Halo 5: Guardians Review
REQ system is pretty neat
No 4 way split screen
No LAN play
Not the game that was promoted
For anyone who cant Watch the video, then the written review is below; cause im good like that:
SPOILER ALERT….SPOILER ALERT
Keep reading at your own peril…
Ok lets go
SHOTS FIRED, MAN DOWN
Ok first off I’m just going to come out and say it.. Halo 5 is not the game it was implied it would be or the game the reviewers would have you think it is.
It is not an 8 or a 9 out of 10, it’s a 7 and it’s a 7 at best because despite some pretty graphics, some nice new multiplayer modes and some increase in scale it failed to deliver on what was implied / promised in all the advertising and teasers and to compound this it took one the greatest assets this game franchise had, 4 way split screen and LAN play, and got rid of it, just so they could increase the FPS…..
The latter I found out about before playing the game and it left me feeling slightly annoyed…
Halo for me is two things, 1. the campaign ( which I will talk about later) and 2. Getting a bunch of mates around, getting 4 TVs, having a few beers, eating cheesy poofs and running in to the next room and mocking your downed foe.
For 14 years now and with nearly every incarnation of the game it’s has been the same, 4 TVs, 4 Xboxes, my house and the coveted halo trophy but not this time… Sure we could play over the Internet but it isn’t the same, nothing compares to having a halo LAN Party, nothing, it truly is an amazing day / night and that was taken from me, quite unceremoniously and I still don’t know how I feel about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Halo online with my mates and I do actually like the new multiplayer ( again something I will talk about later) but it’s not the same, I’m not a huge Online Multiplayer FPS sort of guy and when I do play I like to play with friends, not a group of joyless WAACs , smack talking, racist, pubescents or people who’s interest is singular glory and not team play; I’m all about team play.
I’m not the worst halo player in the world, that award probably goes to my sister, and I do like a good win, but a good win amongst friends, who can take the humour, enjoy the laugh and who are all of similar level s of play…
Taking away split screen and saying it wasn’t going to have a patch adding it was nearly a deal breaker.. If it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted to make it through the campaign and see if the chief saves cortana or not I don’t think I would have bought it…
HUNT THE TRUTH….OR PLAY THE LIE.
Halo is in my blood, has been since it first changed the face of First person shouters in 2001 and I have loyally followed, fought and bleed halo for 14 years now, fighting with the Masterchief and cortana the whole way; obviously with stints in between like reach and ODST
Having played all of the games from start to finish, and having been through all the ups and downs as if they were my own experiences, I was really looking forward to jumping into the Chiefs boots once more and searching for cortana, his,… our faithful AI, friend, and in a weird super soldier AI way.. Maybe something even more.
Th Chief and Cortana have a complex relationship but one that has progressed and evolved over the years, one which culminated in a truly touching final cut scene at the end of halo 4.
The Chief and Cortana for all intents and purposes love each other, be it a deep friendship or be it more they have been through and sacrificed so much and from what were being shown by initial trailers, it seemed as if Chief would go through anything, even apparently turning his back on the UNSC and would be hunted down by new halo protagonist, Spartan Locke…. But this was not the case.
What the advertising campaign and what all the peripheral pod casts and material promised / implied and what you get are two completely different things…
You are promised a choice, between new, company man, Spartan Locke and the chief. Do you fight forward, disobey orders and look for Cortana or do you follow the party line and bring in the chief.
It is implied there will be options, tough choices, things to be discussed… But apart from a small bit of insubordination from the chief when he’s told to go back to the infinity and a small fraka with him and Locke, that’s it? Why is he a traitor like all the adverts and pod casts said, why was he reported dead and why the frack can you only play the chief in a poultry 3 missions?!
I understand that they wanted to bring in a new protagonist, with Locke, add some depth to the series. Which in not adverse to, noble team I got behind, felt for but Halo 5s campaign just left me a bit meh. I didn’t care about Locke or his team and I didn’t have enough time to care about the Chiefs team.
Also after such a heart wrenching end to halo 4, what I was left with in 5 was confusion and annoyance… Something I could go into for hours but will reframe from as I fear this review is already long enough.
In short I didn’t get what I felt I wanted, what I was promised or what I deserved as a faithful halo fan and player.
This is all very reminiscent of my views on the destiny campaign and ironically I have a feeling that all the changes that we are seeing and the way the game has panned out, are a reaction to just that, destiny. Bungie after all created halo, and so with one swift thrust from their developers sword could kill it to by superior game play.
This obviously spooked 343 and what we were left with was a reactionary title, that seems to have lost its way somewhat.
THE SAVING GRACES
Ok now I know I be spent a long time now having a bit of a rant about this game, and I feel it is justified, based in all the time and money I have spent on the franchise. Buuuutt, despite the previous, it isn’t a bad game, it’s just annoying it doesn’t give what it promised.
Anyway here is what I quite liked about the game, outside of my fan boy rage.
The campaign maps are all pretty huge, have lots of enemies and have various ways you can traverse around them to get to your objectives, this is great for flanking enemies and gives your team a chance to space out and not be directed down one small corridor..
This being said if you are playing with AI companions and not real players be ready to be frustrated because, despite a nice option to direct the team around using your D – Pad, they are pretty thick and will die… A lot, especially in the higher difficulties, something that is doubly annoying because you have a revive option now but you need a team mate to do that and half the time they are either not paying attention or will run a direct route to revive you, only to be mown down by a promethium knight.
AI in halo has never been great anyway but when you are relying on them to actually help you, it does become somewhat frustrating.
Big tip.. No matter how amazing you think you are, don’t drop into the campaign on legendary mode unless you are willing to die all the time, start over a lot and progress through the missions at snails pace; I have a feeling legendary is very much the domain of coop because your AI ran mates will not revive you very much and you will die.. Die again… And die some more.
To complete the game, I reduced the difficulty to heroic, which despite only being the next hardness down, is ALOT easier. Completed the game in a day and a half, compared to completing 2 levels in the same time on legendary.
Another great thing about the campaign and will hopefully add some replay ability to it, is the reintroduction of Skulls and Intel gathering. This will have you wondering all over the map searching high and low.
While you are there you can take in some of the breath taking scenery because it is pretty
Epic and does give you s sense of scale.
WHATS GONE AND WHAT’S STILL HERE
Well on top of the aforementioned team mates, revivals and commands there are a few extra additions to the game that are worthy of note:
First and foremost there is a clamber button…gone are the days that you try and jump to that ledge, miss and fall to your doom. Now, as long as you are close to the ledge and you press the jump button you will clamber up and there are lots of boxes, crates and ledges for you to do this on.
On top of this you also have a boost and dodge button, which gives you a blast of your jump pack to either push you slightly further or to dodge out of the way.
Melee combat still has its generic and satisfying gun butt to the back of the head and assassinations but it also now has a new thing, a boosted shoulder charge that lets you also crash through some scenery and a ground and pound option which lets you jump into the air and then come down with fists of fury, knocking enemies hither and tither.
Weapons are all pretty much standard fare from what you got in halo 4 BUT all weapons have had a boost and your shields and health do not last as long as they used too, especially with battle riffles. Conversely enemies also go down a lot quicker and with there being so many of them, it’s a good thing too.
Enemies, as stated are many and again pretty much what you got from halo 4, though there are some additions to the promethean Knights who need to have their armour knocked off first and then shot from behind and the warden bosses are a huge challenge as they are pretty much invulnerable from the front and can only be killed by shooting them from behind.
Finally, and a small thing I know, but there doesn’t seem to be any fall damage anymore… Which, for a guy who was always falling off buildings when shooting or running away, is a relief…
Note though, if you fall off an area that has no bottom you will die and, apparently cause Spartans can’t swim you can’t go in the sea either.
I won’t go back into the lack of split screen / LAN capability again but multiplayer, is, despite my protestations still pretty good, although, again going back to what I said earlier, you can see the reactionary development in the warzone maps, which are very destiny in ways, replete with NPCs, and world bosses.
There are two types of multiplayer modes: Arena and Warzone
Arena is petty much what you would expect from a halo multiplayer experience, with small Maps ( some familiar ones) weapons lying around in specific areas to find ( with power weapons appearing from time to time), different game types. Swat, slayer, king of the kill, capture the flag etc.
Warzone on the other hand is kind of like big team battle. 12 v 12 but on huge maps with two game types: one with AI NPCs / enemies, a la destiny and one which looks more recognisable from previous halo excursions with an assault defend mechanic. Both are rather addictive to play and both use the new REQ system.
Now experience and levelling up has been in the halo series for a while now, giving you new armour, upgrades and new weapon loadouts. Where the REQ system differs is that you build up REQ points that allow you to buy Rewards… These come in the form of decks of cards that give you permanent additions, like armour, stances, weapon skins and assassinations, and one offs like in game boosts to req points, weapons, vehicles, speed etc. and because 343 are awesome like that, they allow you to buy REQ points, very generous of them.
A good point about req points and the game in general on multiplayer is unlike COD and such games where you unlock weapons and keep them when you level up, Halos war zones you have to gain points each game to let you earn the right to use them and you can only use specific things based on the in game level you have earned… This is not the over all level you earned, just the in map one that lets you use REQ cards.
To start with I wasn’t overly keen to be honest but I like that, as has always been in halo, everyone is on a power weapon and bonus wise and to gain more it’s down to you earning it in each game.
So there you have it. Halo 5.. A game I was excited for, a game I wanted to be a whole lot more and a game that for me dos not deliver. The halo Fan boy in me wanted to give it a big fat 10 but the embittered customer and franchise faithful in me can’t let slide what was a pretty deceptive marketing campaign and the fact that one of the big reasons I love halo so much, is gone.
Did the 60fps matter, to me not really.. Cold I have lived with 30fps and split screen… You’re damn right I could!
General thoughts: I think They should have either stuck with the traitor or not theme and let you chose a team to fight with or at least made the missions more equal to at least give you the sense of it.
With regards to the reaction to destiny, why not have a spin of game, along the same lines, 4 player teams, MMORPG type thing, ‘hunting for the truth’ using Spartan fire teams.. Sure it’s a more brazen copy of destiny but we all kinda know that’s the angle warzone was going for right.
Anyway, all in all, and as much as it pains me to do this, I’m going to give halo 5 a slightly above average geek pride 3.5/5