Review: Halo 5: Guardians is Microsoft’s Most Ambitious Halo Game ever Jon Scarr Halo 5: Guardians, one of the most anticipated and critically acclaimed games of 2015 is finally here! Three years in the making and with a budget over $100 million, Microsoft and 343 Industries have gone to epic lengths to ensure that this is the best Halo experience ever. Hold your ears, folks. It’s showtime! Since the first Halo game was released in 2001 on the Xbox, the franchise has been popular among gamers. Fans have spent a whopping $4.6 billion worldwide on the Halo franchise. Halo’s appeal doesn’t just stop with the video games either, licensing has spread to include: toys, books, board games, and clothing—to name a few. Master Chief and crew are everywhere! Get this; there is a Showtime television show in the works about Halo from none other than Steven Spielberg. Now that’s awesome! Halo has become synonymous with the Xbox brand around the world. Does the latest entry, in the award-winning, multi-billion dollar franchise known as Halo live up to its predecessors? Let’s find out! The Good Campaign In true Halo fashion, the story in Halo 5: Guardians is deep, rich, and spectacular. From the opening cinematic featuring Fireteam Osiris, to the final credits you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat. Spanning three worlds, Halo 5: Guardians story takes place eight months after Halo 4, where a mysterious and unstoppable force threatens the galaxy. In the face of this insurmountable force, Master Chief has begun to question all of his former beliefs and has suddenly disappeared along with Blue Team. With Master Chief’s loyalty under question, UNSC’s man hunter—Spartan Locke along with team Fireteam Osiris, set out to uncover the truth, find Master Chief and Blue Team. Co-op Halo 5: Guardians features a dedicated co-op experience more so than in any previous Halo game. This time around, you will play with a squad of Spartans, rather than a solo experience, which was the focus of previous games in the series. Built from the ground up, with teamwork and co-op in mind, Halo 5: Guardians allows you and your friends to jump into a co-op campaign session seamlessly. Running on dedicated servers, friends can join at any time during a mission, allowing them to choose their character and help in the fight. After I completed the campaign mode, I immediately went back and started playing the campaign with my friends. I had more fun playing with my friends in co-op mode then I did playing by myself. Legendary mode is where it’s at in co-op mode. The neat thing about Legendary mode is, as your friends join in the difficulty gets harder and harder. It was so much fun! New Multiplayer mode and features New to Halo 5: Guardians is a multiplayer mode called Warzone. It fuses all the best elements of Halo into a gigantic 24-player multiplayer mode. Featuring two teams of 12 players each, with multiplayer maps so massive that they are up to four times the size of previous Halo multiplayer maps. Holy cow! To win in Warzone, you’ll need to complete mission objectives to earn 1000 victory points, or destroy your enemy’s core. Each team’s mission objectives are straightforward—capture three bases, and eliminate enemy Spartans to earn precious victory points. Once a team has captured all three of the bases, the enemy’s core is exposed. Destroying the core gives you instant victory! The fun doesn’t stop there, in addition to battling against the other team, each Warzone map features a set of AI bosses that enter the match at key moments during the battle. Defeat the bosses on your way to victory! Halo 5: Guardians introduces an online point system—the first of its kind in a Halo game. REQ, short for requisitions, are earned during online multiplayer matches. There are many ways to earn these valuable points including taking down your opponent with a headshot, or by defeating a boss. You can redeem these points for REQ packs. So what exactly do these REQ packs contain? Each pack contains a variety of REQs such as unlockable weapons, skins, assassination animations and more. For a comprehensive explanation of what REQs are, and how to use them check out the video below. Visual and Audio tour-de-force From the moment, you lay your eyes on Halo 5: Guardians you’ll be in heaven. The buttery smooth framerate and gorgeous visuals will make you rub your eyes in disbelief. Halo 5: Guardians is the most visually stunning Halo game ever! Delivering a consistent 60 FPS gameplay across all modes of play, and employing a progressive resolution system—this visual-tour-de-force will leave you mesmerized. Not to be out done by the visuals, the music in Halo 5: Guardians is top notch. When I first heard the opening compilation of the classic Halo song, it sent chills down my spine. Music veteran, Kazuma Jinnouchi takes over as the lead composer in Halo 5: Guardians and does a fantastic job. You’ll immediately hear that the soundtrack is mellower and more atmospheric than in previous Halo titles. The emotionally provoking sound track will draw you in, and immerse you in the Halo universe. The Bad Can there actually be anything bad with a Halo game? Unfortunately for some fans, Halo 5: Guardians is missing a feature that they so dearly love—split-screen local gameplay. Earlier this year, Josh Holmes, 343 Industries Studio head, tweeted that Halo 5: Guardians would support 2-player split-screen for both multiplayer and campaign co-op modes. Fans of the split-screen multiplayer modes were upset. 4-player split-screen multiplayer had been a feature of the series for the past 14 years, and Halo 5: Guardians would be the first title in the series not to include it. Then things to a turn for the worse for these fans, in a controversial announcement at E3 2015, it was revealed that Halo 5: Guardians would have no split-screen modes at all. Fans of this feature were furious, and took to social media to voice their displeasure. 343 Industries offered up the following statement as explanation to Halo fans around the world “Many of our ambitious goals for Halo 5 would be compromised in a split-screen setting and the time spent optimizing and addressing split-screen-specific issues would take focus from building other parts of the game. Game development is a balancing act of resources, time, and technology, and in this case we made the tough decision to sacrifice something that’s been near and dear to us all.” My Final Verdict Since the announcement of Halo 5 at E3 2013, I have eagerly been anticipating the next chapter in the Halo universe. Sporting an amazing campaign mode that will have you reeling, a dedicated co-op mode that you and your friends can play together with online, new multiplayer modes and an online point tracking system, combined with drop dead visuals make Halo 5: Guardians the ultimate Halo game, and in my opinion the best first person shooter out on the market. Do yourself a favour and pickup Halo 5: Guardians today. See you online! Platform: Xbox One Developer: 343 Industries Publisher: Microsoft Studios Genre: First-person shooter Modes: 2-4 players Online Co-op / 2-24 players Online Multiplayer ESRB Rating: T For Teen avi warzone looks absolutely great. should be a fun night tomorrow. Jon Scarr Avi, you are going to love it! I have played extensively with Warzone and let me tell you it’s pure bliss!!