Halo 5 is the latest in the long-running, super successful FPS franchise that started way back in 2001. Despite it only being the fifth title to gain a full version number, there’s been supplementary titles along the way. Developed by 343 Industries, Halo 5: Guardians is a relentless battle that will absolutely leave you out of breath.
Typically the stories of video games, like movies and songs, have moments of intensity and moments of reflection that allows the audience to take stock of the epic moment they just encountered. Playing through Halo 5’s campaign took longer than expected, with between 15 and 20 hours of level after a level. Cut scenes can be skipped, but are absolutely gorgeous, so you probably won’t want to.
I’ve never felt particularly engaged with the story of Halo’s campaign, despite the relationship and struggles of the now famous Cortana, who’s name can now be found in Windows 10 on the desktop and phone. Halo 5 really wasn’t much different in this respect, I never found myself particularly caring why I was on a mission, just enjoyed the fact that I was and embraced the challenges, often large and long battles.
One of the best moments I experienced during the single player play through was when the AI jumped into a warthog and began attacking me. The mongoose is also upgraded and now has weapons which makes it not only great for fast getaways, but actually useful on the battlefield now.
Getting access to the game early was certainly beneficial to understand the single player campaign which I managed to finish, however the multiplayer is not something I was to experience extensively given the relatively few people who had early access. It’s a great problem to have and something I’ll resolve by updating this review over time.
Popular games like Halo are often ones that test the networking infrastructure of the game and in the past we’ve seen many stumble. Halo which is published by Microsoft has the advantage of being run on Azure to scale with the certain large demand as the game launches internationally. It’s really not fair to evaluate the success of reliability, performance or matchmaking until the game’s official release.
With that said, there are multiple options for Multiplayer in Halo 5. Arena, Warzone, Custom games and Theatre. Some playlists have level restrictions to make sure it’s a noob free zone which isn’t a bad idea.
A key feature of Halo 5 is the upgraded player and weapon customisation, something now expected after titles like Call of Duty upped the game. Thankfully Halo 5 does well to offer gamers the ability to select from Helmets, visors, armor, weapons skins and more.
These are unlocked as you progress through the levels in multiplayer.
Something you’ll notice in the first few minutes of playing the game is how much the weapons move and transform during operation now. Not just zooming in on a target often morphs the weapon into a zoom mode where multiple components actually reposition as to not obscure your view, while also looking amazing. Most of the gun internals glow which is only added to when you pull the trigger.
The environments in Halo 5 are nothing short of stunning. There were times I was distracted only to be shot by the enemy, which quickly got my attention back on the task at hand. As you move through the single player, you’ll have many, many ‘wholy crap’ moments and many of the enemies are at an equally epic proportion.
Price and Availability
Halo 5: Guardians is available from 12:01 am tomorrow (27/10/15 AEST) and if you’re a Halo fan, chances are you’ve already got the download ready and waiting for the launch time to tick over. If you haven’t, you’ll by downloading 50GB+ before entering the battlefield. Currently my game and game data is sitting at 54.8GB.
The game is available exclusively on Xbox One and will cost you A99.95 RRP for the standard version. There’s also a digital deluxe edition that’ll cost you A137.70 and contains 14 Premium REQ or requisition packs that provide customisation of your character and weapons in the game.
Determining if you should buy a game or not is usually difficult, however in the case of Halo 5, things are easy. If you’ve played Halo before, any version, you’ll love Halo 5. It does everything right to keep fans of the franchise very, very comfortable and happy, while adding just enough to keep things feeling fresh and interesting.
If you’re not a fan of first person shooters, this is unlikely to be the title to bring you into the Halo family. For money, this is easily the best Halo yet.