Halo 5 Guardians is a great shooter with a bleak story!
Calling Halo 5: Guardians one of the most anticipated games of the year would be an understatement. This is the game that the Xbox One was built for, and certainly, this is the game people will buy an Xbox One. But is it worth all the hype? Has Halo 5: Guardians been subject to such hype that it is inevitably doomed to disappoint us? Well, we are about to find out!
Locke Vs Master Chief!
You don the role of two lead protagonists this time. The legendary Master Chief and the new Spartan on the block – Locke. The bummer is that you don’t control Master Chief for more than 30% to 40% of the game. The rest of the time you are controlling Locke. This isn’t such a bad thing since when it comes to gameplay mechanics, both characters follow the same. The visor view and weapon loadout however, is different.
Coming to the story, we have a plot that seems so complicated that newcomers will be totally lost. I have played Halo: The Master Chief collection which includes the first four games in the franchise and I’m still confused about the story. Put simply, Cortana gets in touch with Master Chief and having four games worth of emotional attachment with the AI, our green armoured hero sets off to find her. Spartan Locke is sent to find Master Chief and bring him in for disobeying a direct order. Now, if you are one that has seen all the promotional content of the game, then you would expect a big fight between the two Spartans. That doesn’t happen. No, I’m not spoiling the game for you, just preparing you for the inevitable. The ending of the game is a cliff-hanger, which will undoubtedly be answered in Halo 6.
Another problem with the game is that so far you have been a solo hero. Now, there are four Spartans per team (team Chief and team Locke). It is difficult to relate with the “family” feel that these characters bring for one another. There is no build up for it, nothing to signify how the four characters of each team have stuck together to build the family, nothing whatsoever.
The campaign in Halo 5 is short too. You can easily finish it in one day and that isn’t bad from a gameplay standpoint. The story may be complicated and the point may get lost in the process but what is great is the gameplay.
A truly great shooter
Coming to the gameplay of Halo 5, it’s great! Put simply, if you are looking for the perfect shooter, this is it. There is something about playing Halo on a console that makes it just fit! A great addition to the franchise is the fact that you can aim down the sights of every gun at your disposal making the gameplay much sweeter. The guns at your disposal are familiar from Halo 4 with the addition of a few new weapons, keeping the gameplay nostalgic as well as making it feel fresh.
The story of Halo 5 is action packed and a lot of fun. The levels are well designed and the opponents keep you on your toes. It’s no longer a game where you can stand in one corner, clear the room and move on. The enemy will flank you, spawn behind you and you will be forced to move around the arena and rethink your attack. The downside is that the AI companions aren’t as awesome as let’s say Quiet in MGS 5. They shoot, yes and in the lower difficulty, they even revive you when you are down but as you increase the difficulty of the single player campaign, the companion AI characters become less smart. The game was designed to be exploited in co-op and that’s where it shines. If you have three friends online there is nothing more entertaining than playing Halo 5 on the Xbox One. Too bad there is no local split-screen co-op, a feature which is dearly missed.
Moving to online, this is where it gets a whole lot better. Halo 5 is at its best when you play multiplayer. You have the standard array of 4-on-4 matches or survival of the fittest in death match and a new mode called Warzone. Now, the level design for the multiplayer maps is pretty good with each map hiding its own flagship weapon. There is enough verticality too in the game (multiple floors giving the advantage of height) so that you can take positions to flank and snipe your enemies.
Coming to the new multiplayer mode – Warzone, it is a 24-player massive-scale multiplayer mode where players battles with both friendly and enemy AI. The mode has a number of objectives, be it capture a particular post or take down a particular Forerunner’s boss in the area and more. The objectives at your disposal are always changing, making the gameplay very intense. I have an 8MBPS connection and the matchmaking, and online gaming was very smooth. No lags to complain about apart from a hiccup or two that happened courtesy my Internet connection.
There is nothing more immersive than that sound of the weapons firing in all directions in Halo 5. When the fight breaks out, and you run for cover, immersive sound only adds to the experience. Be it the rattle of a gun or the thud of a melee attack. When it comes to voice acting, the cast from the previous Halo games is back and they deliver everything you’d expect. There is however, the occasional annoying voice actor whom you will forget the minute the cutscene ends and that’s okay.
If you own an Xbox One and are a fan of first-person shooter games then Halo 5: Guardians is a must have for the collection. The only disadvantage is that the story is lackluster and I wish the campaign lasted for a few more hours, but that’s just me. The campaign is at its best when played with friends. The multiplayer just works and none of the problems that plagued the Master Chief collection are here.
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.