> 1. You’re not playing an augmented super soldier that “has become ridiculously powerful” (quote from Joseph Staten in an ODST vidoc) but basically a normal human being.
Where you feel like a spartan junior. Seriously, the playstyle was the same.
> 2. No Flood. The Flood are essential to the (first) trilogy, and I really think they are a far more interesting and fascinating enemy than the Covenant. But it became rather boring having to fight them after you did so already in three games.
How is that an advantage over Halo CE? I can understand not wanting to see them again, but they were fresh in the first game. It BECAME boring, but it wasn’t back in the day.
> 3. ODST finally succeeds at capturing the mood all Halo games ought to have. It’s depressing, scary, dark and gloomy, and threatening. That’s exactly the mood a game ought to have in which you’re fighting a losing war against a technologically superior alliance of aliens hell-bent on wiping out mankind.
It’s the mood Halo 3 and the beginning of Halo 2 should have. But for Halo CE, it’s something that’s hard to feel the need since you’re so far from the actual war. The feel of mystery, unknown and adventure is far more fitting for the original. The dark and gloom fits ODST, but as the mystery and adventure fits Halo CE. Also, how can you feel that mood of depression and all when you’re playing as a super-soldier fighting alone on alien worlds? To feel that atmosphere, you need to see the destruction and allies, people suffering.
> 4. On the same note, at least the looks of New Mombasa also captured that mood perfectly. You’re running (or sneaking) through a dark, abandoned city occupied by Covenant forces where you can and have to pick your fights, and not waltzing through bright and colorful environments, killing Covies left and right like you did for the most part in H:CE, H2, and H3.
How is that an advantage over past Halo games? That’s preferences here. In past Halo games, you were a super-soldier fighting through alien worlds.
> 5. The transitions from playing the Rookie to another squad member and back again are done quite smoothly. Far more smoothly than the transitions from Master Chief to the Arbiter and back again in H2. Playing as multiple characters also added a lot to the fun of ODST.
I don’t see how the transitions were far smoothier. Smoothier yes, but not by that much. Anyway, playing between the Chief and Arbiter felt much more different than playing between any of these interchangeable ODST. The Arbiter played the same, but you played among the Covenant doing Covenant objectives, the feel was much more different, and I fail to see how the Arbiter bit of Halo 2 has to be jealous over any Halo game. I prefer the Halo CE mood, but it’s as strong there. Anyway, other Halo games don’t have transitions problems, it’s always going to be smoother when there are none, so it’s not exactly a strong advantage for ODST here.
> 6. You can finally do some exploring (even though only in New Mombasa) and actually get something that’s worthwhile. Not only do you get to experience another person’s fate that has nothing to do with the UNSC, i.e. Sadie’s, but you also unlock weapon/supply caches that way.
And there isn’t much more to do than fight enemies or ignore them. But that’s a step in the right direction. Sure the additional story was interesting (although I think it’s overrated, wasn’t that great), but those broke the pace of the campaign. It’s more things to go back and explore New Mombasa (which you need to do through and through to get the whole story) than an integral part of the campaign. At least that’s how I see it considering it’s harmful to the campaign experience.
> 7. ODST manages to provide more character development - and for multiple characters, no less - than the whole trilogy provided for Master Chief.
Well, I think the Halo trilogy storyline goes beyond the Chief’s character. It’s not like he’s the last hope and needs to save the galaxy. I mean, I don’t think you should expect much character development from a man who was bred as a killing machine who’s constantly all over the place to save the day. The ODSTs are more human and act on a much smaller scale, so it’s much more normal. And frankly, how can anyone say they were good characters? They were archetypes of Hollywood war movies, it’s like I saw each of them countless of times in more interesting fashions. They were boring and… well, I don’t see how you can point out character development considering how limited it was. Do you count dialogues as character development? Except maybe for Dare and the dude, the squad wasn’t much better than the Chief. Hell, the Arbiter is the character who got the most character development of the whole franchise.
> 8. Unlike in Reach, your NPC allies actually are useful. For example, give Mickey a rocket launcher when playing through the ONI level and he’ll single-handedly kill more Covies during that one level than Carter, Kat, Emile, Jun, and Jorge combined during the whole Reach campaign.
Reach isn’t exactly the best example, EVERY other Halo game has much better ally AI…
> 9. The final stand-off in ODST at the end of the highway felt more epic than the battle at the landing pads in Reach, even though you it was easier and you had to fight far less enemies.
And every major fight in Halo CE was more epic. And let’s not even talk of the scarab fights of Halo 3.