Today was the first day of PAX East 2015 and we saw a handful of some new games being released just on the horizon. One of the standout booths from day one was Microsoft. Within the Microsoft booth, laid out nicely in front of the Exibition Hall, was a sectioned off area which held what is sure to be one of this year’s most popular AAA titles. That game is none other than Halo 5: Guardians by developer 343 Industries. As a longtime Halo fan, this had to be my first stop of the day.
Jumping back into the Halo series’ distinct arena-style multiplayer was both disorienting(at first) and refreshing. But it didn’t take me too long to get back into the swing of things as I ended up getting grabbing a Killing Frenzy medal(10 kills without dying) by the end of the game. The map I played on can only be described as a small and simple arena type map, built to perfectly house 4-8 players. Though the size of the map was excellent, the map’s design left a bit to be desired as it seemed to be a little light on the ambience and attention to detail that Halo fans expect from their multiplayer maps.
Halo 5: Guardians takes the same Halo chemistry we’ve come to expect and adds minor changes to gameplay to help make the game seem fresh and a bit more modern. First and foremost, is the change to how zooming in works. Typically in Halo games, when a player hits the zoom button, the screen will zoom in and your weapon will disappear off screen, showing only the redicle. However in Halo 5, when a player zooms in, the screen will keep the weapon on-screen and can be closely compared to Call of Duty or Battlefield style aiming. This has been a rather controvercial change as some fans have voiced their concerned that Halo is losing it’s individuality and signature look.
Speaking of Call of Duty, Halo 5: Guardians is also adding the ability to vault your spartan over ledges and walls. This is an interesting addition as it makes moving and jumping around the maps easier and more fluid. The ability to vault over objects can help the player to easily make it though jumps that they otherwise couldn’t make, opens up more routes to reach their objectives, and provides new ways to flank enemy combatants.
Returning weapons include: DMR, BR, Light Rifle, Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, and Rocket Launcher. Most of the returning weapons have not changed much in terms of functionality, the exception being the Assault Rifle, which now has a zoom-in feature. The rocket launcher has gotten itself a facelift. Though it doesn’t affect how the weapon works, I feel the change is worth mentioning since the rocket launcher hasn’t ever recieved such a massive overhaul in appearance since Halo: CE was released in 2000.
Guns aren’t the only things returning for another round. Returning from Halo 4 is sprinting. Sprinting is unlimited and can be used when you see fit. Also returning is the boost ability. The boost, much like the sprint in the transition between Halo: Reach to Halo 4, was made as part of your spartan’s standard loadout in Halo 5: Guardians. Meaning that the boost has gone from an armor ability that you could choose to give to your spartan, to something that already comes readily available to use at any time.
Though the chemistry has changed a bit, Halo 5: Guardians is still a Halo game at heart. If you can manage to look beyond the tiny changes made in the gameplay, you will truly enjoy playing Halo 5’s multiplayer. It’s pretty difficult to screw up a tried and true multiplayer like Halo, and it’s doubtful that Halo 5 will disappoint a true Halo fan.