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Review: Halo 5: Guardians


Halo 5: Guardians

343 Industries is looking to bounce back after releasing two major flops to the Halo community. The first being Halo 4 as the game had a good story but destroyed the multiplayer community. The second being the Halo Master Chief Collection which released with an entirely broken multiplayer. In Halo 5: Guardians we find a new upcoming Spartan Locke looking to find Master Chief. Chief has went off the grid into his own mission with setting these Guardians loose. Will Halo 5: Guardians be a new beginning for Halo? Let’s dive into it to find out.

The Campaign
To start off, the story in the game may seem transparent. Leaving many of those who don’t follow the series a true understanding of what’s going on. If you go back and replay Halo 1 through 4 you will get a better grasp of it but, not completely. The Hunt The Truth series on Tumblr and SoundCloud has a lot of interesting story line to help build into Halo 5, along with Nightfall. Nightfall of course is what explains a bit about Spartan Locke’s history. They don’t talk much about Team Blue or Team Osiris. The game does offer more details about Team Osiris than Team Blue though which is nice since the Team Blue details are in an animated show that can be unlocked by purchasing the Limited Edition version of the game.

The Campaign has some of the best looking cut scenes I have seen in a game. Whether it be soaring through space and shooting through a space station’s glass window and assassinating covenant to seeing the towering Guardians all around you. 343 has accomplished a lot under the hood in their first full-fledged next-gen game. Especially to keep the game running smooth at 60FPS. The overall smoothness while explosions and bullets are going off around you is incredible. The issue I found the most though about the game’s engine is an issue the Halo Series is well-known for. Poor AI definitely can bring the experience down a bit while playing on Legendary. Personally, I am the type that likes to climb and find new vantage points to shoot enemies. The issue this brings is that the AI may not be able to get to me to revive me if needed. Also, the classic issue of terrible driving is still there as I would be rammed multiple times by vehicles they were driving while in my own. Aside from this though it is fun to have a full squad in a Halo game. To have them along with the story added a lot of depth that I enjoyed and Buck kept things interesting with his unique attitude and personality. He once died while jumping on one foot shouting, “I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m… nope.”. It just stands out incredibly well. Another issue I found was that Legendary mode seemed easier than ever, in the Halo’s that I previously played I honestly struggled a severe amount more than in this, although I still went down a lot I feel like having my team there to save me was almost a crutch to get through it. I would have loved seeing a skull or some toggle to make it where they can’t revive me. The campaign felt short even though it was 15 missions long. It took me around 13 hours to complete legendary but the story itself could have been extended a bit to really help those folks who only play the game. I won’t share any spoilers though so for now let’s jump to multiplayer.

The Multiplayer

A true Halo game would be nothing without the Multiplayer side of things. 343 has struggled here and torn its community apart in years past. In Halo 5: Guardians we find something a lot different. Something, that actually works properly and in a fun way. 343 Industries brought in a few former Pro Gamers from the Halo community to help out. Walshy and Bravo both were hired and have proved to be a huge help to the ailing Halo Multiplayer. Halo 5 has us back in the mix of balanced maps, weapons in certain places within the map, and a wonderful new countdown and marker for power weapons in Arena. Halo 5’s Arena Multiplayer is trying to be an eSports pinnacle and it’s definitely a step in the right direction. There are no spartan abilities or ordinance drops just run and gun, find a new gun, or protect a power weapon play. It’s fantastic and the best way to play Halo. Warzone is a new mode which pits 12 vs 12 vs AI. AI is your highest points but you can also capture buildings, and by getting enough you open your opponents core to be destroyed for the win, even if they have more points. Another new multiplayer mode that has been my favorite so far is Breakout. Breakout is a paintball 5v5 elimination gametype that makes it very strategic. It also has One Flag elements to try to spice things up. During the Beta it did not have this and games would just go on forever, especially if you had been killed early on but now it is a quick and fun match. They also added in Requisitions to make things interesting. You earn these through leveling up your spartan or you can purchase them. Within these packs are cards that can have power weapons, vehicles, or cosmetic stuff. The weapons and vehicles can only be used in Warzone through gaining Req Levels. They do this so that one team doesn’t over power the other right from the start. I really enjoy this new mode, although it can be challenging but a lot of fun because of how open it is. The different ways to win help make you stay on top of what the enemy is doing and you will need great team communication to accomplish victory. The cosmetic stuff for Multiplayer is really nice, I personally enjoy all the options they give you. There are over 100 different Helmets, and body armor to choose from. This allows for a huge amount of customization that you can show off in any Multiplayer mode.

Halo finally allows Aim Down Sight and infinite sprint for the first time in its series. Along with a Ground Pound melee that can kill multiple targets. Also, they added a Destiny Warlock floating ability for when you aim down sights so you can better target an enemy. I didn’t mention this in the campaign part because I didn’t find it affected my gameplay as much as what it does in multiplayer. I really enjoy the quick pace of the infinite sprint, but also the challenge. If you get shot and are running away from the enemy your shields will not regenerate until you have slowed down to at least a walking pace. This can make things interesting. I found myself dying when I found the next enemy due to forgetting about this mechanic. Overall I really enjoyed the addition of these mechanics and found the game to be more enjoyable with the added movement they provided.

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The Breakdown

A great story for true Halo fans that leaves some key details out to those that don’t follow the series and a fantastic multiplayer experience has me giving Halo 5: Guardians a 4.5/5 and a 95/100 simply because it’s a near perfect game in my book. The graphics and 60FPS standout wonderfully in a game that has a few things holding it back. As I mentioned the somewhat broken AI can be bothersome and the easiness of Legendary made me feel less challenged. The new mechanics really come together nicely though, especially in Multiplayer. A solid Multiplayer leads to a very fun and fast paced experience that I will be playing often. What they got right outweighed what the got wrong in this game by a huge amount. I would find myself getting frustrated at AI and then a cut scene would pop up or a grunt would be singing to a skull and it takes my mind right off of it. Halo 5 is worth checking out if you’ve been a fan looking for its classic multiplayer experience.

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