Halo 5 Guardians is the newest release from 343 industries and published by Microsoft studios, it follows a story from two points of view, the view from blue team: John 117, Kelly, Linda and Fred then team Osiris: Locke, Buck, Vale and Tanaka. Blue team are on a mission and Team Osiris are trying to stop them, agent Locke leads Osiris and Master Chief John 117 leads the blue team. Halo 5 is a continuing story fighting the covenant which has spanned across multiple halo games making Master Chief John 117 a household name.
Halo 5 is set in 2558 eight months after the events of Halo 4’s Spartan Ops game, Chief is on a mission and Locke is looking for Chief, the game play starts as team Osiris then on to the second mission which swaps to blue team, the game continues for 15 campaign missions in the same way. The first big change I noticed was how much better the graphics looked, with this being the first Halo game brought out specifically for the Xbox One and (possibly) PC, rather than the rest which originated on the 360 etc, within the 9 hour sitting of playing through the campaign in a co-op game I did notice a few glitches, one of my team mates fell through the map, it randomly decided to teleport us forward past 2 vehicles when we were searching a map for Easter eggs but other than that the game was flawless, the 13 hour download time was worth the wait (I’m assuming this was due to the Microsoft servers, I started downloading at 18:30 on the 26th and when I checked my Xbox at 07:40am the following morning it was at 93 percent, my connection is 152mbps so as you can imagine I was rather annoyed and surprised how long it had taken, after playing the game for all of 30 minutes I had completely forgotten about the length of time this had taken, I’ll let 343 off with it as they have done such a good job with Halo 5.
I’m trying to keep all spoilers out of this review and it’s proving difficult to talk about the storyline, but what I can tell you is it played just like a Halo game should, it had a few added extras such as Spartan Charge and Ground Pound; you can use Spartan Charge to dash against enemies or to smash through breakable surfaces and Ground Pound to hammer down on to enemies below you whilst in the air. I found the Spartan Charge to be really useful but didn’t really use the Ground Pound much it seemed a bit delayed in it’s reactions, as you would press right bumper which would highlight the area then eventually it would do it, whilst trying to destroy a swarm of enemies I didn’t really have time for those few seconds before it decides to actually hit the ground which rendered it useless for myself.
The levels were as interesting as any other Halo campaign but due to the better graphics and the ability to climb up a ledge rather than having to jump above it’s height it made it great to explore for skulls and collectables, within the 9 hour co-op game both myself and Russ found ourselves venturing off and climbing up different parts of the maps to see how high we could get or what was hidden away, we came across a few Easter eggs on the way and found some rare or “special” weapons, Halo has always been a FPS which you have to explore to find Easter eggs etc. but Halo 5 just seemed better than the rest for this, the game flowed well between each level bouncing from blue team and team Osiris following the story to show where paths cross and what each team is doing in between, I feel like all of the trailers kind of pointed the story into a different direction to the way the campaign developed which was surprising and confusing at the same time but none the less it was a great campaign and one of the best Halo games I have played in many years, I was never a fan of Halo 4 I thought it lacked everything a Halo game should be but Halo 5 has surprised me and was well worth the wait. If you’re looking for your Halo fix Halo 5 Guardians is my favourite to date at a cost of £34.99 for hard copy or £44.99 for a digital download all Halo fans old and new should check it out!
Matchmaking for Halo 5 is easily the most fast-paced out of all the games. Even though this may go against the more traditional slow game play Halo became known for it works well in Halo 5. The Spartan abilities allow for different ways to get around and mix up your play-style and the maps are tailored well to suit the new additions to make the game still feel like a Halo game.
There are 2 parts to Matchmaking also: Warzone and Arena. Arena is the more traditional, competitive side of Matchmaking where players play a variety of game types to gain a ranking and prove themselves to the world. Working their way up from Bronze rankings to the coveted Champion rank (top 200 in the world leaderboards). It is possible to get a higher ranking such as silver or gold (maybe higher if you’re good enough) after the first 10 qualifying games which place you in the leader boards. Things such as power weapons are placed around the maps and have to be controlled by the teams unlike Halo 4 where you could just call them down at your feet. Pretty much if you want to play competitively then this is the place for you.
Warzone is the new BTB in Halo 5. It throws players into a 12 vs 12 on a battlefield where AI roam free while they fight for control of multiple bases around the map with the goal of getting 1000 points or destroying the enemy core. Players are dropped in from pelicans and have to clear out their main base which is being attacked by Covenant or Prometheans, as soon as this is done its raid bases and kill everyone in your way. As the game progresses you will notice your REQ level will increase, this allows you to use those REQ cards you have to call in items ranging from a BR to Phaeton to dominate the skies. Despite the previous controversy REQ cards don’t make the game P2W, the packs are easy to earn and purchase with real money is completely optional. I would say it takes around 3 good games of Wazone to get a gold REQ pack so it isn’t difficult to earn them either since REQ points to buy these packs are earned easily. Another feature in Warzone is bosses, especially Legendary bosses. These bosses can range from Tankmaster Rok, a Sangheili that drives an upgraded wraith to Warden Eternal, an extremely large and powerful Promethean. All the features in Warzone combine to make the perfect casual blend of Slayer and objective game types while giving players a slight competitive feel and by rewarding them more on their performance. Great game type for just having fun, warming up on or just unlocking stuff.
Halo 5’s Matchmaking is a step in the right direction after the problems from Halo 4 and MCC. It makes Halo fast paced and tries some new things while still feeling like a Halo game. Warzone even improves on the old BTB which was one of the most popular game types in the previous games. 343 has really got themselves together to make what is possibly one of the best online Halo experiences to date. This experience is also set to get even better with Forge being added, this will open new doors for the community and with what is shaping up to be the best Forge yet, the possibilities will be near endless.