The Halo universe is easily Microsofts biggest franchise to date. The game that launched with the Xbox into stardom brought us an epic sci-fi shooter and of course the hero that is Master Chief. Like with any sci-fi story set in the future, there is so much to the Halo universe that it can be truly overwhelming at the best of times. It’s one of those games that every fan will claim to understand and follow and still be missing parts of the story.
Halo 5 unlike the number suggests is actually the tenth game within the Halo franchise. While games like Halo Wars, Spartan Assault and Spartan Strike weren’t FPS games, they still offered an insight into the Halo universe. Halo 5 also sees the return of playable characters from the Halo 3: ODST game, but now as Spartans.
The original trilogy of Halo put simply, saw Master Chief against the covenant alien race – whereas the covenant believed activating the Halo would lead to salvation, but in turn actually leads to annihilation of all living creatures within a certain range. Through the first three games John 117 is successful in destroying the threat that the Halo structures brought, and that of the flood, but in doing so, is left stranded in deep space with Cortana on the Forward unto dawn ship.
Halo 4 in short, sees Master Chief go up against the Didact, who is a Forerunner warrior who composed himself into a machine as a way to overcome The flood. The Didact using the composer converted humans into digital beings called Prometheans. The Didacts wife had trapped him on the planet and wished to protect humans. She aids Master Chief by accelerating his evolution and making him immune to the composer effects.
The Didact sets out with the composer in an attempt to convert Earths population into his army. Master Chief and Cortana are able to thwart his plans by detonating a Nuke aboard the Didacts ship. Cortana saves chief, but ultimately sacrifices herself. Master Chief is left mourning the the loss of Cortana.
Halo 5 Campaign
The Story of Halo 5 sees the playable aspects split between Fireteam Osiris and Blue Team. Fireteam Osiris takes most of the screen time, in fact, they take a good portion of the playable aspects. That being said, the story is still focused on Master Chief and Blue Team.
Fireteam Osiris are previous ODST’s now Spartans. While Blue Team is led by Master Chief. Still mourning the loss of Cortana, Chief is on an endless mission after mission.
The first mission for Fireteam Osiris is the recovery of Dr Catherine Halsey, who claims to have information on the massive destruction of 5 different planets due to forerunner technology.
The excitement for Halo 5 is pretty much set with the first cinematic. Dr. Halsey leaves us with very mysterious message, and then Fireteam Osiris are given their mission briefing to retrieve her. The cinematic continues to show the new spartan team kicking all kinds of ass on the Convenant before finally dropping in and giving the player control.
Let’s talk about the gameplay before getting more into the story.
The first Halo game on the Xbox One takes Halo gameplay up a notch. While the entire gameplay gives the Halo feel – we get a more fast paced and more traditional FPS title.
343 Industries biggest change is the addition of ADS (Aim down sights) which may seem like a small step for an FPS title, it’s pretty huge for a Halo game.
The ADS on most guns are featured by way of a hologram being projected out of the gun, which some may display your bullet count. The guns feel more like guns and taking out enemies has never felt so good in a Halo game. Cudos to 343!
However, this does come at a price, as ADS takes out any form of dual wielding, which some will no doubt see as misstep, but ultimately ADS is far superior for shooting and more fun overall.
A new addition to Fireteam Osiris loadout is ATS (Artemis Tracking System). this allows players to scan a certain radius and discover items like Weapons, ammo, vehicles, and thankfully Intel. It also displays your current objective, although Master Chief and Blue Team have that ability, but do not have ATS.
The game also contains a few specialty weapons randomly located throughout the campaign, all with unique names such as The Answer(Saw), The Didact Signet (Shotgun), Twin jewels of Maethrillian (Dual beam rifle) and Nornfang (Sniper). These weapons will provide an extra force to deal with your enemy.
Overall a lot of the Halo campaign gameplay is much the same and still offers that great Halo feel. The added ADS and Artemis along with a more fast paced game style do contribute to a short campaign with the duration being no longer than 5 hours with cinematics. That being said, it takes more than twice as long to finish it on legendary and the game easily offers a lot of replay-ability with skulls and co-op.
Story (Spoilers ahead)
That brings us to the story of Halo 5. Halo 4 left us with the loss of a great character, but let’s be honest, we all know that Cortana would return, and boy has she.
As we mentioned earlier, Catherine Halsey is being retrieved by Fireteam Osiris as she has information on the massive destruction of five different planets by forerunner technology.
As chief is mysteriously contacted by Cortana, he and the rest of Blue Team go AWOL in an attempt to find her. Fireteam Osiris are then retasked with finding Blue Team and bringing them back to the UNSC Infinity.
Halsey reveals that the destruction of the planets is being caused by the forerunner technology called Guardians. As Blue Team are led to meridian, they discover a buried guardian, which begins to ascend and jump into slip space with Blue Team on board.
Moving on with Blue Team, we discover that Cortana ended up in slip space and arrived at the forerunner planet called Genesis. Here she found the domain – a forerunner network that spans the galaxy. Entering the domain cured her rampancy, and from there she plotted to assume the mantle of responsibility.
Most of the missions are playable as Fireteam Osiris with Blue Team having only three missions – these missions however, are more pinnacle to the story of Halo 5 and how it progresses is mostly well balanced. That being said, Chief should always be more playable in any Halo game.
Getting straight down to it, it’s clear that the story of Halo 5 like all mid trilogy titles is a mark up for the next game. The story is short, but it’s also to the point and mostly easy to follow. The story does have essence of mystery that left us really wanting more and more. The story progressed naturally, and each mission revealed more and more, but the end we were still pinning for more. Simply because it was so good.
Halo 5’s story could of suited being longer, but still manages to hit the sweet spot of awesome, badass, and the excitement it brings for more Halo. Like always, Halo offers a significant level of replay-ability with solo/coop legendary and of course skulls for that extra insane challenge.
Halo 5 is the breath of life that the Halo franchise needed. 343 industries have taken their steps onto the next gen with a nice big swinging of the hammer. Halo 5 still offers the overwhelming story with kickass heroics, but now better graphics, excellent gameplay and much need Aim down sights.
Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer
Halo 2 is still a pinnacle mark in FPS multiplayer history and still to this date is one of my fondness times of online multiplayer. The tradition of Halo offering an awesome online experience has echoed throughout the past few years and a lot so last year with the release of the Master chief collection.
Halo 5 is the first title on the Xbox One and so begins a new era of Halo online. 343 industries are now introducing a new mode called Warzone, which offers up to 24 players of online madness.
Below is our breakdown of Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer.
Customization is a big part of Halo, and Halo 5 offers a massive array of different design choices – most of which are unlocked using the Req system, which will will talk about next. Players can pick different Armour, helmets, visors and of course the color of their own Spartan. Design your own player card is next, and users can unlock different emblems to choose from.
The amount of customization options available are pretty good, but users have to work to unlock them. Even things like stances have tons of choices. So there is a good chance you can come up with a unique design that no else is using. Even your Fire team could have a shared look.
Halo 5 introduces the REQ system (Requisitions). It works by collecting REQ points that lead to unlocking one of three different cards (Bronze, Silver, or Gold). Collecting Req points is done by playing the game, and the better you do, the more points you get. Unlocking a Gold pack will give you a 11 cards with some rare unlocks and different permanent unlocks that may be available. There are other ways of getting special Requisition packs such as giveaways, promotions, bundles, and more.
While any customization unlocks like Helmets, Armour, and Visors can be used in any mode, it’s really Warzone that the Requisitions are used. Some unlocks are permanent, be it certain weapons with special attachments, but others like vehicles and power-ups are one and done. Each unlock is behind a certain level, and you must reach that REQ level in any given match before you will have access to that particular item – each level is unlocked as your team progress through the match. Once a Req level is unlocked, you’ll begin to start getting Req energy to that point; redeeming anything will deplete as much energy as it requires to unlock.
While the Req system at first will seem a little confusing, once you jump into a game or two, you will get the hang of it very quickly. It’s actually a pretty elegant system that adds another level to every match, and users have to be mindful of when to use certain items in a match, if you use it up at all for that particular match.
The Arena mode offers a few different playlists on the smaller maps within the game. These are your typical fast pace Halo matches with each playlist having a different style of gameplay. This includes Slayer, Free for all, and more. This is mostly classic Halo with weapons located around the map, and more powerful weapons available at different intervals at specific times throughout the match.
Our favorite playlist was SWAT which like before removes everything special and leaves everything down to pure skill with no Armour and every player getting the same weapon that can’t be changed and of course no grenades. This is a raw mode, but is great fun making those awesome headshots and really gives you great practice for when you can take advantage of everything else.
Arena mode is aimed at being quick and playful for everyone. It doesn’t really require any tactics or planning, and most users will have a balanced match. It’s classic halo, but at a faster pace and with more guns. Can’t complain about that.
Warzone is where the big Halo Multiplayer will be found, and it is epic. The REQ system gives every users their own set of unlockable content, but they must work to get their REQ level up before you can unlock the big items. There are currently two different playlists available under Warzone. Both are mostly the same with one exception. The standard Warzone mode includes AI bosses and other objectives that give users a chance to gain points and defeat other team. Warzone Assault removes the AI and bosses and leaves it as mostly team vs team.
Warzone of course still relies on the the REQ system, which we found to be an epic part of the game. Unlike other games where powerful items are generated throughout the map and can be used by anyone. When you get a scorpion tank, it’s yours first, sure you can jump out and someone else can take it. The ride is yours when you requisition it and it gives you the power to to some real damage to the enemy and truly turn a match around. The best part is that you have to work for it and acquire the points in the first place. The game really rewards your talents and from there your team will as well.
The Requisitions aren’t just it, as Warzone itself is a great mode that puts 24 players in a 12v12 scenario. The maps are huge, and the main push objective isn’t the only way to win. Either team reaching 1000 points will take the victory, unless one of the teams happens control all of the bases and destroy the enemies Power Core. Microsoft have done a great job implementing dedicated servers for this game;throughout our matches we never noticed any lag or drop outs, this is no small feat for a 24 player match on large maps.
Warzone is truly were Halo 5 multiplayer lies, and together with the Req system, it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Warzone is the evolution that the Halo series needed and really takes the game to a whole new level. Even with a huge player count, and tons of items to use, the matches always seem balanced, something most games fail to get right, Halo 5 knocked it out of the park.