By: Richard Wilcox
Halo 5 takes the series to new heights, making this the best and most refined halo experience to date. Having come away from Halo 4 with extreme disappointment, I went into Halo 5: Guardians with small expectations and came out blown away.
The campaign, although fun to play, is probably the weakest part of the entire Halo 5 experience. The story, frankly, isn’t very strong. Although I am interested in Locke as a character and seeing what the future holds for him, he was a fairly boring protagonist to follow throughout the majority of the campaign. That being said, Chief isn’t that interesting in this story either, leaving the game without an interesting main protagonist for the player to really get behind. Some cinematics feel like tacked on afterthoughts, giving the player very little insight and an unfocused narrative. The moment to moment gameplay however is amazing, with an entire new arsenal of spartan abilities and weapons adding to the new and exciting ways to play.
Multiplayer is this game’s biggest strength, resonating with me in a way that no Halo ever has before. The new spartan abilities of the boost, ground pound, spartan charge and clambering completely change how multiplayer works and that’s a good thing. Halo needed a change in the multiplayer department since Reach, and 343 tried with Halo 4 to make that change but lost what made Halo feel like Halo. Thankfully this is a return to form for Halo, adding things to spice up the gameplay without compromising that distinct Halo feel. The new game type, Warzone, is a nice break from arena type gameplay, giving you large scale 12 v 12 MOBA type battles while mixing in the core halo gameplay you already know and love. The new REQ system is a cool metagame that adds to the multiplayer and keeps you playing, unlocking a plethora of new armor, helmets, and calling cards.
Arena Multiplayer gets the Halo franchise back to its roots, with fast, team based 4 v 4 action. This is honestly my favorite part of halo, sinking over 17 hours already into this section of the game alone. The new game mode Breakout adds what I think will be the new face of competitive Halo. Breakout is a game mode that takes a lot of influence from CounterStrike; you have 1 life, first team to win five rounds wins the game. You can win by eliminating the other team or taking a flag to the enemy base, which adds a depth of variety to gameplay. Especially in 4 v 1 situations.
Overall Halo 5 is an amazing experience. Aside from lackluster storytelling, the game is amazingly fun to play, with multiplayer being its shining achievement.