Halo 5 Doesn’t Feel Like Halo: Multiplayer Experience From PAX East

I had the opportunity to try out Halo 5 multiplayer at PAX East and now I am skeptical about it's future.

Halo has been a series that I have been heavily involved with for well over a decade. It was a huge jump for multiplayer console shooters and it’s very easy to bring back fond old memories whenever someone brought up the name. However, I’m not quite sure I like the direction that the game is going in with its newest installment, Halo 5: Guardians.

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On the PAX East show floor, I had the opportunity to try out some Halo 5 multiplayer. The game mode we got to play was a domination match. This means that kills didn’t bring much to the table; there were just three points in a small boxed canyon that you needed to control. You got to start with two weapons, the Auto-rifle and Battle Rifle. It was Halo, but there were a few roadblock I was having issues getting over.

Aim Down Sights

This is the staple of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. However, this isn’t necessarily a mechanic that fits for Halo. I understand using a scope for the Battle Rifle, Sniper Rifle, or any weapon that has a scope. But the Auto-Rifle just doesn’t feel right when you look down its “sights.”

It takes away from the run and gun nature of Halo and makes it feel like every other FPS in the genre. Once this mechanic is added to a game it has to be used, otherwise your pretty much gimping yourself by not making your targets larger on your screen.

Boosts

Something that caught me off guard was the ability to do a slight boost dash to the side. The first time I did this was on accident hitting the X button. Once I learned that this was a game mechanic I started to realise I wasn’t playing Halo. I was playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare with a new skin on it. I started to feel less like a Spartan and more like a soldier in an Exo-suit.

It’s difficult to figure out ways to make Halo feel new and refreshed without following the footprints set by other games. Maybe it’s just my rose-colored nostalgia goggles, but this just didn’t feel right.

Everything has a Timer

One of the things that separated the good from the great was knowing spawn timers. For example, knowing when the rocket launcher was going to spawn would give you one of the greatest advantages in the Halo series.

Now your teammates will automatically alert you in the game 30 seconds and 10 seconds before something like the rocket launcher will spawn and when I say teammates, I mean the characters that are being controlled by humans. This is an automated process within the game and doesn’t need any input from a player. 

It’s Not All Bad Though

I do have a laundry list of issues with Halo 5, but I can’t completely disregard the game over them. The visuals were great and the audio felt immersive and had great fidelity. I also never got an opportunity to try out any vehicles or see any campaign, so those could be top-notch. 

For now, I have to remain skeptical. Maybe 343 will show more details on Halo 5 soon, but I won’t be going out to pre-order this game just yet.


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Ryan Mayle
Player, Photographer, Writer, and Caster for all things eSports.