Halo is Back With A Bang

So unless you live under a rock or for some strange reason have no interest in first person shooters, you’ll already know that Halo 5: Guardians was released to the public on Tuesday.

I am yet to get my hands on a copy but I must admit as a big fan of Halo when Bungie produced it, I was skeptical at the idea of another game in the series since 343 industries have been more involved. The fact is, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed a Halo game since Halo 3. ODST (2009) and Reach (2010) really did kill it a bit for me. Obviously these were only spin offs of our beloved Spartan’s story but their existence definitely wouldn’t be missed by many fans. I believe the my general reaction to them went something like this:

However, Guardians seems to have taken the world by storm but not in the way that was expected. Personally, I expected to it to flood all of my social network feeds and to basically know the storyline within 24 hours. This was not the case.

Instead, gamers are predominantly focusing on the new online experience that the game provides. Halo 5: Guardians is built in an entirely different way to its predecessors. It is completely designed to be enjoyed with friends. Of course this has always been a strong-point for the Halo franchise due to its cooperative campaign and vast multiplayer levels that provide hours and hours of fun.

343 has built upon these elements by adding two extra players to the campaign so four players can play cooperatively. However, this comes at a bitter price, unlike previous games, Halo 5’s co-op features cannot be played locally and will require an Xbox Live Gold membership to play. Gone are the days of  going around a friends to indulge in endless hours of alien squashing fun. R.I.P splits screen. No wonder child obesity is on the rise…

The end is nigh.

New features also include new smart aim function, allowing the player to aim down the sights of any weapon without a scope, the return of ‘The Forge’ which will be available in December. ‘The Forge’ allows players to customise maps (a personal favourite of mine).

The introduction of a thruster pack (Shown below) which allows the player to climb up ledges, hover in the air for a short period, slide on the ground while shooting, strike the ground to create a shockwave, and make a rapid dash to take cover or attack an enemy.

And last but certainly not least, along with classics such as ‘Slayer’ and ‘Capture The Flag’, an entire new multiplayer mode called ‘Warzone’ graces our consoles, in which two teams of 12-players fighting on a huge map, alongside both friendly and enemy AI. Sounds awesome to me!

So lets take a look at the difference in graphics, it’s certainly come a long way since Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) but not hasn’t exactly been improved drastically since Halo 4 (2012), despite having the power of a new console behind it.

Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) Halo 4 (2012)
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Halo 5: Guardians (2015)

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It seems to me that more time was taken to add in new features rather than focus on improved visuals. However, IGN seem to think otherwise…

“In almost every way, Halo 5: Guardians is bigger than the already large and excellent games that came before it.” – IGN

Despite the minor disappointment in visuals, as an Xbox user, it makes me happy that those that call themselves “players” are in fact not playing this at all. Instead they have to wait for Uncharted 4 to be released. Until then, they’ll have to continue to pretend like they don’t care.

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