Halo 3: ODST has shipped for the Xbox 360, marking for the first time since the Earth was flat a time when Bungie has released a non-XBLA game that hasn’t featured Master Chief or Cortana. But don’t think for a minute that this means Bungie is done with the series.
In addition to Halo 3: ODST shipping for Microsoft’s big green machine, the big news here is that everyone who purchases Halo 3: ODST (and our bet is “just about every Xbox 360 owner”) will be given an unlock key/code for entry into the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta. That Halo: Reach multiplayer beta will hit at a later date, presumably when more is known about the game other than its name and its likely setting on the fallen planet of Reach.
Although it doesn’t feature Master Chief, Halo 3: ODST still retains a super-soldier vibe by dropping players into the boots of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, some of the toughest and bravest soldiers of the UNSC. Players must search for clues to find out what happened to their squad when a drop into the city of New Mombosa goes wrong, and discover the secret behind the Covenant’s interest in the city.
In addition to this story-driven campaign, Halo 3: ODST includes a multiplayer component that’s driven by a new mode called Firefight, in which up to four players battle as a team against waves of unrelenting Covenant. Yep, it’s just like the similar Gears of War 2 mode — and every other arena multiplayer mode ever released for a video game. ODST also introduces three new Halo 3 multiplayer maps, and it contains the complete Halo 3 multiplayer experience on a second disc.