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State of the game- Halo 5: Guardians: Well, there's free DLC

After the mixed reaction that Halo 4 got, did 343 Industries learn from their mistakes and somehow modernize Halo 5 at the same time?

Shortly after Bungie left Microsoft to work on Destiny, 343 Industries took over the Halo franchise to continue Master Chief's story. Naturally, this also meant that they were in charge of one of the most beloved multiplayer games of all time. Unfortunately, they made some changes to the gameplay that were considered somewhat questionable (i.e. ordinance drops).

With Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries decided to essentially break it all down and rebuild all of Halo's mechanics from the ground up. But did it pay off in the end?

On release: 8.5/10

Crazy AI wants to kill everyone? Boring...

In a somewhat ironic twist, most critics praised the decision to remove certain features that were present in Halo 4 -- namely the loadout system, ordinance drops, and armor abilities. Unfortunately, the campaign was rather cut and dry with its heavy focus on Fireteam Osiris and aggravating Warden Eternal boss fights. 

Plus, it didn't help that the advertising campaign for Halo 5 ended up being more interesting than Halo 5's actual story -- but that is neither here nor there.

Now: 9.0/10

At least 343 kept their pre-launch promises

If nothing else, 343 Industries can be applauded for offering consistent, meaningful updates to Halo 5 that most players want -- and they did it for free. Granted, things like Forge and Big Team Battle should have been in the game originally, but at least they were added to Halo 5 somewhat promptly. 

On the bright side, 343 has added around 3 new maps per month since release (also for free), keeping their pre-launch promise of free map pack DLCs. True, the new guns and armor sets that they add in every update can only be unlocked by luck, but at least they aren't absolutely vital to performing well.

But best of all, 343 has shown that they finally managed to find the proper balance between modern and classic game mechanics. Every weapon has its use (though longtime Halo fans may be annoyed at how accurate the Assault Rifle can be), sprinting is no longer a get out of jail free card, and the new movement mechanics aren't shoved in your face constantly.

Like it or not, Halo is probably not going to go back to the classic no sprint, no armor ability, BRs are the only useful gun gameplay, but at least Halo 5 is a fair compromise between the old and new.

What do you think? Did 343 Industries redeem themselves after the mixed reactions that Halo 4 had, or is Halo 5's gameplay as strange as the new art direction?

Published Feb. 4th 2016

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