Halo 5: Guardians Review

Halo is back once more with Halo 5: Guardians. It’s been a long three years without a new Halo – Master Chief Collection aside – in this time but not a new halo story and 343 admitted they made big mistakes with that. So let’s forget that ever happened and lets find out if 343 have got things back on track with Halo 5: Guardians.

Keeping things spoiler-free, you’re first mission is to retrieve one Dr. Halsey and bring her back to base, then join the blue team in trying to access the date [Should this be data? Although I like the idea of a date centre where all the Spartans can find romantic partners. Sorry, off-topic.] centre. 

The campaign has been designed around the game’s fire-team centric focus and will alternate between the perspectives of John-117’s Blue Team and Spartan Locke’s Fire-team Osiris. After the events of Halo 4 Master Chief himself has gone absent; nobody seems to know why he’s gone or where he is except John-117’s Blue Team. You’ve got to hunt him down and bring him back.

So, yes, that might be your first question answered: you don’t play as the Master Chief for the majority of the campaign. Instead you’re playing as Spartan Locke and his Osiris comrades. It’s a brave move by 343 and the Halo franchise but one that works and fits perfectly. The way 343 have changed the perspective to give you a different take was a happy twist in Halo’s story telling, potentially giving the franchise a new breath of life and direction.

As said above I won’t go too much into the story in this review as it will spoil the game, but the Guardians campaign comprises of 15 amazing missions and of course  – fret not – there’s the all important multiplayer is present also. 

Staying with Halo 5‘s campaign there are a few new features that I love, such as how other team members will operate autonomously, you’re also able to give them contextual commands by pressing up on the D-pad. The order given is determined by what you’re currently looking at; some of these orders include things such as Attack TargetGo To Location, Use Vehicle and Revive Team-mate. This new revival mechanic allows both AI members of the team to revive the player, or players to revive one another in co-op play. When a player takes too much damage they go into a “downed” state similar to that found in Gears of War. Active players or AI-controlled fire-team members can revive the downed Spartan within a set time limit which is shown in an icon on their HUDs. This really gives you that feeling of team play, lets be honest the way in which Halo has been told previously has very much been a solo mission, with Master Chief at the helm of the plot. This way you get to go up against the badest enemies with a fireteam of hardened Spartan soldiers at your side! 

Another new element I enjoyed is how during every single mission in the 15 part story campaign, whether you’re playing as Locke or Chief, you will be flanked by your fire-team who might have some tricks up their sleeve to make the game better and less grindy. Having a fire-team around you makes Halo 5 a step in the right direction and a much smoother gameplay in my option; it’s a great idea from 343 and with the game being the most action-packed Halo to date it’s something you really need. I’m sure this won’t be easy for you on the hardest difficultly and lets hope not…Right!?

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Going back to the start, from when you first load up Halo 5 you can see that Halo has gone back to the basics with this new release and it’s for the better, might I add. It just feels right from the menu: the clean and crisp graphics are the best I’ve ever seen on console; some of the cut-scenes are something you would expect to watch at the cinema not on a game. Lets put it this way Halo 5 has been spared no expense in anyway shape or form!

Weapon time! Obviously there are old weapons on Halo 5 – well to tell the truth the existing weapons have been changed a little but it seems only the ones 343 themselves added into the Halo franchise, not Bungie.H5GMB_Render_RocketLauncher

The new weapons that have been built by the developers are out of this world (no pun intended of course)

The M57 Pilum Rocket Launcher that’s shown in the image appears in Guardians alongside its ‘legendary’ predecessor, the M41 rocket launcher and wow this beast packs on hell of a punch,

I’m so happy they started fresh and rebuilt some of the weapons and some of the designs are stunning.

Multiplayer in Halo 5 is super important and due to all of the problems with Master Chief Collection on Xbox Live a lot of people have lost faith in 343. They never really fixed the issues and the biggest questions flying around are will they get it right for Halo 5? It’s make or break for the franchise and it was my main question for Guardians – I’m happy and glad to say I’ve had no issues online at the moment. Matchmaking has been perfect although there’s not many of us playing right now, due to the game not being out while writing this, so maybe the real test will be on release day. For most hardcore day 1 Halo fans, this element is of course a extremely important element so take it from me being 1 of those day 1 die-hard multiplayer fans, Halo 5 brings the goods. I was lucky enough to get to first play the multiplayer at EGX this year and you could tell the buzz it was creating so quickly, thankfully I got to play early on because the queue’s exploded after the first few groups played.

The multiplayer is split into two main play styles: the classic Arena experience, and the new 24-player game, Warzone. Big Team Battle will not be present in the game at launch, says 343. It’s instead replaced with Warzone, however it will be supported post-launch. Spectator mode will be allowed within multiplayer matches, an added bonus. Warzone add’s some fantastic element’s to a very well established multiplayer like Halo, I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say the opposite team are not your only problem or objective in this very diverse and intense multiplayer experiance.

There are an impressive 20 multiplayer maps at the launch of Halo 5, more than enough to get started, and 343 have promised at least an additional 15 maps will be added before June 2016. This is great news, it really shows the commitment from 343 to expand your multiplayer experience ever more than the mammoth 20 maps available from day 1.

We all know The Master Chief Collection didn’t go to plan for 343 with the issues in porting and turning our much loved Halo games into a HD masterpiece but Halo 5 has ramped up the heat and brought the goods in this next instalment in one of the most iconic games franchises on the market.

Overall 343 have done a perfect job on Halo 5 and I’m so happy the best franchise is back up the top.

Talking about all this multiplayer has made me hungry to watch a trailer, Why not have watch below.

 

Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios

 

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