As long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year or two, it’s quite obvious that Halo 5: Guardians is going to be one of Microsoft’s biggest games of 2015. It’s arguably Xbox’s flagship franchise, and has one of the largest player bases and communities around. At EGX 2015, Microsoft and 343 Industries have been kind enough to offer hands-on multiplayer matches to the masses, and it didn’t disappoint.
The game mode on offer was Warzone. To win a match of Warzone, your team must reach one thousand points or destroy the enemy team’s core. Basically, think your normal Capture the Flag mode with a bit of a twist. Points can be earned by killing opponents, killing AI enemies, and controlling each of the three control points on the map.
This may all sound like your rather standard online Halo gameplay and was, as we’ve come to expect, incredibly enjoyable. But, Warzone throws in a couple of new additions to its gameplay, such as the legendary bosses. These legendary bosses are AI controlled enemies taking on different ranks within the enemy forces. For example, as chaos ensued around one of the control points, a heavily shielded Patrol Leader fired from a Ghost, surrounded by a bunch of grunts. Taking down the Patrol Leader would gain the team 25 points. Other legendary bosses include Baron ‘Sroam riding a Red Banshee, and a Sangheili General. All of these legendary bosses repeated to turn up throughout the 20 minute match to keep things fresh, and required some serious firepower to take their shields and health down. Defeating one of these legendary bosses can drastically alter the way the game pans out. For example, in our match, we were cruising our way to victory, right up until the opposing team took down a legendary boss worth a huge two hundred points, resulting in a swift change of the tides and a loss for our team.
These legendary bosses are tricky to defeat and require a large amount of your team to focus its attention on taking them down. This then leads to a conundrum: do you taken down the legendary boss for the huge point reward, or continue to focus on the capture points and racking up kills of the opposing team? The significance of taking down one of these bosses truly cannot be underestimated, and keeps the game mode fresh. While CTF games have previously become a drag in the last 5 minutes if your team just cannot touch the capture points, legendary bosses throw a curve ball at both the attacking and defending teams, and will require each side to alter their tactics in order to accommodate this new objective.
Warzone had frantic, varied, and addictive gameplay. Say goodbye to the days of rushing toward the spawn point of that sniper or Spartan Laser and say hello to requisition stations. Each time your team completes an objective, you gain a requisition point. These requisition points are essentially your purchasing credit, allowing you to equip better weapons and vehicles from requisition stations the more points you have. This is definitely going to help newcomers and novice players to have more of a fighting chance in a match of seasoned Halo players, but skilled players will be able to utilize these items more effectively.
Getting hands-on with Warzone definitely proved what we thought of it back at our hands-off preview at E3. Halo 5: Guardians has a winner with its Warzone multiplayer mode. Everything felt balanced, nothing felt out of place or an unnecessary addition, and it was obvious that 343 has poured time and effort into perfecting this online game mode.
Once you finally get your hands on Halo 5: Guardians on October 27, you owe it to yourself to give Warzone a try. Even those who have not previously enjoyed Halo’s multiplayer may find the new additions in this game mode appealing. And for those of you who love Halo, Warzone brings everything you love about the franchise and rolls it into one, spectacular game mode.