission.
Much of the game is spent alone in this occupied city known as New Mombasa. It was once a thriving city on par with New York or Tokyo on Halo’s version of Earth, but now it’s been entirely evactuated by humanity and fully under Covenant control. Its desperate and somber situation, something the game’s main theme make’s certain to get across.
(Video by YouTube user: jesskamo)
Humanity as a whole is in a sorry situation during the events of Halo 3: ODST, and this theme really helps you feel it. There are plenty of heroic moments that the player takes part in, but none of them are able to do much to change the situation. Thus it always comes back to wandering around in that rainy, abandoned city in the night. It’s a sad and lonely place to be in, a very far cry from the chaotic battlefields of every other Halo game. Without ODST, I don’t think anyone would think that a Halo game could pull-off a more quiet and subdued feel. With ODST though, we know that it can. It’s just a matter of having both the necessary vision and a musical track that can convince the player that they’re not in the usual Halo situation.
What do you think of Halo 3: ODST and “Rain?” Know any other series spin-offs that were helped out by their soundtracks?