Real Talk By: Vex
The Halo franchise is considered one of the richest stories in gaming. One would think that after such a long run we would be burned out. The way I’m going to be reviewing this game, is not so much in the normal format, but more so as an experience. After having beaten Halo 4, the anticipation for 5 was through the roof. I wondered what direction could they take now after the ending of the last game. On the night of launch the hype was real, came home popped in the disc only to have the joy diminished by install times. You would think that at the point in technology where we are, they would figure out better means of jumping right in. After waiting almost 45 minutes, I finally got a chance to play but a little less energetic i’ll admit.
Upon starting the campaign initially I couldn’t help but think the cinematics were great, and had high expectations for the rest of the game. As I progressed through the first level, I noticed the visuals were smooth, but not necessarily better. I think we live in a time when companies listen too much to fanboy talk on the Internet, setting unreachable standards. Every game doesn’t have to be 1080p 60 frames per second. Why am I not absolutely wild by the graphics, and the gameplay? This is Microsoft’s absolute flagship series. No excuses.
The game plays nice, the abilities (Ground Pound and Dash maneuvers) continue to improve and what has felt great in the beta, felt even better in the campaign. The Enemy A.I. is smart as it gives players some stiff competition. However, with the new revival system in-place the challenge has been reduced (even on Legendary). Where there was potential to innovate they dropped the ball. The Developers utilized one boss continuously, leading the way for repetitive and annoying showdowns. The obvious short cuts taken by 343 hindered what could have otherwise an almost perfect campaign.
Your AI teammates seem to be more frustrating than helpful. H5 developers mentioned that their dialogue was to enrich the story through gameplay. However, they fell flat in this department outside of the Nathan Fillion voiced “Buck”. We purchased a main Halo title to play as Master Chief. If he’s not going to be in a big chunk, have more impactful characters to fill the void. Spartan Locke is far too generic. False advertising all around. With a franchise of this caliber, they clearly have too many chefs stirring the pot. You can tell by the way the campaign ended it seemed uninspired. Someone should send 343 a memo, they shouldn’t repeat the cliffhanger effect that was Halo 2. There should have been a more palpable ending.
With campaign out of the way, I then proceeded to play Arena which I really enjoyed in the beta. Much to my surprise, they took a different approach With the actual game release, due to the inclusion of Warzone. Folks who don’t play this mode have to suffer from it. Development clearly went into the three major Warzone stages. The outside modes get boring really quick as you’ll keep seeing the same ones over and over.
Given Halo’s experience for matching players, it has only gotten worse with time. You get matched up against players that are nowhere near your skill level just making matches extremely frustrating. The approach that 343 has taken has really let a lot of players down. They’ve gone far as hiring douche bags from MLG to alter the flow of the game which really hurt it. Radar in the game was altered due to the so-called MLG experts. Now its like there’s barely any radar at all. It’s useless. The assault rifle is ridiculously overpowered, and hit detection is off. Seems like they turned up the auto assistance which makes things frustrating .
I’m sad to say this is by far the worst Halo I have ever played. The beta was enjoyed a lot more. It seems that they have lost touch with their roots, and have completely ignored the majority of players for a minority of competitive ones. They didn’t include forge mode at launch and took away Big Team Battle for Warzone. There’s no real sense of scale, or skill when everybody is camping.
Halo has remained on top in-part by its narrative. Expectations should be held-high, considering the legacy this series has led. The key components that have driven this franchise, seem to have been neglected or misused. Some of the gameplay tweaks work, while others have fell far below the standard set long ago.
Halo 5 Guardians Gets
3.5 Out of 5
-Odd Multiplayer Choices