Halo 5: Guardians RevieW

By: Matthew Adams 

Halo 5: Guardians is a beautiful, well playing, Nostalgic trip, that feels like a preview of the next three Games in the series.

Along with stunning visuals and extremely responsive first person shooting aspects people have come to know and love from the series, 343 has also touched up a few things that Improve GAME PLAY dramatically. From the new movement abilities, to the automatic adjusting frame rate, that provides the player with constant smooth flowing action.   Missions are tight and snappy, and move quickly.  so quickly in fact you can complete some missions in less than a minute if you know where you are going. They also provide an open ended, choose your own path play style that gives the player an option to take path A or B from one point to another, something that really hasn't been done a lot in this series. 

Along with great mission design, Halo games are ripe with fulfilling boss fights. This is a trend that keeps on giving in the newest installment.  But like most boss fights they do not come without a price; this one being, tediousness. 

Halo 5: Guardians is the 5th main line story of the "Master Chief". The series has provided Microsoft with a great tent pole to base the Xbox's foundation upon. No this is not the only 1st party game Microsoft creates, but it would be fair to venture to say that it is one of the biggest. Halo 5: Guardians lives up to its name, there are Guardians everywhere! And those behemoths' are so cool looking! Kind of gives a similar feeling that one gets from playing "Shadow of the Colossus".  Guardians provide the player with an extremely polished, visually appealing, smooth flowing trailer to Halo 6. Don't get me wrong the campaign is fun overall, but it lacks that constant drive that previous installments have had. Most of the game is spent playing as Spartan Jameson Locke. Shocker there. Locke is sent on a retrieval mission with "Fireteam Osiris" - consisting of Edward Buck, Holly Tananka, Olympia Vale & Jameson Locke - to hunt down and bring in the Master Chief.

This sounds awesome, but leaves a lot to be desired. The "Hunt" as it has been portrayed starts and stops basically within a single mission. On top of that, even though most of the game is played as Locke none of the characters are ever truly fleshed out. You get the feeling that Chief did something that has inspired Locke, but is never talked about other than the one line of dialog that it comes from.  “Blue Team” – Master Chief’s Crew - is even more underdeveloped then Fireteam Osiris, seeing as only 20% of the game is played as them. To the point that Chief has a strange “thing” happen to him, which would make most people stop, ask questions, see what is going on, but instead they just follow him blindly into the night. This would be fine if we knew the motivation behind these characters, but unless you have read all the expanded universe books and follow every piece of lore outside the games, you really have no idea what makes them act this way. Also everyone is super tall in this game. I don’t understand why, but it feels like a skyscraper walking around for goodness sakes. I understand that Chief is like 7 foot tall but Locke is supposed to be nothing like that.

What this Halo lacks in the story department, it more than makes up for in the visuals and gameplay. This game is gorgeous! Built on an entirely new engine, the environments are typically different and give you a broader look at the Universe. Yes I'm saying you don't spend the whole game trapped in a towering building, in tight dark corridors. Jungle environments that make you just want to literally stop and smell the giant rose like plants. As well as a vastness to the worlds that gives them tangibility. Visuals go a long way but thanks to a much needed modernization of the movement speed, it has never felt better to play on of these games offline or in online multiplayer. From the new Spartan charge, to the air dashes, you just have the feeling of being a powerful unstoppable soldier. Improved ADS (aim down sights) which allows you to hover in the air while aiming gives a new verticality to maps as well as a new way to attack during the campaign. 

Don’t let me stray you away from playing the campaign. It is fun, and makes you feel powerful.  It allows a progress to the overarching story, all-be-it not very much, what it does give makes you want more, and if a game is designed to make you want to come back for more or another installment then I believe it has served its purpose.

My favorite part of the Halo 5 is a mission where you play as Team Osiris. You and your team take a slip space portal to go find Chief and you end up on the side of a Guardian. As you teleport in you and the team begin falling down the Guardian you engage your mag boots and it is a rush to the bottom. The game reacts just the way you want it to, give you increased speed, and adding a floatiness to your jumps that gives the perception of flight. Meanwhile you are popping off head shots and Spartan charging Promethean's the whole way down. If you want to live a Halo power fantasy, that is the mission to do it on!

Halo is not just known for its campaign though, since Halo 2, Xbox live has allowed player to go online and face off against millions of other players to exert dominance in multiple game modes, and some of the most memorable maps in gaming history.

In this version of Halo’s multiplayer, we are given 3 game modes to start out with.  Arena, Breakout, & Warzone.  Area is the typical 4 v 4 slayer game types, with power weapon count downs, and the team with the most kills wins. Breakout, is a “Search and Destroy” like game type, where players have perma-death, and you work to kill off the enemy team, or deliver a flag from one team base to another to score victory. Both of these game types have had some sort of interaction in the past, but Warzone is the new kid on the block, and it is making some noise.

Warzone is a 12 v 12 game type with a point system, and a base capturing mechanic.  They have also gone through great lengths to give it a MOBA vibe. It is the best game mode in my opinion.  There are multiple ways to earn points in this game mode: first to 1,000 wins. Bases can be captured, to earn a steady stream of points. This will more than likely not win you the game. Another way which can turn the tide of a match in just a few seconds is a neutral AI that comes into play. The team who kills this AI will receive the points. The downside is no assist points or any sort of benefit come from draining the life bar. So whoever lands the last hit wins those points for their team. In addition to this, introduced for the first time is a, REQ level system. This is based off of how your team is preforming and well you are doing individually. These levels are used like EXP. Points which can be used to buy either, single use, or level dependent infinite use cards, all of which you ear through REQ packs. These packs consist of guns, vehicles, armor powers, & power ups. So start with a default load out set of an AR and a Magnum, these can be changed if you get the correct REQ cards. That being said this is just a shot in the dark.  Stories have been told of people never getting vehicles in the packs as well as being able to buy a rocket launcher only once in the multiple hours they have played this mode.

All-in-all Halo 5: Guardians is a solid Halo game. It has great elements in the story, as well as the best multiplayer in any Halo game. The updates are well used, and make the game feel totally different, while still giving you the charm that has been come to expect from a Halo game. The story, is short, and weak, and leaves so much to be desired. Overall, Halo has never looked better, never felt better, and has never had the better multiplayer experience.

Game Review Radio gives: Halo 5: Guardians 8.5 dead Grunts out of 10.

Pros: Stunning Visuals, Amazing Gun Play, Great Movement Advances & Best Multiplayer

Cons: Weak Story, Loose Ends & Under Developed Characters