From Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo Infinite, Xbox’s biggest franchise has been defined by battle rifles, explosions, and murdering Elites. Yet in 2009, Bungie delivered a more somber FPS experience with Halo 3: ODST. And, for producer Jessie Earl, Halo 3: ODST is far and away the best campaign in the entire Halo franchise.
Yes, better than Halo 2, Halo Reach, or especially Halo 5: Guardians.
Halo 3 ODST is the game that should not be. Not only is ODST a complete tonal shift for the franchise, focusing on a more somber, small stakes story, it was also created out of the ashes of a completely different Halo project and made in basically a single year. This game should be a complete mess.
Yet, instead Bungie’s Halo 3: ODST is a masterclass in tone, storytelling, and game design that resonates, even more, today than it did back when it was released. So let’s break down why this underappreciated gem still holds up amidst its blockbuster siblings.