After a three year hiatus, Halo is finally back with its latest installment, Halo 5: Guardians.
Halo 5 takes place shortly after the events of Halo 4 and introduces some new features and playable characters to the Halo games.
Most notably, the game was built from the ground up to support co-op play. This means that if you are playing with your friends everyone is not just a clone of the master chief. Instead before each mission players are prompted to choose which character of a team of four they want to play as. There are two different playable squads which we’ll get into a little later in this review.
Because there are four members of your fire team, when you get shot down you aren’t out. At least not right away. Your friends or AI companions have a short window in which they can revive you similar to Gears of War. The campaign is a blast to play in co-op with brilliant level design and fast paced adrenaline fueled combat and set pieces, kicking alien butt has never felt better, and doing it alongside your friends makes it that much more enjoyable.
Single player is almost as much fun only instead of having friends controlling your squadmates they are controlled by a, dare I say, stupid AI. Often times my computer controlled allies would run out in the open and systematically get mowed down by the simplest of enemies, other than that, the way the campaign is designed makes for hours of good times. Just don’t take the story too seriously.
Halo 5’s story was touted by marketing to be “The Greatest Hunt in Video Game History”. Turns out the Greatest Hunt in video game history isn’t much of a hunt at all, similar to the Halo 3: Believe marketing campaign, most If not all the events in the prerelease marketing hype were complete fabrications of what the story is.
The big problem is the characters. In halo 5 youplay as Fire Team Osiris, a squad of fourth generation super soldiers on the hunt for the other playable squad, Blue team, which stars the main character from every other Halo game, the Master Chief, and his team of second generation super soldiers.
Every single playable character has his or her unique backstory and personality and it would have been wonderful to get a glimpse or some sort of insight on the people beneath the MJOLNR armor, instead, what we get is a very talented cast of voice actors with their talents put to waste on what is the lightest story telling out of all the Halos since Halo 1. It has potential, but there wasn’t much there, though if you are a fan of the expanded fiction there is much more for you to take away than fans of just the game series.
Also, Blue Team, the obvious fan favorite and far more interesting team of the two, is only playable for three of the fifteen missions.
The highlight of Halo 5 is the online multiplayer, which is superb.
Halo 5 multiplayer is split into two modes, Arena and Warzone.
Arena is the game type to play when you’re looking for the most competitive multiplayer experience halo has to offer. It’s a 4v4 battle with even starts and power weapons that drop on the map at designated positions and time intervals. Arena sports both slayer and objective game types.
For each playlist in Arena, after playing 10 matches, you are granted a Competitive Skill Rating, or CSR. Your CSR puts you up against players of similar skill and makes for the most competitive experience possible.
If you’re just looking for a good time, Warzone is the place to be.
Warzone is an all new game type that fits players against players and AI combatants alike. The maps are huge and each team has 12 members.
In Warzone the first team to 1000 points wins. The catch here is that player kills only count as one point. So your objective while playing is to not only slay the other team but take over three objective points on the map and fight your way into the opposing teams base to destroy their core. However AI combatants spawn in the duration of the match that are worth anywhere from 25 to 150 point if you take them down.
Because there are these two ways to win I have had games where my team was down by 500 points and managed to destroy the opposing teams core to win the game in a comeback only seen in 80’s sports films and I’ve had games that come down to the wire where all 24 people in the game are trying to slay the last AI combatant in order to push their score to 1000. This mode is crazy, intense and always a blast to play.
Instead of even starts with power weapons on the map, each player gets awarded Req points depending on their performance. You can use your Req points to equip yourself with unique load outs.
This brings me to the most controversial part of the game. In order to equip the power weapons, you first need to acquire them via requisition packs, requisition packs cost currency that you can earn in game or you can purchase them with real life human currency up to $2.99 per pack. Love it or hate it, you earn points fast enough to never have to buy paks with real money though you could argue people who purchase them and unlock stuff faster might have a slight advantage.
Regardless, Warzone is some of the most fun Halo 5 has to offer.
Halo 5 looks and sounds amazing. Every gun sounds powerful and crisp and the visuals are clean and colorful. The field of view is pretty small compared to other games however. Also it runs at a silky smooth 60fps which feels outstanding.
Halo 5: Guardians is a worthy addition to the Halo franchise. Not only is it a great place to start playing Halo, but it is also a great game for returning halo fans. . What the campaign lacks in storytelling it more than makes up for in coll level design and fun gameplay. The multiplayer is both the most competitive and most fun Halo has offered within in a long while, and finally the game looks and sounds fantastic.
If you were on the fence about Halo 5 I would definitely pick this one up.