Halo 5: Guardians comes out next month for Xbox One but last week we were invited to spend the day with the game to see how it is progressing. We got to play some of the campaign, some multiplayer and some warzone. Today we will be discussing the campaign with a write up about the Arena multiplayer on Friday and Warzone coverage on Monday.
During our brief time with the campaign I was able to go through two different missions both solo and with a co op partner. One of these missions featured Blue Team which includes Master Chief and then the other mission featured me playing as Locke. Along with Master Chief you have the other members of Blue Team and the A.I. seemed to work well here. They seemed to be able to take care of themselves in battle and proved to be a help rather than a hindrance. There were a few occasions where I got taken out in the middle of a fire fight and one of my computer controlled teammates would quickly pick me back up to get me back in the action. I also enjoyed how I was able to quickly command my teammates with the use of the d-pad. If there was a big enemy to take down like a Hunter I could push up on the d-pad and tell my teammates to focus their attacks on him. With everyone focusing on the big guy it made it easier to take him down instead of trying to go one on one with him. Additionally I would frequent hit down on the d-pad to see what my next objective was.
The first mission I played was on a ship in the middle of space. We needed to prevent something from falling into the hands of the Covenant, no matter the cost. Of course the Covenant isn’t going to make it easy on you. As I was slowly clearing the ship I enjoyed the overall environment and ambiance that 343 has created. I remember a few different instances as I was making my way through some of the darker parts of the ship that I would hear something really big and nasty making a lot of noise and shaking the ground. It was foreshadowing to something I would have to fight later on and really helped the environment out. This happened on a few different occasions giving out the feeling that this thing was following and stalking us as we made our way through the bowels of the ship.
The gameplay felt just like Halo which is a very good thing. I still got a lot of joy out running up to the grunts and hitting them with a melee attack as they tried to run away screaming “the humans are here!”. This mission with Master Chief had a decent amount of verticality to it as well so you had to watch yourself from all angles. This gave me the chance to try out a bunch of different abilities such as the ground pound. As you progress through this mission there is a really interesting story element that happens that seems to raise the already high stakes you are dealing with but I am not going to mention the exact details and spoil it for you here.
The second mission that I got to play (which takes place approximately ⅔ of the way through the game) was with Locke and his team. This mission had much more of an open feel to it. You were in a desert searching for an object and there were a number of different ways you could go to get to your objective. This was especially evident during my time going through this mission with co-op partners as we each seemed to take a different way to try and get to where we needed to be. I went through the caves and knocked down a wall so as to bypass some enemies while my teammates decided to go the more direct route. This should definitely add some replayability to the campaign as you explore all of the different avenues that are available to you.
This was also when we are introduced to the Kraken, the most menacing enemy we have seen from the Covenant yet. He completely dwarfs the screen and makes those scarabs that you are used to fighting from previous entries look like nothing. There comes a point in the mission where you need to try and board that Kraken and take him down and it is a bit of an intense experience as you are trying to clear the deck so you can land and then once you accomplish your mission being able to get off the Kraken as it starts to go down. During this mission you are also introduced to a new Promethean enemy that can teleport at will and generally make things difficult for you. Once you get a hold of them they aren’t that hard to take down but if you are in a room with them and some other enemies that are hard to take down then things can get really crazy in a matter of seconds.
While I only got to see and play through two of the campaign’s missions it was enough to get me excited about the possibilities that are there. There were some cinematics that I saw that added some intrigue into the game and I definitely want to get my hands on the full version to see how everything plays out. Aesthetically the game looks amazing and the audio is on point. Hearing that iconic Halo theme kick in as I began my first mission was awesome and I can’t wait to find out whether Master Chief is a traitor or a hero.