When you think of Xbox, usually the first game that comes to mind is Halo. This is the biggest franchise under the Xbox banner, one of the greatest first-person shooters in existence, and an undeniable blockbuster that manages to wow fans every time. So it’s only right that fans everywhere are excitedly awaiting the Halo 5: Guardians’ October 27th release date. We got a chance to sit down with some folks at 343i for a hands-off demo of the game, and what we learned was quite impressive.
During their presentation they broke down each of the three major components of the Halo 5: Guardians experience: campaign, standard multiplayer, and the all new Warzone mode. Each has received an unprecedented level of attention that enables all three components to feel like a complete Halo experience. No one thing is better than the others and all are absolutely massive in scale.
In order to make things a bit easier, we are going to cover each of the three components in their own section. Not only will this make it easier to follow, but it will also show just how focused they were on creating something that was new and can be loved by die-hard fans. We’ll also cover the differences between the red and blue team.
From the very beginning of the series, the Halo campaigns have always been on a relatively large scale. Huge narratives spanning sprawling, beautiful levels, bad-ass weaponry, and one of video games’ most iconic protagonists set the Halo series up as an instant fan favorite. Being able to play through the campaign with friends made things interesting and fun, but the experience never really changed, something that is no longer the case in Halo 5: Guardians.
For the first time in series history the entirety of Halo 5: Guardians‘ campaign is built around cooperative play. Level design, mission structure, troop reliance, and even the story itself are based around your ability to work as part of a team. Whether it’s as one of the blue team’s Spartan IIs or the red team’s Spartan Vs, a reliance on every member of your squad is the foundation of the game.
In order to facilitate this new focus, the minds over at 343i introduced some new features to this Halo entry. Fireteam AI allows for those playing solo to be able to enjoy Halo 5: Guardianswithout having to babysit any member of their teams. Squad members are smart enough to know when to shoot, what to shoot, and how to not get shot. They will even cover you if need be. If that isn’t enough, Fireteam Commands give the player the ability to give contextual orders on the fly. Just look at what you want done, hit up on the directional pad, and Halo 5: Guardianswill immediately assign the best Spartan to the job. Finally, there is the Revive ability. Now when somebody is downed during battle, you can revive revive them. This won’t always be easy and it will require some coordination, but it’s a nice touch.
Each mission will feature multiple ways to tackle objectives, allowing for a bit of strategy as well as a decent level of replayability. Having multiple routes lets players take a bit of control as to how they help their team, and it makes it easier for those playing solo to justify multiple playthroughs of the game. It’s almost as if the developers really thought of everything (that’s probably because they did).
The campaign will feature drop-in/drop-out gameplay on dedicated servers so the action is never interrupted. Difficulty will scale depending on how many human-controlled Spartans there are at the moment to keep things interesting. When a player enters, they will be able to choose which available Spartan they want to play as and determine their initial load out. Also, each of the members of the team will have points in the story that are focused on them, so everyone gets a chance to feel the spotlight, not just Master Chief and Locke.
It’s good to see that the developers have taken their Halo 5: Guardians focus so seriously. Too often do we see a studio choose a focus but fail to consider all of the issues and sometimes compromises are made. Here, the minds behind Halo 5: Guardians decided to take the beloved series and make it something more, without eliminating the elements fans already love.