Month in Review! September 2009

by Josh Burkhead

Play on playa!  We're gearing up for a busy Fall season already but there's been a lot of action in September.  If you're like me it's too damn easy to get busy with things and overlook some great releases and updates involving your precious white box.  Or in some of your creative cases chrome, or ODST box.

Speaking of, for those of you that picked up ODST this month (even you, grandma) how are you liking it thus far?  Most of the reviews I'm reading are positive, while a select few in the community are considering it the lone ginger standing in the corner of the playground forced to kick stones in a circle and make friends with the ants.  Seriously.  It can't be that awful can it?  NO spoilers ahead...

I completed the campaign within two days of picking up ODST.  For days I had mixed feelings about it.  On one hand it's a very solid shooter.  On the other hand the campaign felt shallow and the storyline was weak at best.  Of course coming from Halo 3 it had a lot of familiar elements carried over from it's source.  But were they the right ones? I was going back and forth.  People at work were asking "Oh you had to get ODST right?  How are you liking it?"  I'd answer the question as best I could and it sounded like I was either confused, crazy, or both.  I found myself nearly arguing with my own statements as soon as they'd come out, and I'm not even running for president, yet.

To better find my own position on the game I kept asking myself one question:  "Is this game worth 60 bucks?"  Well, yes and no.  Consider these few questions:

1. Are you the die hard fanboy that must know everything there is about everything?
2. Do I play more Halo 3 multiplayer than campaign?
3. Would I expect a new experience or simply a different experience?

Chances are if you already answered "yes" to the first question you already purchased ODST and finished the campaign before I did.  So let's skip to the others shall we?

One of the inclusions with ODST is a second disc that contains all the multiplayer maps released for Halo 3.  So let's break that down real quick.  The first disc contains the ODST campaign and the "all-new" firefight mode.  Both obviously fall within the ODST realm of gameplay including the different weapons, characters, and health system among other things.  The second disc is strictly Halo 3 multiplayer (a HUGE amount of content) which now falls within the H3 playbook that we've all been through and most agree, it just works.

If the H3 multiplayer is a huge deal to you then the chances are good that you've already purchased all the map packs available on Marketplace before ODST was released.  Roughly, that's a $30.00 value.  So let's review that, if you're huge into Halo 3 multiplayer then most likely you already have $30.00 of content that's included with ODST that is being sold for $60.00.

You've just paid twice for the same content.  You can choose to live with that, but I have a tough time justifying an 8 hour campaign, one multiplayer mode, and content you've already purchased for $60.00.  And that campaign?  I'll get to that in a second, I promise.

If you know someone who's never played Halo 3, or maybe they did play it and didn't buy it yet, they won't buy this.  However, if they're new to gaming a $60.00 price tag is fair. 

So, what's up with this ODST campaign?  Some people were expecting similar weapons and a similar feel to what was in Halo 3, and those will be sorely disappointed.  For most of us we knew what to expect, but for me I felt like the series took a step backward.  I didn't feel like the gameplay truly advanced beyond what we've already seen done before.  If Bungie wanted us to drop into an experience that made us feel less than a super spartan, they did a great job of that.  Granted, it's a different experience.  But I don't feel like it advanced the series in any major way.  Certainly a disappointment for me.

I think I've found my opinion on this one.  I wouldn't pay 60 dollars for ODST.  But would I pay 30 dollars for an 8 hour campaign, firefight, and a new piece to the Halo story line?  Absolutely.  I just think 60 bucks is too much to ask for someone who's already been on a few frontlines of the war, expecting a new experience rather than just a different one.

Other than ODST, what else dropped this month?

Guitar Hero 5
Section 8
Capcom Platinum Hits Triple Pack
Colin McRae: DiRT 2
Mini Ninjas
Raiden IV
The Beatles: Rock Band
Cabela's Outdoor Adventures
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
NHL 10
NHL 2K10
Need for Speed: Shift
Tornado Outbreak
Zephyr: Rise of the Elementals
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection
Black College Football: The Xperience
Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2010
Bass Pro Shops: The Strike

Xbox Live Arcade Releases:
Ion Assault
The Warriors: STreet Brawl
Zombie Apocalypse
Bubble Bobble Neo!
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Commander's Challenge
Sonic & Knuckles
Yo-Ho Kablammo
Defense Grid: The Awakening

Like I said before, it was a huge month and we saw some really solid releases in September.  ODST was a huge part of it.  Next month I'll discuss some of the news that you may have missed throughout the coming month.  October will certainly be busy so keep up if you can. If not, I'm here for you. 

See you next month!


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