Halo 5 finally arrived this past week, and after spending three days downloading it I finally got to spend some time with it during my day off.
I jumped into a few Arena matches and got my butt handed to me again and again. I think I probably have three kills total in the Arena so far. The Halo 5 multiplayer experience feels very chaotic compared to the games I spent the most time with (CE through Reach). All of the player chatter and weapon spawns make the game feel very busy, maybe too much so. I have to admit, I didn’t really play Halo 4, so maybe this is what Halo feels like now. I’m sure I can get used to it.
The Breakout mode was my favorite from the beta, and I think it’ll be one of my favorite game types in Halo 5. Breakout is a series of rapid rounds in which each member of your team only has one life and you win the round by either capturing a flag or by eliminating the enemy team. The mode is an absolute blast and almost every match I’ve played has felt close.
Warzone is a massive 24 player mode that also features AI combatants and bosses. It feels like it borrows a bit from Titanfall, while also from games like League of Legends. You gain points for holding territory and killing enemy Spartans, but you also gain points for taking out AI combatants and bosses that spawn into the map. Warzone also allows players to use requisitions, which are similar to Titanfall’s burn cards. You can get special weapons or bonuses by using requisitions, and you unlock additional requisition packs as you play multiplayer or via in game purchases.
I only played one Warzone match and it seemed quite complicated and even more busy than the Arena multiplayer. I enjoyed it, but I felt entirely overwhelmed and mostly just ran around getting myself killed.
I played through the first five story missions today, and it’s been an incredible ride so far. I’m a little out of the loop having not gotten very deep into Halo 4, but I’ve felt invested in the story and its characters from the opening moments. The story itself has been incredibly action packed, and the ending of mission five is the stand out moment of the game so far.
Halo 5’s soundtrack is as epic as ever, quite the relief after 343’s split with Halo composer Marty O’Donnell. I’ve felt chills during intense moments in the game so far, mainly because of the powerful music that accompanies the on screen action. On a similar note, the sound effects in the game are incredible. Every gun is as much a joy to listen to as they are to shoot.
Everything about Halo 5 feels masterfully crafted, however as a Destiny fan I’ve felt myself comparing the gunplay between the two games. Halo 5’s guns certainly sound better than the guns of Destiny, but the act of shooting and downing enemies is still much more satisfying in Bungie’s Destiny over 343’s Halo. It may not be a fair comparison, but I can’t help but pit 343 and Bungie against each other. Despite not living up to Destiny’s quality, Halo 5’s shooting mechanics are by no means bad. Halo is certainly a very capable shooter, part of me just wishes it felt a bit more satisfying.
Bungie may have the edge when it comes to gunplay, but 343 wins hands down when it comes to storytelling. Halo 5’s cutscenes are sure to have your pulse pounding, and some of Master Chief’s lines will probably have a die hard Halo fan grinning from ear to ear. It’s not all about Master Chief, however, as a second fireteam led by Spartan Locke are equally as important. The new characters are well voiced and are incredibly charismatic and interesting. I’ve found myself just as excited to be playing as Locke as I was to step back into the Master Chief’s boots.
Halo 5’s use of two man fireteams is certainly interesting, however there are some issues if you’re playing with AI teammates. I’ve found the AI to be pretty terrible, especially when it comes to reviving downed teammates. The AI will drop everything to revive you if you call for help once downed, however this means they’ll just stand there allowing enemies to fill them with bullets in the process. As convenient as it is to have the chance to revive when downed instead of restarting at a checkpoint, it’s almost as frustrating to watch all three AI teammates die on top of you body during an intense gunfight.
I’m sure Halo 5’s four man teams shine when all three members are human players, however I haven’t had the chance to group up with anyone yet. I was disappointed to find that there is no matchmaking for co-op play, meaning you’ll have to coordinate with three other friends if you want to jump into co-op play. It would be nice if Halo 5 treated its co-op mode like Borderlands 2 or Diablo III where people could be matched into your game based on story progression at any given point.
So far I’ve enjoyed Halo 5 quite a bit. I can’t wait to get deeper into the story and also play some more multiplayer matches. I’m hoping to at least finish the story before Fallout 4 releases, however working 12 hours a day, six days a week leaves very little time for gaming. At the very least I should be able to finish the story during my next day off (Monday), before losing every bit of free time I have to Fallout 4!