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Halo 5: Guardians Review

Here it is, the 2nd iteration of 343 Industries new Halo trilogy. After the complete mess that was The Master Chief Collection you would be forgiven for thinking that they don't know how to make a working game. But can they get it right this time?

Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Format: Xbox One
Release Date: October 27th
Copy provided by the publisher
The campaign here is different from your typical Halo game. First and foremost is the absence of Master Chief. You will only get to control him for 3 missions out of the 15 missions on offer. This could easily be a put off for some people as Master Chief is definitely the face of Halo. However if you can look past that you are in for a treat. The cutscenes are the first thing you will see in the game and they not only look beautiful but a couple of them are insanely badass to watch! Once you actually get control the graphics still look amazing, they are obviously not the quality of the cutscenes but they make the game one of the best looking on the system. The movement has been completely reworked for this entry in the series too. It feels really fluid (which is helped hugely by the 60 frames per second the game is rocking) and mechanics like mantle and thrusters make it a joy to move around in battle. The gunplay also feels incredibly smooth. I honestly think this is the best gunplay I have experienced in a game to date. Again, the 60fps compliments it extremely well.

Another change is many of the weapons. Before there was clearly weapons better than others and getting a suppressor was a kick in the jewels, but in Halo 5 many of the weapons have been reworked to be a viable tool in your adventure. Carbines and other precision weapons are still preferable to me but I'll take anything with bullets now! Certain things have changed visually also, with things like the scorpion, battle rifle and many many many more items getting a facelift and boy do they look cool now!

Now I could drool all over the campaign all day at it's core mechanics, but unfortunately this game is not without some issues. First off is if you are the kind of person who likes to play solo. The AI here is some of the dumbest I have seen in a long time. A good comparison is the AI for Shiva in Resident Evil 5. Calling them to you to pick you up will often see then instead running around in circles, or ordering them to a location only holds for about 5 seconds before they are running around again. They really are like untrained puppies. However, so long as you don't die yourself you don't need to worry about too much. The past Halo games didn't have AI squad mates and playing by yourself was fine. Here, if you simply ignore them you will have a very similar experience.

Story wise the game is great. I won't go into heavy spoilers, but the marketing for the game is VERY misleading. The game doesn't feature teh hunt you were perhaps expecting. This is probably intentional with the whole "Hunt the Truth" tagline. However the story was very engaging and kept my attention all the way until the final credit roll (and yes there IS a special legendary ending!). However this is very much a double edged sword, the story really gets going right as it ends (much like Halo 2) and I am left longing for a conclusion. One particular section to note is the opening to Mission 13, I won't spoil it, but I found myself screaming "WOOOO" throughout. However it seems that this section came at a price. There is no hectic vehicle escape section that were always SOOO much fun to play in previous titles, especially Halo 3's!

All in all though the campaign is an incredible experience and one I would recommend to any shooter fan. I personally have not been a huge Halo guy with the exception of 3 and I have to say, this is a great game, and has me much more invested in the series. ROLL ON HALO 6!

Multiplayer is arguably the most important part of any Halo game and 343 knows that. The MP here is incredibly well polished and a absolute joy to play. I do have to confess though that I am probably not the best person to ask about Halo MP in particular since, like I said before, I haven't been a huge Halo guy. But I do enjoy a handful of shooters online and I can easily see this being one of them. The movement and gunplay are just as amazing as they are in the campaign an that is the biggest part of it being great.

There is other great things though. There are 2 types of Multiplayer on offer, 4v4 Arena and 12v12 Warzone. Arena is were you will find the more traditional multiplayer with set loadouts and the age old game modes like slayer and capture the flag. This is where I think the most fun is to be had with the Multiplayer, with the best game modes being SWAT and Breakout. Breakout is one of the new modes introduced in Halo 5 and pits 2 teams of 4 against each other in a game of capture the flag on a very tight map. The difference here though is there is no respawns, so you can either capture the flag or kill their whole team and first to 5 rounds win. Another new gamemode is Strongholds. This one is much like Domination from other games in that there are 3 areas to capture and hold. The twist is that you only score points if you hold the majority of the points. The maps are also pretty small which makes the points change hands pretty often and makes for a hectic, but fun, game.

Warzone is a departure from the traditional Halo MP. Here you are pitted 12 on 12 with huge maps to run around in and 5 capture points and 2 bases. You start out taking your own base from a group of AI enemies. From here you go out into the rest of the map and try and take and hold as many points as possible while killing the enemy team. Bonus points are awarded if you manage to kill one of the bosses that periodically on the map. These come in 2 varieties, normal and legendary, with the latter scoring you much more. The points go to whichever team gets the final bullet in the enemy, which can be really annoying if your team does all the work and the other team shows up to take the glory.

While the this is all going on you REQ level will increase depending on how well you are doing. Depending on what level you are you can call in various supplies, from guns to vehicles to armour power ups. To have these available you need to have the card, which you get from packs. These packs come in Gold, Silver and Bronze and yes you can buy them with real money. However they are pretty easy to get without spending a dime and buying a lot with real money won't help out a whole lot since you have to use the energy earned in game to deploy them. There are 2 ways to win this game mode, first is by scoring 1000 points, which come from kills, killing bosses and holding points. The other (potentially quicker) way is to take ALL the points and destroy the core in there base. There is undoubtedly a lot of variety on offer in this mode.

There is another flavour of  Warzone that is almost identical to the Rush mode found in the Battlefield series. One team on attack and one on defend, the attackers must take the other teams base and once they do they can move onto the next. Take both bases and you get to push up onto the defenders core, destroy this for victory. The defenders must just hold one of the areas for 6 minutes to win.

On a whole the Multiplayer is fantastic, I personally think that Arena is a LOT more fun than Warzone, but they both are a lot of fun to play. As a more casual online shooter player, this multiplayer is a ton of fun and incredibly each to just pick up and play.

Halo 5: Guardians is an absolutely fantastic game with so much entertainment on offer. After the train wreck that was Master Chief Collection, 343 had a lot to make up for. I am incredibly happy to say that they have made up for it and them some. With great mechanics and graphics an engaging story, the campaign is not to be missed. The multiplayer is also an incredible amount of fun and should give players new and old a great experience. In short, play Halo 5, it's awesome!

+Arena Multiplayer
-Stupid AI
-Lack of an intense vehicle sequence

9/10 "Amazing"

What I Played: I Spent around 35 hours playing through the campaign on both Solo Legendary and Co-op Heroic killing over 4000 enemies. A further 15 hours was spent in the games multiplayer modes. I unlocked 62 of the 65 achievements on offer.
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