Halo 5 - A Year on Multiplayer Review
The Halo series has been around for a while now. It's competitive, but fun multiplayer has crept itself into many of our gaming hours over the years. Halo 5 released on October 27th, 2015 and it's multiplayer offered the usual game modes such as Capture the Flag, Slayer and Planting bombs. However, it lacked fan favorites such as Griffball, Big Team Slayer, and Zombie modes to name a few. It had half the maps that it currently has now. I soon tired myself out playing the same maps and modes spanning 50+ hours of gameplay. However, developer 343 Industries promised to offer these modes and more maps for one year all free of charge. It totally changed the game for me since. It has got bigger and better just like its predecessors.
Do not take this frantic multiplayer lightly as a casual pickup-and-play game. It will eat away your day without realizing. Halo 5 is no different in this sense.
"At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box."
- Cortana's first words
General movement aiming down sight and shooting are all there, but it is abundantly clear from the start that the game is different. Halo 5 features Spartan abilities designed to give players enhanced mobility. Abilities such as Ground Pound allow you to pound the ground with extreme force from mid-air, or how about Infinity Sprint? These abilities are available to all players and add different dynamics in the battlefield for this epic multiplayer game.
Over the years the Halo series implemented many customization options. Halo 5’s customization is a step above its predecessors. From a variety of different armor looks to its color choices, it has something for everyone to make your look unique. The new aspect in this iteration of Halo is the ability to change colors of your weapons. You can spend quite a bit of time perfecting your layout before you know it.
Although it is not in-depth compared to games like Fallout 4 and Doom, there is enough here to keep you occupied. And 343 is always expanding upon this with their updates adding to their ever growing list of customization options.
Halo 5's multiplayer modes are diverse. It has something for everyone. For those craving fun big team warfare, there is a dedicated playlist featuring the usual big team battle mode and of course its Warzone mode.
Then there is the competitive arena playlist for those planning to climb its addictive leaderboard. I have spent many hours trying to get to Diamond League, and once I reached it there was an inner sense of pride to keep hold of my position and challenge myself to climb higher. The weapons are not only well balanced but laid out strategically on its Arena maps, ensuring the control of these weapons vital as your team progresses towards victory.
Every month, or every season as they call it, the rank resets and you are rewarded based on your final standing. These rewards can be in the form of modded weapons, armor sets to Requisition packs which I will discuss further later in this review.
For anyone craving big frantic battles that combine AI opponents as well as players, it's 12 v 12 Warzone mode will not disappoint. Players battle to reach a certain amount of points to win the match. This is achievable through killing opponent players or killing bosses that spawn around the map. Do not underestimate the AI, however, as they are a formidable foe and can more than hold themselves when surrounded by players.
When they spawn, it’s a frantic battle by both teams trying to get the final blow. That is where I felt the challenge of killing the AI boss to contribute towards your team’s points could exploitable. Imagine your team fending off waves and waves of players and AI alike to kill off the boss. You spend every bullet and muster every able body to focus their skills and firepower onto the boss, only for an opponent sniper to take the last shot and obtain all the points. Immensely frustrating. And yes I have done that many times myself.
The inclusion of Forge where players can create their own maps and challenges for the community still stands strong. The developers carefully select content from the best of these user-created items and include them occasionally in dedicated playlists. Dedicated servers help the online experience further. In my many hours of game time I have rarely found it to be laggy and finding matches takes less than 10 seconds.
Halo 5 uses every ounce of power from the Xbox One system and outputs it in excellent form. The slick design of each item is unique, bold and creative. The multiplayer stages are well designed with every map sporting a distinct look. From the Fiery industrial core of Molten to the icy chasms of Antifreeze the team has been creative with their approach so far.
Smoldering ruins of Molten
Blazing wrath of Antifreeze
REQ packs and Req cards are Halo 5’s reward system achieved through giveaways, playing matches and reaching milestones. It will award all of the cosmetic items as you open packs such as armor variations, character stances and various weapon and vehicle upgrades which can be used in Warzone playlist. It can be bought with real money or earned through game time. Cards have different rarities from uncommon to legendary items.
Halo over the years has grown into a behemoth. Upon its release, there were not many modes or maps which made the game feel a little stale. However, 343's dedication and the promise of one year free DLC have been delivered. With it, the Halo 5 community is growing bigger and stronger. Other games should take note of Halo 5's successful business model. Its current state is a joy to behold with double the maps and game modes alongside customizations and unique weapon upgrades, making this Halo probably the best Halo so far.
"I am a monument to all your sins"
If you'd like to know more, you can check out my Youtube video review