Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Halo 3: ODST Firefight Mode

One of the most exciting modes in ODST is the new Firefight mode. It pits you and up to three friends against endless waves of Covenant infantrymen. If that sounds a lot like Gear of War 2’s Horde mode, it is – except Halo’s killer enemy A.I. makes it a much more challenging affair.
Like similar modes, the key to Firefight is teamwork, and although you know that every battle will ultimately end in bloody defeat, you don’t want to be the one who delivers your squad to death’s door that much quicker. Here are a few tips to help you do your part – they won’t make you the Master Chief, but they should give your score a healthy boost.
Tip #1: Understand the Rules
Firefight mode seems self explanatory: enemies show up, and you shoot them. But Bungie complicates this simplistic formula with a fairly intricate rule set. The action is broken down into waves, rounds, and sets, with extra ammo and lives being awarded after each set. Modifier skulls also affect gameplay; some will make enemies more resistant to certain weapons, or more susceptible to using grenades. Knowing each skull’s symbol and effect on gameplay will help shape your team’s tactics. G.I. Joe (no, not Juba) wasn’t lying: knowing really is half the battle.
Tip #2: Stick Close to Shelter
Most Firefight maps feature both indoor and outdoor environments. Some enemies, like Drones are deadly out in the open, but easily dispatched when they funnel through doorways. Brute Cheiftans, on the other hand, can kill you with one swing of their Gravity Hammer, so you’ll want to keep a distance. Surviving in Firefight mode is a lot like surviving an earthquake; find a doorway and straddle it. When weak mobs of enemies show up, go indoors. When Cheiftans appear, run out into the open. Also, when facing a Cheiftan, try yelling “Hammer dude! Hammer dude’s gonna get me!” This will hopefully give your friends enough of a head's up to shoot him from behind before he bludgeons your brains out.
Tip #3: Big Fish
The easiest way to rack up points is by taking down enemy vehicles. Don’t bother with the Covenant drop ships, as they are invincible – instead focus your destructive abilities on Wraiths. The Spartan Laser is your best weapon of choice, as it strikes instantaneously when it fires. If all you have is a rocket launcher though, you’ll want to attack the Wraith from behind so its driver won’t have a chance to dodge your shot. Whatever you do, forget about boarding; hopping on the front of a Wraith, beating a hole in its hood and chucking in a grenade was sweet when you were the Master Chief, but Firefight’s battlefields are much too crowded to make it a viable tactic. Instead play it safe and take enemy vehicles down from a distance.
Tip #4: Be the Gunner
Another easy way to rack up kills is on the back of a Warthog – there’s nothing like an unlimited supply of bullets to compensate for bad aim. Make up an excuse why you should be the gunner, or if all else fails, jump onto the back and pretend that you can’t figure out how to dismount (“…The “B” button? Huh, it doesn’t seem to be working…”) until your partner gives up and hops in the driver seat. Then shoot away until your teammate loses interest and leaves you stranded – that’s what you get for being such a turret hog. Speaking of…
Tip #5: Don’t Break the Turret
Most levels will have at least one stationary turret overlooking the battlefield. Like Halo 3, they can be snapped off and carried away, eliminating the dangers of being a sitting duck. But don’t be in a rush; if you break the turret off of its stand, it will no longer have infinite ammo. I’ve witnessed countless players hopping onto a turret before the first wave of enemies, only to break the gun off and run once the drop ship starts shooting at them. Doing so can cripple your team in later rounds. Instead jump off the gun when taking fire, and return when things are safer.

That’s not to say turrets can never be detached though. Like other ammo, turrets will respawn after sets, so if things are looking bleak and that mounted gun is in an otherwise indefensible position, feel free to take it with you.
Tip #6: Get To Da Chopper!
The only thing better than a Warthog in Firefight mode is the Chopper, which lets one player drive and shoot at the same time. When enemies start rolling in on these bad boys, resist the urge to rocket them – instead try to headshot them out of the driver’s seat and steal it. It’s well worth the extra bother – just don’t run over your friends!
Tip #7: Know Your Combos
A headshot will get you more points than a normal kill. So will killing several enemies in a row. So will sticking a plasma grenade to the back of an enemy, or meleeing an enemy from behind. There are a lot of ways to score extra points in Firefight; knowing how to get bonuses – and when to go with a safe kill instead – is essential to getting a high score.

Tip #8: Live to Fight Another Day
Not dying seems too stupid to be a tip, but it’s the best advice I’ve got; the longer you stay alive, the more points you’ll get for kills. When playing with skilled players, you’ll probably want to run into a pack of enemies like Rambo to prove your bravado. Fight that urge. A more conservative approach that keeps you alive will net you greater points in the long run. Also, you don’t want to be that guy who died twice as many times in a match as everyone else. Is getting 100,000 points and dying 10 times really better than getting 20,000 and only dying once? Since each death detracts from the life pool shared by you and all your friends, the answer is probably no.
These are just a few ways in which you can get more points – and less dying – out of your Firefight matches. Got another tip? Help your fellow Shock Troopers out by adding it in the comment section below!

1 comment:

  1. *sigh* I wish I still had an Xbox...
    Showing support for my blogging comrades.