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Halo 3: ODST
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this first-person shooter is rated "Mature" for its graphic depiction of violence. This is a futuristic science fiction game where most of the enemies you're shooting at are alien creatures bent on Earth's destruction. Players will use a variety of weapons to take out the baddies, and some blood is shown. While an "M" rated game, this one is less violent than others like the Grand Theft Auto series. The game offers many options for playing with others including online where open voice chat is available so there's the potential of hearing cursing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In HALO 3: ODST, a futuristic sci-fi shooter that takes place between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3, players take on the role of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, part of an elite group of space marines dropped into hostile areas. This time you're deployed to Earth, in the African port city of New Mombasa, to ward off an invasion from the nasty Covenant alien race and find out the motivation for their invasion. While the action is still seen from an immersive first-person perspective, Halo 3: ODST is more of a close-quartered game than previous adventures, with much of the fighting taking place in smaller urban spaces, and focuses heavily on cooperative tactics with your ODST teammates (nicknamed "Helljumpers") rather than destroying aliens by yourself.
Is it any good?
Though the single-player story is a relatively short 8-hour campaign, the game-play is intense and worth playing multiple times. The new Heads-Up Display (HUD) gives players lots of info on their surroundings, plus new weapons, maps, and some surprises make this game a memorable one. But Halo 3: ODST also introduces the awesome "Firefight" mode, a new cooperative multiplayer option where up to four ODST fighters can take on increasingly challenging waves of Covenant invaders. Also included in the box is a second DVD with three new Halo 3 multiplayer maps for online play (via the Xbox Live service), as well as all original Halo 3 maps and downloadable map packs, totalling 24 in all.
Online interaction: The game is even more fun when you add online friends, but as with past Halo games, you might hear cursing from other players in your headset. This is true for most online games, and many Halo players use the headsets to talk tactics while working together as soldiers towards a common goal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of shooters. Does it give players a rush to blow away enemies from a first-person perspective? Is this a bad thing as it might desensitize players to violence and potentially whet their appetite to do it in real life; or is this virtual thrill healthy because it can serve as a stress-relieving and entertaining escape from the day-to-day grind? Is it any better or worse than a violent Tarantino movie? At what age do you think teens should be allowed to play these games? Why?
On the continuum of violent video games, how does this one stack up? How does it compare to a title like Grand Theft Auto IV, where you're working your way up in the criminal underground of a contemporary city and can kill innocent people and police officers?
This is a compelling game for many teens and can create time-management issues. How might you as a family go about handling setting gaming time limits?
For kids who love being the hero
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.