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Halo 5: Guardians shows most potential since the glory days of Halo 2 and 3

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After three years of anticipation and hopes of redemption, 343 Industries delivered on what many feel is one of the most anticipated first-person shooter games of the year.

After the failure of Halo 4, the developer’s first full Halo project since taking over the franchise from Bungie, Inc., the series seemed to be descending down a slippery slope.

The motto 343 Industries has shared for the past three years is redemption, and I am happy to say that with over 60 hours of Halo 5: Guardians under my belt, the franchise is slowly but surely moving back into the glory days.

Here is a breakdown of the game’s highs and lows.

The Campaign

Let’s start with the most iconic part of a Halo game: the story mode. Through the past three years, 343 has spent a lot of time and resources advertising this game as one with a unique storyline. 

For the Halo 5 campaign, the cons sadly outweigh the good, although there are some positives to take out of the game both cosmetically and during gameplay.

At times the cutscenes are absolutely breathtaking. The action sequences really get you excited for each battle coming next.

The game’s resolution is 1080p and runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second. This makes for fluid, crisp-looking gameplay. The atmosphere of the world is magnificent, and I often caught myself looking into the horizon during a mission, captivated by the amount of color and detail.

The fluidity, music and attention to detail they put in this world, as well as the revival of a classic Halo soundtrack playing in the background, gives players who have been with the franchise since the beginning a feeling of nostalgia.

Although the game is visually captivating, many players were frustrated to find it simply wasn’t what was advertised.

I wanted to see our protagonist/hero-turned-traitor/Master Chief come back fighting for the universal good once again, like the commercials for the game stated. However, that never happened.

Instead, the campaign is extremely short and ends with a cliffhanger that doesn’t deserve itself. With only 15 missions, the story moves quickly and concludes without proper development.

The ending of Halo 5 has to be one of the biggest slap-in-the-face moments I’ve ever experienced in gaming. Cliffhangers in video games are usually acceptable if build-up occurs, but this simple resolution to conflict proves to be a disappointment to the game’s dedicated fan base.

With all that in mind, I am disappointed to say Halo 5’s campaign is only worth a 6/10.

Multiplayer

Halo has had a very reliable track record with multiplayer options in the past and this game does not disappoint. This is the best multiplayer experience I have had since the glory days of Halo 3.

Going back to the roots of arena gameplay, 343 has revived the eSports feel to Halo 5, making this one of the hardest online games to get into.

The game is pretty well balanced overall. Since everyone has the exact same Spartan abilities, it creates an equal playing field, making for some truly competitive battles.

The game’s designers also added a ranking system the players actually care about this time around. In the competitive game modes, players can rank up to reach champion level, which is comprised of the top 200 players of each type.

 While the multiplayer experience is solid, Halo 5’s requisition system is by far the biggest scams 343 has done to get into our wallets.

In order to unlock weapons, armor and skins, gamers need to acquire requisition points by playing the game. Game creators also give you the opportunity bypass working for the points by purchasing requisition packs with real money.

The requisition system is also completely random, meaning any armor gamers unlock is based on how lucky they are to draw a good pack. This is a problem because previous Halo games only allowed players to unlock rare armor through various achievements, giving them a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Halo 5 is also missing a lot of old game types that defined the series. There are no big team battles. Infection, grifball, team doubles and other iconic playlists are no longer in the newest game.

However, developers of the game have stated these playlists will make a return in the near future, which is long overdue.

Overall, Halo 5 receives a 7/10 as the game stands now. With the addition of classic game modes in multiplayer—which should be added during the holiday season—Halo 5 has the opportunity to move up a point.

The campaign holds the game back, which docks points. If 343 listens to the gaming community and makes changes to multiplayer and the campaign, I am sure we can get this game back into the glory days in time for Halo 6, the finale.