After a painfully long install, all systems are go as i began the first campaign mission of Halo 5. To avoid any sort of spoilers that may taint the joy of your own glorious play through, i’m going to avoid specifics and just give my overall thoughts on the experience.
Opening with an incredibly detailed and beautiful cut scene that gripped me not only through spectacular visuals but also solid dialogue and interesting characters that appear to be lot more than the cardboard cutouts of past games. Halo 5 from the get go sets itself from past entries with an emphasis on characters other than Master Chief. In the first mission you play as Spartan Locke, a squadron leader very similar to the iconic Master Chief. Spouting the skill, assertiveness and even sly humour of Master Chief, the first mission seemed to serve as a way to highlight the similarities between the pair who from trailers eventually face off in one epic showdown.
Relying on team rather than lone ranger gameplay, Halo 5 is a departure from past games with my very first achievement coming after i was revived by a teammate. That’s right, there’s no dying this time around. While making things a whole lot easier, this mechanic keeps the game and story flowing along at great pace. And if you are after a challenge you can always just bump up the difficulty. In an era of gaming where people rarely see out a campaign, Halo 5 does its best to keep you hooked with the revive system a simple yet effective way of doing this.
Having a team behind you has also seen a welcome increase in chaos on the battlefield with more enemies and more ways to work your way through a situation. Unlike most AI’s, the three that accompanied me were handy additions to my play through, shooting enemies that were encroaching while i reloaded and only rarely getting in my way. You can command them where to go as well, delegating the messy job of cleaning out a room full of enemies to your trio of AI buddies. That said, being able to play with friends rather than AI is a whole lot funner albeit perhaps less effective. I know from experience that AI’s are far more reliable revivers than friends that want to hog all the kills.
The team dynamic itself is a refreshing addition to the Halo franchise after successive games of it just being the duo of Master Chief and Cortana. Everyone in Spartan Locke’s team seem to have a unique backstory that makes your experience fighting along side them a lot more meaningful.
In terms of gameplay everything feels as a Halo game should, only better, with gunplay slicker and a few new and modified guns to add to your arsenal. The common assault rifle feels awesome this time around, with a greater scope and packing a bigger punch than previous games. Talking of packing a big punch, you can now also melee with extra power if done while sprinting giving you the power to charge through doors and mow down your enemies with your trusty shoulder.
Mission One of Halo 5 flew by in a blur of satisfying gunplay and team work, needless to say i couldn’t resist jumping straight into Mission Two but that’s all for now, stay tuned for a full review of the game and be sure to pick up your copy of Halo 5 come October 26.
Review by Joshua Thomas