Let’s get straight into the meat of it, Halo 5 is a game you should buy. If you like shooters and multiplayer games there is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that you should buy this game and play it…alot!
Ok now that’s out the way let’s talk about Halo 5 in depth. It’s an incredibly good game, in fact apart from The Phantom Pain it’s the best game i’ve played all year and that’s due in no small part to the fantastic multiplayer that 343 Industries have crafted. The only downside is the story which is such a shame considering the emotional rollercoaster that Halo 4 sent us on, something I have no shame in admitting i’m still having trouble getting over.
Let’s break it down shall we.
Halo 5: Guardians runs at a very smooth 60fps that really shows of what the Xbox One can do and boy does it look stunning. Every single location in the game looks amazing from the dark, unmaintained corridors of an abandoned space station to the skyscraper tall mountains and rocky terrain of the Elite home world the Xbox One does a fantastic job of rendering these environments and making the player feel as though they’re really there. In fact one of the best scenes comes during a mid game mission as your trying to bring down enemy triple A’s in the night while hot on the tail of the enemy, it’s gorgeous. All you see is the beautiful city and enemy turrets firing multi coloured energy at incoming ships.
The characters are just as detailed with human and alien alike looking very good. The stand outs though are when we see Spartan Locke and Spartan Buck without their helmets on during the cutscenes. The facial capture and voice acting of Mike Colter and Nathan Fillion are a standout performance and really add alot to the cutscenes they are in.
The only thing you need to know is it is amazing. Halo 5 has the best shooter multiplayer experience around on any platform right now and I dont think ill have any problem whatsoever at backing that statement up.
It’s fast and furious, it’s well balanced, you have to have great reflexes as well as tactical awareness it’s what every shooter should strive to be. The maps are huge and offer tactical options for every style of play and for those who choose to use vehicles or stay on foot and also provide hidden special weapons to be used for those who care to look for them. The arena game modes are the same as most other multiplayer shooters but add Halo’s unique style to mix and with the edition of the new spartan abilities such as ground pound and being able to hover in the air while aiming makes the matches exhilarating and sets up some awesome kills to brag about.
The simple addition of being able to use iron sights as well is a big plus for me too and when you combine that with the new abilities which finally make you feel as though you’re a super soldier centuries in the future just make battles fun. Fun seems underwhelming but think about it, why do we play these games? For fun and that’s what Halo 5 inserts into the matches, all to often when I play Call of Duty or Battlefield I’m more caught up with winning playing a way that is boring but effective, using weapons I don’t like but give you an edge but Halo isn’t like that. I enjoy the matches win or lose because every match is a pleasure to play even when I get killed by an opposing Spartan I’m thinking “Man that was an awesome ground pound kill….shame i’m on the end of it”.
Where the multiplayer really comes into its own though is the Warzone mode which pits two teams of players against each other on a huge map. The thing that make Warzone so great is that it’s not just a battle royale, players must capture strategic locations, battle AI enemies and enemy bosses all while a crewing points which can be used to buy weapons and vehicles. It’s a fun mode that requires you to think tactically as well as just going to run and gun it, for example should you spend your points early on for a tank to dominate the battlefield early on or wait till the last third of the match till it can tip the scales in your favour.
Ah here we are the story. To be honest i’m not going to be as critical about the story as many other outlets have been, I actually like it. The outline follows team Osiris a group of new Spartans lead by Jameson Locke on the trails of Master Chief’s Blue team after they disobey a direct order to stand down from chasing a new enemy.
The problems arise when you realise that for 80% of the game you not playing as The Chief himself which let’s face it is not a good thing, ever. That’s not meaning Locke and co are not without their charm, as I said before Colter and Fillion’s performances are standout and I believe they could become deep and loved characters in the Halo universe the only problem is in this story they aren’t doing anything but following orders which makes them very bland and 1 dimensional. The characters themselves could be a hell of alot more interesting and you can see that with the interactions between the team members and a few scenes Locke shares with the Arbiter, there’s no doubt in my mind that there is potential here.
Where when you do play as the Chief we see a tiny bit of the emotion that made Halo 4 such a great success for 343 Industries. You really understand why the chief, the ultimate soldier defies orders from people he trusts in order to get some much needed answers. Unfortunately again this falls short since he is always with Blue team who are obviously trying to take Cortana’s place as the chiefs support but they simply don’t have her emotional gravitas.
Blue team is comprised of people the Chief grew up with in the Spartan two program, they’re more like family to each other which is why they follow him defying orders but apart from a few lines in the script you would never know that unless you’ve gone out of your way to explore Halo’s expanded universe. That’s the Jekyll and Hyde moment for Halo in recent years, the series is getting difficult for new players to jump into and that is such a shame because it’s so bloody good to experience weather you know the backstory or not.
Halo 5 is a great game and is a worthy 2nd addition to 343’s new trilogy. The game makes a leap forward in terms of the multiplayer aspect but falls slightly short for the campaign mode but never the less it is a game worthy of your hard earned cash and precious time.