Without doubt, the Halo series is one of the biggest in the history of video games. Featuring a sci-fi heavy, action-packed concept, iconic characters, and fast-paced shooting, the Halo franchise has fans all around the world, and has spawned multiple spin-offs in other mediums (movies, comics, novels, as well as action figures).
The forthcoming Halo 5: Guardians has understandably grabbed the attention of gamers across the globe, and looks set to deliver another high-octane adventure filled with the series’ well-loved on-foot & vehicular blasting. As the second part of the Reclaimer Trilogy (which began with Halo 4, the biggest-selling title in the franchise) developed by 343 Industries following original team Bungie’s departure from Microsoft, Halo 5 will be exclusive to the Xbox One, making use of the system’s advanced functionality to bring fans an experience that should be bigger & better than ever.
All Hail the Chief
With the gaming market booming, and players having access to an unprecedented variety of titles to choose from, even Halo needs to adapt to maintain its position as one of the industry’s most popular games. To keep things fresh, 343 Industries is bringing more new elements to Halo 5 than with their previous title, and some may prove slightly controversial with some fans.
For a start, armour abilities, Ordinance drops, and loadouts have all been jettisoned – this is designed to create a leaner, cleaner experience, without the excess some found in the previous game. Spartans now also have thruster packs, which allow them to dash from side to side, or through the air, to evade incoming fire – it’s a powerful new move, which may take some getting used to but should definitely come in handy in intense shoot-outs.
Another new feature is the ability to use aim-down sights (ADS), which pulls a weapon in close, letting you aim along the barrel for greater accuracy; players can still move at the same speed, though, for picking enemies off more precisely as you run.
Speaking of weapons, some new options are up for grabs: the Hydra is a rocket launcher-like device that locks onto enemy vehicles before blowing them up in grand style, while Promethean Soldiers are new villains altogether: as a counter-measure to the Spartans, these are a real threat, even able to take control of your vehicle thanks to their impressive agility & strength. For new vehicular action, the Promethean Phaeton is an irresistible air-based machine, featuring shielding (for effective defence) and lasers.
How about the plot? Well, following the events of Halo 4, Master Chief himself has gone missing, and new-boy Jameson Locke is brought aboard to track him down. Fans who watched the Ridley Scott-produced series, Nightfall, will recognise Locke, whose origin story was explained in full live-action. Taking control of Locke is another refreshing change, but will fans warm to him as much as the established Master Chief? Only time will tell!
Multiplayer has always been key to the Halo experience, so how does the fifth main entry stack up so far?
There are now two different multiplayer game modes: Arena and Warzone, each offering a different type of battle. Arena, for example, includes such modes as Capture the Flag and Slayer – fast-paced blastathons featuring a great range of weapons. Wazone, on the other hand, is designed for epic skirmishes, with two teams of twelve Spartans taking each other on in a sprawling map. The aim is to seize control of three structures, which makes the enemy’s base vulnerable to attack for a victorious final assault. As players take enemies down, they earn points, and unlock the ability to call in various additions, such as mechs, vehicles, weapons, and even perks.
While the two teams fight, AI-controlled enemies (Wraiths, Covenant, Banshees, and more) will appear on the map, keeping the action fast-paced & unpredictable. Keeping your team alive long enough to score an overall win will be even trickier with additional bad guys on the map, so even hardcore fans will be kept on their toes.
Some fans have been upset by the announcement that the multiplayer modes have been stripped back – no offline functions will be available, with no split-screen capabilities or local networking options. This is a shame, given how many people likely became fans through playing on the same console with their friends up in their bedrooms, but with several petitions in circulation attempting to reverse these restrictions, the situation may well change.
So, all in all then, Halo 5: Guardians looks set to offer casual and hardcore fans alike a fun, refreshing-yet-faithful experience, filled with the excitement & large-scale warfare the series is known for. This will be released around the world on October 27th, so there’s not long to go now!
What do you think of Halo 5’s new features? Let us know below!