I’ve spoken before about how ODST is my favourite game in the series, so now I have to decide which moment in this 6 hour long ride of sheer thematic and atmospheric brilliance is my favourite…The drop segment in the opening of the game stands out as one of the best, most intense moments I can recall in my many years of gaming. The game opens parallel to the end of Halo 2‘s fourth playable mission where the Prophet of Regret’s ship s hanging above Earth, the ODSTs (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) are planning to go through with Operation: RED FLAG by infiltrating the ship and capturing the Prophet (one of the Covenant’s 3 religious leaders) to negotiate a peace treaty and end the war.
Except things don’t quite go as planned…
As you fall in your pod, you see how the Covenant has decimated a frigate hanging in low orbit while the members of your squad chatter over the radio. The Prophet’s ship comes within sight but for some reason, Dare, your team’s new captain, adjusts the course of your pods away from the ship which then decides to flee Earth by performing a slipspace jump in-atmosphere.
The Master Chief, who doesn’t play a part in this game, is aboard the UNSC In Amber Clad which follows the Prophet of Regret by entering slipspace alongside it. In a cool little Easter Egg, you can actually catch a tiny glimpse of the UNSC ship if you look closely during the drop segment.
The after-effects of the slipspace jump devastates the city of New Mombasa and all the ODST pods are send crashing to the ground. The Rookie, the main protagonist in the game, awakens 6 hours later and finds himself in the middle of a city completely occupied by Covenant. Your goal: survive, find your squad, and uncover the mystery of what the Covenant are looking for hidden under the city.