I’ve always been critical of Bungie’s shameless attempts to artificially lengthen their games by putting either ridiculously repetitive (The Library) or go one way, come back again (1/2 of all Halo games) levels. I feel that these levels have always been a cheap tactic to make the games feel longer or to inflate the time needed to complete the game. For the most part, however, these sections at least provided some sort of enemy resistance…until now.
In Halo 3: ODST there is a hub world between levels. You’re out on the streets of New Mombasa and you’re looking for your squad mates, intel, and a way to get to the next level. These sections are incredibly long, rarely provide any action at all, and are repetitive to the point where you consider quitting every time you’re forced to play through them. In co-op mode this is particularly painful as you and three friends are removed from the game’s action to wander around a lifeless zone. Let’s call it like it is, this section is purely to expand the length of the game and stretch out the total time needed to complete the game. When Microsoft decided that Bungie needed to turn ODST into a full retail package, this was their way of justifying the length of the game. You might have a few diehards who don’t mind humping every inch of the hub to find audio drops and such, but for those that just want to move the story along or stay in the action, nothing could be more painful than this hub area.
Yeah, I gave Microsoft my $60, but now I’m feeling a little gypped. It seems to me that this really would have been an excellent value at $30 with a shorter overall experience. I would have urged everybody to get it at that price, but now I just feel like I would have been better off renting the thing. It’s a very fun game when you’re in the action, but the hub areas just bring everything to a screeching halt a little too often.
“Tighten up those boot straps, it’s a long walk, team.”
If you’re not interested in ODST, but you do want to know what the hub world is like, I have a suggestion for you. Call up a few friends that all live about 2-3 miles from each other. Have each friend get something you love and put it inside their house. Step out your front door and walk (no running!) to friend #1’s house. Enjoy the object they laid out for you, and then walk (again, no running!) to the next friend’s house. Keep doing this until the walking between each house feels like the worst thing ever. You did it, you now understand the New Mombasa street sections of Halo 3: ODST.
And don’t get me started on that ridiculous VISR…