It has been a while since I lasted posted anything on my blog, and I apologize for my absence. There was a death in my family and other events have happened, like my graduation from college. But now that I am back there is a ton of content to discuss like the release of Halo 5 Guardians and the truth behind the insane amount of hype it has received.
SO first things first Halo 5 is still very much classic Halo. It keeps the roots and prime gameplay mechanics from the original games and yet brings it to the future with a new storyline and expanding on the Promethian enemies from Halo 4. 343 Industries has done a complete overhaul of all the visuals in the game which look absolutely amazing. The new facial animations are by far some of the best seen on Xbox One and very few games can compare in terms of details in animation.
Sadly the storyline behind the gorgeous graphics is where the game truly takes a hit. Throughout the game’s 9 – 10 hour, 15 mission campaign, the storyline barely progresses, and many times I felt that I wanted to experience the tension and excitement from the trailers which simply never happened. Without giving away any spoilers, the game just continues to scratch the surface with the story, and constantly makes it seems like something unbelievably amazing was going to happen, but never does. It reminds me of those explosive movie trailers that make the movie seem like it will be the greatest film ever, and when you finally watch it, it is the most average movie experience that could have been absolutely stellar, if things would have been different. That is basically what you get when you dive into Halo 5’s campaign, a roller coaster of holy crap this is gonna be amazing… and then the let down moments. Now while there is intense combat with amazing A.I teammates and enemies in between these cutscenes, it unfortunately felt like another “go from point A to point B” shooter with no room for the player to explore anything beyond the short levels. It also felt like previous Halo games were bigger in terms of scale and the ability to hunt for skulls and other collectibles. This is really disappointing since so many people were looking forward to this exclusive game including myself.
What really drove me up the walls with frustration was how the trailers were all hyping the intensity between the Master Chief and Spartan Locke. I was expecting that Master Chief was going to have the opportunity to have some real intense fighting with Locke and do the work like in some of the Halo movies, where he kicks ass like a boss, but it barely happens. This to me was the biggest let down, since the trailers were telling viewers to “prepare for the most intense chase in gaming history”. It is difficult to enjoy the “most intense chase ever” when Locke finally catches up to Master Chief and the whole situation ends in under 3 minutes. Also let me point out that in some of the live action trailers for the game they showed two versions of Spartan Locke defeating Master Chief and vice versa, which to my understanding suggested that there would be an option to see the results of either decision in game. Sadly the game does not let you choose which character you want to be, and since the story is told through a pre determined linear storyline, this decision or situation shown in those trailers is technically impossible, which is just one other event I was mislead to be “hyped” for.
Finally lets discuss the multiplayer. The Arena mode which contains all the basic multiplayer modes such as Slayer (Team Death match), SWAT, and Free For All is by far the most well balanced of the other Halo games. From day one finding a match was seamless, with minimal loading times and virtually no lag, which was a HUGE upgrade from the previous release of Halo: Master Chief Collection. The only complaint here for me was that if you choose to play multiplayer by yourself you are basically going to have a rough time making any progress. Many of the modes require a full squad of players to truly be successful enough to win matches consistently and rank up. On a quick side note, I was also upset that they slowed down the rate of fire on the pistol in the final game, which was a very upsetting change since the one available in the beta was able to match your trigger pulling speed.
The other multiplayer mode called Warzone was a great new addition to the game and I felt it really added depth to the Halo experience. Warzone is essentially a hybrid mode where two teams are tasked with taking over bases on the maps while also fighting the opposing team, A.I bosses, and enemies to gain more points. Now even though I think the mode is fantastic I have a love/hate relationship with some of the features. In Warzone you are able to call in these “cards” that are basically unlocks for doing well in the match similar to “kill streaks” from the Call of Duty series. My issue with these are that players can choose when to use their cards, and if one team decides to wait towards the end and call in the highest level vehicles and weapons, the match can quickly become one sided. Warzone can also be extremely difficult to win if your team is not properly coordinated.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Halo 5 Guardians is a pretty average shooter that looks super flashy on the surface, but the core is just a bunch intense situations that are quickly abandoned with no real answers which leaves players wanting more (referring to campaign). Multiplayer is the true highlight of the game even though there are a few disappointments there as well. Overall the game is a decent addition for any action or shooter fan’s collection but for the players who have not purchased it yet, DO NOT FALL FOR THE TRAILER HYPE. Nothing that happens in the trailers actually goes down in the game the way they show you. It seems they used the trailers as just an elaborate plan to boost sales. As a Halo fan, this hurts me to say that it seems they really made this one just to push sales, because as a gamer I just wanted a great action packed story that allows me to be the bad ass super hero Master Chief and not just an average character in a somewhat action packed game. My suggestion to new players who want to grab the game for the collection, just be aware that its not what you see in the media and trailers. Its a great shooter overall, but the campaign just has some super teaser and cliffhanger action happening, which can be a let down for many, but on the bright side it does have a great multiplayer component.
Thanks to everyone for reading this post, and I hope you all have a phenomenal weekend 😉 and please feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts on the campaign and if you felt it lived up to the hype.