First off, let it be known that I am a huge fan of Halo series as a whole. I was first introduced into the gaming scene with Halo: Combat Evolved and have gotten and played through every game in the series since.The mechanics of this game are incredibly smooth. The boost adds a whole new level of tactics to the gameplay, both in Matchmaking and the Campaign. The boost is a maneuver that you use while moving, or even standing still, to jetpack a set distance. It’s quite short, but it really does make a difference between life and death when avoiding a grenade or boosting around a corner while under fire. I can’t tell you how many times it saved my butt when an stupid grunt ran around a corner with 2 lit plasma grenades in hand came running at me, where boost saved my bacon. A quick boost around a corner right after seeing the two blue moons of death has allowed me to narrowly avoid many explosions. It always gave me satisfaction hearing their screams following a failed suicide bombing.
You can also boost while in the air, making gaps in between levels or buildings that much shorter, especially with the new clambering mechanic. Basically, clambering makes it so you can climb up a ledge that your character cant make with just a full jump. Climbing in Halo, never thought I’d see the day. Seriously, it makes getting to those high vantage points that you never thought accessible available. Also, one very notable mechanic addition is the shoulder charge. In campaign, it allowed for the destruction of walls to open new paths and even secret areas with weapons or collectibles. It was also a very strong melee attack, but very inaccurate against a moving target. I scarcely used it, as when I did, I ended up shoulder charging right past an enemy and died right next to them, while they continued shooting my dead body while yelling “Is that all humanity has to offer?” *Laughs maniacally*. It might have just been me, because my player 2 loved using it against enemies, and man was he decimating them with it. So, it’s not a bad ability, I was just bad with it.
This game outdid itself in comparison to Halo 4 with the campaign. Myself and a comrade played the story mode on Legendary without first playing through normal without any regrets. The level design of each mission really kept the flow of the game. The levels all had multiple paths to be completed, as well as difficult enemies and fun weapons to play through them with. I’m not going to lie, playing through the game on legendary the first play through was a difficult thing, but it’s a tradition, so we ventured forward. The enemies were incredibly difficult to down, but once we got in touch with our inner Master Chief and got the hang of how enemies acted, we were able to push through levels without too much difficulty. Fighting through the Covenant and the Prometheans many armies and bosses was so fun. Listening to a grunts chatter when you’re sneaking up on them and just blasting a Promethean causing him to explode like the robot-like creature he is was satisfying.
Now it’s not all well and good; the story did have some holes in it. Going through the story, you find that when playing as Master Chief with Blue Team, there is 3 other spartan 2’s there with him and you have no idea who they are or where they came from. 343 could have explained this better, but their back-story is delved into in the books. It took me some time and research to find out where they came from; it’s lame, but it didn’t stop the flow of the story. Also, playing through the game as 80% Locke and 20% Master Chief was kind of annoying. It seemed as if 343 wanted you to like Locke as a character and learn more about him when all I wanted to do was play as my beloved Master Chief. It wasn’t terrible, as I came to understand Locke more and his role in the game, but still… I wanted more of the Big Green.
So, the whole point of this game was based around team-play; specifically, controlling yourself and the 3 other members in your team. When it comes to actually being able to give commands, only the person playing the Master Chief or Spartan Locke were able to give the AI members commands. All the commands are locked to the Up-arrow on the D-pad as well, which was weird. There were 3 main commands to give: Go to a specific point on the battlefield, attack the enemy targeted, and revive that team member. They aren’t complicated commands, but the AI acted like they were trying to solve the black hole theory when you gave them out. When my buddy or I were down, we were able to command our still alive AI team to come revive us. Now, you’d think that when you called them over they would just ignore the enemies, run over to us, and try to revive us. Well, they did just that, but most of the time they would stop and just stare at my downed character for a few seconds while taking fire from the enemy. It’s like they were contemplating their entire life up to this moment before deciding that they should try and pick me up from near death. The AI was a great help in firefights, but more as meat-shields and distractions than actual Spartans tearing through the Covenant to save humanity. As negative as this sounds, it was a remarkably good experience with a mixture of frustration, dominance, and hilarity.
I’ve been many hours into multiplayer already, it has vastly improved and I believe it to be on-par with Halo 2’s multiplayer. All the maps I have played so far have been fairly good or great. There is no Lockout or Midship level of quality greatness yet, but the maps are really good. One of my favorite maps is Orion. It reminds me a lot of Lockout from Halo 2, but redone in rock terrain rather than buildings. Playing through slayer mode brought back so many memories as well as all the muscle memory from playing the game in one fell swoop. With the addition of the boost and the clambering mechanic, so much more has been added to the multiplayer experience. The game itself is more fast-paced, and the multiplayer exaggerates that to the extreme. You don’t die in one shot like in other FPS games, which is one reason why Halo is so different from all the others. It’s like your playing Halo 2 again, wherein all the pros come out at all hours of the day and 4-shot you with the battle Rifle. Such a good time.
One new gametype that I was super excited to play was Warzone. This gametype is new with Halo 5 and it does so much for the game. Basically you fight the enemy for territories, but there are also AI controlled team members as well as neutral enemy objectives that both teams can go for to give your team victory points. It’s similar to a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) in that both teams have objectives to win the game (such as downing towers or capturing points), but there are also neutral AI enemies that you can down to further your teams winning advantage. These neutral enemies resemble the stronger campaign enemies, and the team that can down them effectively will add victory points to win the game (beyond just controlling the main points).
The Warzone game mode also makes us of your REQ cards to spawn vehicles. The maps are HUGE and vehicles only seem fitting to maps of this size. REQ cards come from the REQ packs that you can buy in the in-game store with either points you earn from playing the game or you can purchase packs with real money. It is the microtransaction system that everyone hates, but it’s set in a way that isn’t that bad considering you can earn the points to buy the packs with in-game currency that you earn by playing the actual game. It’s a nice setup that isn’t decidedly pay-to-win.
Halo 5: Guardians does a lot for the franchise in regards to setting up the next game in the series, as well as providing vast improvements for the game itself in terms of mechanics and gameplay. It basically got me so excited to play this game and wanting to finish it the day I was able to play that I took 2 days off work to get through the story and play some multiplayer. It was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone, whether you have played the rest of the series or not.Score : 9/10
Replayability: Extremely High
Story: Good, but parts could have been explained and touched on better
Mechanics: Smooth, Tight and so satisfying. Adding the new mechanics of Clambering, Shoulder Charge, and Boost were a great idea
Multiplayer: Great experience altogether. Thank you 343 for bringing back my Halo 2