The Tragedy of Halo 3: ODST | Game Maker's Toolkit

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Halo 3: ODST was a bold move for Bungie. A non-linear and open world Halo game, with a melancholic vibe and without Master Chief. In some ways it was wonderfully clever, in other ways it fell on its face. Let’s explore the highs and lows of this forgotten game.

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Sources

The Making of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past | Shmuplations

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance)

Halo 3 (Bungie, 2007)
Halo 3: ODST (Bungie, 2009)
Gone Home (Fulbright, 2013)
The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo, 1986)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Nintendo, 1991)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal, 2016)
Her Story (Sam Barlow, 2015)
Mega Man 11 (Capcom, 2018)
Resident Evil 4 (Capcom Production Studio 4, 2005)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Naughty Dog, 2017)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Konami, 2004)
Metal Gear Solid (Konami, 1998)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Studios, 2018)
Mass Effect (Bioware, 2007)
Dead Space (Visceral Games, 2008)
Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries, 2015)

Music used in this episode

Halo 3 soundtrack – Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Halo 3: ODST soundtrack – Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack – Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata, and Hajime Wakai

Other credits

Ocelot Time Paradox Metal Gear Solid 3 HD | Louie Vanderhyde

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32 COMMENTS

  1. I think the flashback issue may have at the very least been a bit more manageable with a restructuring of the city map. You noted it was broken into blocked off hexagonal pieces so why not do something like have the map bloom out from mission points. If say on Dutch's mission you switched to the ghost, position the crash to be in the area that would be locked before the mission was complete so that the map fills out with the context sensitive factors that come into play over the course of the mission. From there maybe have the unlocked sections of the map fill out in a way that following them will drop you back on a sort of main path or central area where the story quests could be found as though weaving around the mission hub. The city could grow more complex and interwoven as you do missions and open more of the city up so that you can get familiar without being overwhelmed and you would avoid putting in any paradoxical visual flavor into the world.

  2. 7:30 I actually prefer New Mombasa not being as open to exploration. When I play through Halo 3 ODST I always get a sense of anxiety, almost paranoia, wandering the dark streets. To me, thats a big part of the immersion of the game, its dark, I’m alone, they’re strong enemies around, I don’t have a steady supply of ammo. I get to feel like an actual ODST.

  3. ODST remains one of my fav Halo games because of how different and ahead of its time it really was. I’m glad that, despite its glaring flaws, you saw the stroke of genius in this game that I did.

  4. The ironic aspect of Halo 3 ODST is that you aren't meant to be in the shoes of a super-soldier, but a highly trained and specialized marine. And yet, the ODST player can take on more damage before dying than a Spartan.

  5. I love ODST, it's whole atmosphere and story telling through visuals and the rookies deduction work is so perfect.

  6. The beauty of ODST to me came in playing on Legendary. The desperation you feel trying to fight through a patrol of Brutes in New Mombasa with weapons that do next to nothing and a health bar that gets dropped in an instant is so motivating. Combine that with what I consider to be Marty O'Donnell's best Halo score and the atmosphere is incredible.

  7. Man, I miss this era of Bungie. This was really the height of Halo storytelling for me, and it fit in well with the ilovebees ARG that was going on around the same time. For a game about ancient aliens and explosions, they really invested a lot of energy in making that world real.

    I personally disagree that New Mombasa wasn't calling out to be explored, but it is true that a player would have to find their own level of investment there. This is a dedicated FPS, after all, not an RPG or an Ubisoft theme park. There's no incremental upgrade system to push exploration, so it needs to be more self-motivated than usual.

    The waypoint markers were the one major misstep in that regard, though I'm guessing they would've caught flak for not including them.

  8. One of the things I felt they messed up was the clues.

    Things like a detonator leading to a flashback of a demolition experts seems ridiculous writing wise. The UNSC probably has a million of those. Romeo's broken sniper rifle could have been anyone's.

    By contrast, I remember how intrigued I was when I saw Dare's shattered helmet smashed into a TV.

    An easy solution I'm surprised nobody at Bungie thought of, would be to give each character unique/recognizable items which would end up being the clues.

    Imagine if Romeo's sniper rifle had a distinct painted scope. Or if Mickey/Jayne carried a distinct medic bag which was dropped at Kikowani station.

    Simple stuff like that wouldn't have required significantly more development time and in my opinion made a huge difference on the impact of finding "clues". Which almost all had no significance to the player until after the flashback mission.

  9. I love the first ODST. The city you roam around in has a cyberpunk feel and the soundtrack is my favorite of the series. I found myself just walking around with no desire to proceed in the narrative because I was enthralled with the atmosphere. I am also especially fond the cities AI and it's back story with the girl. That game doesn't get enough love.

  10. Halo 3: ODST is the best Halo game to day, and with a soundtrack on par with CE and Reach. You cannot change my mind.

  11. I would say that the Japanese word for “screwy” would be 変(hen) or おかしい(okashii). They are both general words that mean what you’re asking about. Although, it could be different depending on the context of the sentence. Hope that helps.

  12. Great video, great Halo title! I'm playing through the entire saga with the Master Chief Collection and just finished ODST.

  13. I absolutely loved EVERY second of this games campaign. I was easily frightened back then so the dark atmosphere during the night portions made me feel as though every bullet mattered. As a kid I was refusing to go for the visible sliver under the Legolo worm hunters chin and instead opted for trying to distract him with a far off shot against an explosive barrel behind him in the distance with a cheap firearm ammo. I also refused to drop the suppressed pistol because it was too satisfying to shoot. the moments like that on heroic difficulty left a truly great impression on me. Of all the halos I put this one at the top regardless of what others say. 10/10 would play again ❤️

  14. Halo 3 was my introduction to the series so I have the fondest memories of it out of all the HALO games but ODST was awesome. The environment has a near perfect atmosphere. The gameplay was an excellent balance of power fantasy and difficulty. ODST is the member of the HALO franchise that I regularly play on any above normal difficulty. It also the only one I have a Legendary completion for largely because legendary on ODST seemed like the only one that made legendary a matter of skill not simply player damage reduction and enemy health scaling.

    The franchise fell of a cliff with Reach from both a story and gameplay perspective. It crashed at the bottom for Halo 5.

  15. Halo ODST will always be one of my favourite games. While halo 3 and reach will always bring me back to play more, theres still something about ODST where I can always just sit back and enjoy it and the feelings of playing the game will remain long afterwards. Hearing the sound track of exploring an abandoned new Mombasa will still give me chills to this day.

  16. One thing I disliked about BotW was the fact all the story is in flashbacks compared to being able to play through them like in ODST. I feel like a side character in Zelda sometimes

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