Thursday, 26 November 2015

Halo 5: Guardians

After The Master Chief Collection (Let's not talk about that one), Halo 5: Guardians has a lot to prove, especially in the multiplayer space, and before going into that I can say that the multiplyer is really freaking, no wait -I'm gonna say it- f*cking good. However, despite the highs of the multiplayer, a mediocre campaign which sets up an exciting finale keeps the game from legendary status.

Developed by 343 Industries and out now for Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians is a lot of things: Expansive, thrilling, aesthetically pleasing, and disingenuous. That last one catch your eye? Well let me explain something: The marketing material you've seen and got excited about in the run up to the game? It's all pretty much a pack of lies and if you were to walk through 343 Industries I can guarantee that smoke would be rising from under their desk as if some clothing had caught alight.

The campaign was boasted as being a massive showdown between Master Chief and Locke. That doesn't really happen unless you count a little thrown fists about a third of the way through. Having finished the campaign, I can see exactly why they decided to market the game in the way that they did but it was a bummer nevertheless.

The campaign itself is one of the more straightforward stories but also one of the least satisfying ones. The story very much feels like it's set in the middle of a trilogy but it features absolutely no closure meaning you've nothing to grasp at come credits. You're left with more questions, but a great sense of excitement for Halo 6, which isn't really something you want when you've just played a game. "Sure that was OK but I can't wait for three years from now to actually get told a great story!" Halo 2 online was love, Halo 2 online was life. It was every waking moment that wasn’t school growing up. Hell, I even stayed up all night playing Halo 2 online and suddenly got sick when 7 a.m. rolled around. I get those same “forget responsibilities” feelings when I play Halo 5: Guardians online. The multiplayer is actually broken down into two modes: Arena and Warzone.

Arena is what you would expect if you're a returning fan. The multiplayer is broken down into your standard multiplayer hopper with plenty of modes including the very-much-inspired-by-Counter-Strike Breakout mode. Two teams enter a small arena and have no shields and just a single life. A winner is declared when a team wins 5 rounds. It's intense, surprisingly so by even Halo standards. You coordinate, deploy tactics, and mix things up to be successful. 

The other mode, Warzone, is something entirely new to the series. Probably the scariest way to put it is that it's like Halo's take on an FPS MOBA *gasp*. The reality of it though is pretty neat. These matches take place on large battlefields and the aim  is to be the first team to reach 1000 points. How you do that is the interesting part. You gain a single point for taking out an enemy, you obtain points for holding any number of the three points on the map and then special rewards come from taking down boss A.I. that are insanely tough. The cruel thing to this boss part is that some of them are worth 150 points and it only goes to the team that inflict the killing blow. This can lead to wanting to walk out the nearest bay window.

The mode is deep and enjoyable. You can level up in each map and use requisition cards which can be bought in the store using in-game credits and real money if you are so inclined. It's more casual but shows off the Halo sandbox at its very best.

It's a game of two halves: One mediocre campaign that asks you to finish the fight in the next iteration again and one excellent multiplayer. 4/5.


Jason Redmond

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