26 Oct 2015
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Does Xbox One exclusive Halo 5: Guardians live up to the hype?

By Damian Seeto

It’s been close to two years now since the release of the Xbox One console. Now the console’s biggest release is here with Halo 5: Guardians. Does this AAA blockbuster live up to the immense hype? I’m glad to say that Halo 5: Guardians is an excellent follow-up to the previous games in the series. It add several new features that improves on the gameplay and it also has some of the most impressive cutscenes the series has ever seen so far. First of all, the production values in Guardians are downright excellent. The cutscenes are action-packed and they look like they are from a summer blockbuster movie. Not to mention the voice acting is magnificent once again with both some new and old faces to be seen and heard. Graphically, the Xbox One console allows the game to be the best looking Halo game in history. The levels are large, although they’re not “open-world” type big. Still, the levels look pretty as Spartan Locke and Master Chief will be visiting many different areas and planets during their journey. Another great thing about this game is that it has some fast loading times too. I remember it took ages for Halo 3 to boot up on the Xbox 360 eight years ago. I’m happy to report that Halo 5: Guardians loads its levels at a much quicker rate. The gameplay in Halo 5: Guardians has changed for the better in my opinion as it feels much more fluid, fast and refined compared to the older games in the series. The fact that this game runs at 60fps makes a huge difference. The combat feels smoother and more responsive than ever before. Some other changes to the gameplay include a double jump, boosters and the ability for you to aim down the sights of a gun. These changes make the game feel more in line with other modern FPS games. I played Halo 4 on my Xbox 360 to compare, and I have to say that game feels outdated already even though it just came out in 2012. Another nice new feature to Halo 5: Guardians is your squad mates. Both Spartan Locke and Master Chief have three team members that will assist them in the main campaign. The members can be controlled both by the A.I. or online players if you opt to play on co-op. Having team mates makes the game a lot more bearable in the harder difficulty levels as they are very helpful on the battlefield. Your team can revive you if you get knocked down, or you can order them to kill a specific enemy and more. Teamwork is crucial in order to take down the tougher enemies in the game... However, having team mates does increase the number of enemies that come and attack you. There are a lot more enemies in Halo 5: Guardians than there were in the previous Halo games. It can become quite chaotic during the latter stages of the campaign, but it’s still doable. What I like most about the campaign is that it’s not all just running and gunning. You do have the ability to pilot many vehicles and even a mech sometimes. The objectives are also varied and fun compared to the repetitive tasks in the vanilla version of Destiny. If there is a flaw to the main campaign, it’s that it could have been longer. I am not going to spoil the story for you, but Spartan Locke appears in more missions than Master Chief. I also completed the game in eight hours in the Normal difficulty, but I felt there could have been more gameplay. You’ll know what I mean once you finish the game... Halo 5: Guardians isn’t all about the single player as there is a multiplayer mode too.  It’s sad to see that there is no offline split-screen multiplayer in this game. I do kind of miss the opportunity to play this game with my brother as we did in the older games. However, the online multiplayer experience is what you should expect from a Halo game. The Arena playlist includes smaller maps as you battle through modes such as Slayer, Capture The Flag and more. These maps are more catered towards close-quarters combat as there are eight people on each map. The gameplay is still fun, although you have to step up your game playing this mode as there are a lot of Halo veterans out there. My favourite online multiplayer mode however is the newly added “Warzone”. Warzone features bigger maps and several enemies. You can also pilot vehicles and special bosses come into the maps as well. Warzone is fun because it reminds me of Battlefront in some ways. I also like the fact that there are some A.I. enemies and bosses littered in the maps because I’m not really good at shooting human players. Not to mention the new Requisition ability allows you to choose your own loadout and more. Overall, Halo 5: Guardians is an excellent addition to the popular Halo franchise. The new additions improve on the gameplay and it is by far the prettiest looking game of the series. The only minor downsides are that the campaign could have been longer and split-screen multiplayer is sorely missing. Verdict: 9.0/10

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