343 Industries Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com 343 Industries RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Halo Summer Celebration Brings Announcements, Merchandise, and More! https://www.gameskinny.com/v4pis/halo-summer-celebration-brings-announcements-merchandise-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/v4pis/halo-summer-celebration-brings-announcements-merchandise-and-more Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:41:59 -0400 stratataisen

Halo is celebrating summer all season long with new content, merchandise, and exciting announcements. Here’s a quick taste of what the franchise has lined up this season.

Halo 5

With the growing excitement for the upcoming Xbox One X release and the promise of true 4K gaming, many were quick to note that Halo 5 was absent from the game list that would be receiving the 4K treatment. But fear not, 343 has officially confirmed that Halo 5 will be coming to the Xbox One X in full 4K glory.

More Backwards Compatibility

Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4, and Halo: CE Anniversary will become available for the Xbox One backwards compatibility program. This includes the campaign, multiplayer, and LAN play support. On top of that, every Xbox 360 add-on map pack will be made available for free from the Xbox store. And if you already own the games from before, there will be no need to rebuy them -- just pop in the original disc and jump right in.

Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 has received several updates, balance tweaks, and add-on contents since it’s release back in February. So far, Season Pass holders have received four months of new updates, with more to come in July and August.

Once August has come and gone and the Season Pass has ended, Halo Wars 2 fan will have the new premium expansion to look forward to. “Awakening the Nightmare,” will include a new campaign from the perspective of The Banished,  the return of an ancient, deadly foe in the Flood, a brand-new multiplayer mode, and two new Banished Leaders.

Hitting the Road

Halo and the 343 team will be several events this summer, mingling and celebrating the Halo with the community. Here’s a list of the events they’ll be attending:

  • RTX Austin 2017: July 7-9
  • HCS Summer Finals @ Dreamhack Atlanta: July 21st
  • China Joy: July 27-30
  • Gamescom: August 22-26

Legendary Halo Gear

More LootCrates!

The Halo Legendary Crate is back after the success of the first wave of excellent content. The Series 2 creates are available for purchase now and slated to bring even more exclusive Halo gear and content. Secure your ownat the LootCrate website.

Mattel Action Figures

The second series of 6” Halo action figures from Mattel has launched. This set includes Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam, Spartan Buck, Jerome-092, Atriox, and the Imperial Grunt.

Expanded Universe

Halo: Rise of Atriox

In partnership with Dark Horse, fans will get a closer look into Atriox’s past, and the rise of his legacy. Fans got a glimpse of this history during Isabel’s initial intelligence report on the UNSC Spirit of Fire. Those events and more will be told through this brand-new comic anthology series.

Halo: Retribution

August 29th will bring a new book, written by Troy Denning. The description for this novel reads as follows:

December 2553. Less than a year after the end of the Covenant War, a string of violent incidents continues to threaten the tenuous peace in human-held space, culminating in the assassination of UNSC fleet admiral Graselyn Tuwa and the abduction of her family. It is a provocation so outrageous that the Office of Naval Intelligence must retaliate swiftly and ferociously—but only after its operatives identify her killer and rescue the hostages.

This mission will be the first for homicide-detective-turned-ONI-operative Veta Lopis and her young team of Spartan-IIIs, and something feels wrong from the start. The obvious suspect is an infamous Brute who leads the Keepers of the One Freedom, an ex-Covenant splinter group in fierce opposition to the UNSC. But Lopis and her team soon realize that the truth is much more insidious than they could ever have imagined, and with Fred-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058 of Blue Team for combat support, they must stop a plan hatched in the bowels of the secret research station Argent Moon—a plan so sinister it could destroy all those still reeling from thirty years of intergalactic conflict…

 

Even More for Halo 5

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Halo 3

It's the 10th anniversary of Halo 3 and to celebrate this milestone, the 343 team is planning a special Halo 3 Anniversary Throwback playlist for Halo 5. This new matchmaking offers a selection of community-made Halo 3 maps created with Forge in Halo 5 and will feature “classic” gameplay settings. There will also be a commemorative live stream that will offer fun times and giveaways.

Halo 5 Matchmaking

The matchmaking fun will continue through the summer with regular featured playlist updates including returning favorites and brand-new offerings. The Halo 5 team will be cooking up all manners of fun things for fans, from Multi-Team to Double XP, and the return of fan favorites like Ranked Snipers and more.

You can find out more about the Summer Celebration over on Halo WayPoint.

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Final Settings for Halo Summer 2017 Pro League Announced https://www.gameskinny.com/73n3o/final-settings-for-halo-summer-2017-pro-league-announced https://www.gameskinny.com/73n3o/final-settings-for-halo-summer-2017-pro-league-announced Sun, 30 Apr 2017 11:24:50 -0400 tofuslayer

We're less than two weeks away from Halo Championship Series Daytona on May 12-14, and HCS has officially released the final settings for the Summer 2017 Championship. After a heated battle at Worlds back in March, many Halo eSports fans are excited to see what this season holds. It's always interesting to see the new changes in settings from season to season, and we're all looking forward to seeing how this changes the game for our favorite players.

Summer 2017 Kicks off at HCS Daytona

HCS Daytona marks the start of the Summer 2017 season for HCS, where teams will compete for an opportunity to win $75,000 in open 4v4.

In case you missed it, these are the seven teams slated to compete in HSC Summer this year:

  • OpTic Gaming
  • Team EnVyUs
  • Team Liquid
  • Str8 Rippin
  • Luminosity Gaming
  • TMMT Crowd Pleasers
  • Evil Geniuses

The last team will be decided at the NA Last Chance Qualifier in light of Team Allegiance disbanding and losing their spot.

Final Summer 2017 Settings

To see the full list of changes, click here

One notable change is the reduction of ammo in the Railgun on Rig by one clip. Many players have wondered if its level of devastation caused an unfair advantage. Apparently, the people at Halo thought so. And while this may not cause a huge change in the type of plays we see on Rig, it will undoubtedly reduce the weapon's power. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out at HCS Daytona.

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Are you looking forward to Summer 2017? Who do you want to see win the LCQ? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Coming to the Windows Store and... Steam? https://www.gameskinny.com/hdnby/halo-wars-definitive-edition-coming-to-the-windows-store-and-steam https://www.gameskinny.com/hdnby/halo-wars-definitive-edition-coming-to-the-windows-store-and-steam Mon, 17 Apr 2017 18:49:16 -0400 Dan Roemer

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is getting a standalone release set to come out April 20th. It will be launching on Xbox One and the Windows Store -- but even more surprising, it will also be releasing on Steam.

As Destructoid originally pointed out, this is unexpected simply because Microsoft has been pushing hard for Xbox One and the Windows Store service on Windows 10 to be the absolute go-to place for its video games. So for a first-party title from Microsoft itself to end up on Steam (seemingly its top competitor in the digital marketplace on PC) -- is a bit of a shock, but it's also a smart business move in the short term.

Despite Microsoft and many others trying to push their own digital storefronts for games on PC, Steam is still the largest platform on the marketplace with an active userbase of well over 10 million users at any given moment on the storefront -- every single day.

Even so, releasing Halo Wars: Definitive Edition on Steam might actually be a smart move for Microsoft. Though the Valve-owned platform is their most direct competitor, it's also likely the best hope for the game to see any long-term success or profit. 

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Will you be checking out Halo Wars: Definitive Edition? If so, which platform do you intend to play or purchase it on? Let us know in the comments!

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ESL Announces Halo Pro League Return this Summer 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/qc07g/esl-announces-halo-pro-league-return-this-summer-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/qc07g/esl-announces-halo-pro-league-return-this-summer-2017 Sun, 16 Apr 2017 11:20:42 -0400 tofuslayer

ESL and 343 Industries has announced that the Halo Championship Series: Pro League is returning for its summer 2017 season starting May 24. Teams will have the opportunity to collect over $150,000 in prize money throughout the course of the season. ESL also announced that they will be crowd funding extra prize money to be added to the prize pool at season finals at DreamHack Atlanta in July.

The announcement from ESL also revealed the lineup of teams for the North American Pro League:

  • OpTic Gaming
  • Team EnVyUs
  • Team Liquid
  • Str8 Rippin
  • Luminosity Gaming
  • TMMT Crowd Pleasers
  • Evil Geniuses

In a surprising turn of events, the eighth seeded team, Allegiance, disbanded and lost their spot this season. In the wake of these events, the final team set to compete this season will be decided at the NA Last Chance Qualifier.

The top six NA teams will compete at Finals at DreamHack Atlanta at the end of the season. With OpTic returning to the HCS Pro League as the 2017 World Champions, it'll be interesting to see how the season plays out!

Who are you rooting for this season? Let us know in the comments below!

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Halo Wars 2 Review: The Comeback of the Console RTS https://www.gameskinny.com/l7n6u/halo-wars-2-review-the-comeback-of-the-console-rts https://www.gameskinny.com/l7n6u/halo-wars-2-review-the-comeback-of-the-console-rts Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:50:41 -0500 Synzer

Halo Wars 2 does a fantastic job at translating the usually difficult-to-control real time strategy genre from PC to console. It also lets you decide whether you want to play on PC or Xbox One, though it surprisingly plays better on Xbox One.

It has a story that rivals even the main first-person titles in the series, and a unique Blitz mode that is the very essence of Halo

What I Liked

Blitz Mode

Halo Wars 2 blitz mode

This is by far my favorite part of Halo Wars 2. It is a fast-paced and quick game mode that utilizes cards to customize your units. There are special units and powers you can use to gain an advantage, and you can bring them in on the battlefield in an instant.

This game mode fits the theme of the Halo series (and this game) perfectly. You have the classic announcer, shorter games, and more easily accessible style -- similar to what Overwatch does for the arena shooter genre. For beginners and people that don't want to spend a lot of time building up resources, energy, and bases, this is the perfect game mode.

I also enjoyed customizing by deck to get the best cards I could come up with, which offers another layer of strategy you don't usually see in an RTS.

Story

The story was interesting enough that I wanted to keep playing just to see what would happen. And you could do it co-op, which is almost always a plus. The game flows so well from mission to mission, and it feels like actual warfare instead of just a lone savior like Master Chief. The cut-scenes were also very well done and impressive. 

What I Disliked

Mechanics

I don't have many complaints, but its is odd how they made this game work almost too well for console. Selecting certain units is still easier on PC, but I actually liked using the controller and playing on Xbox One more than PC.

Even though it is more accessible, it still has a steep learning curve for those that are not familiar with RTS games or the first Halo Wars 2. Even after the tutorials, normal multiplayer games can get overwhelming.

Blitz mode brings that pick-up-and-play style to the RTS, but it is still not enough to revolutionize the genre.

Story

Although I did enjoy the story, it was still pretty short at 12 missions. I only wish there was more of it.

The Verdict

halo wars 2 campaign

In the end, I appreciate what Halo Wars 2 has to offer. It may not be a huge step forward for the genre, but its ease-of-use on console -- and the new Blitz mode -- are things other games should look at.

Fans of Halo or RTS games should definitely give this one a try. Even players looking to branch out will find this an enjoyable experience, if for nothing else but the campaign.

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Halo 5 - A Year on Multiplayer Review https://www.gameskinny.com/540i1/halo-5-a-year-on-multiplayer-review https://www.gameskinny.com/540i1/halo-5-a-year-on-multiplayer-review Sun, 07 Aug 2016 14:17:10 -0400 Draco_8626

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

Spartan Abilities

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.

Customisation

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.

Multiplayer Diversity

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.

Forge-tastic!

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.

Graphics

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

Reward packs

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"
- Gravemind

If you'd like to know more, you can check out my Youtube video review

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Halo Wars 2: Everything We Know So Far https://www.gameskinny.com/jsa5x/halo-wars-2-everything-we-know-so-far https://www.gameskinny.com/jsa5x/halo-wars-2-everything-we-know-so-far Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:35:52 -0400 Phil Fry

Last weekend at Rooster Teeth's RTX 2016, a new trailer for 343's Halo Wars 2 was shown. The trailer sets the stage for the upcoming RTS, showcasing Captain Cutter and various UNSC Spartans struggling against a united Brute and Elite combat force. With the release of this new cinematic, it feels appropriate to discuss what is currently known about Halo Wars 2, which is set to release February 21st of 2017. 

The Campaign Experience:

While the first Halo Wars was a prequel to the events of the Halo franchise, Halo Wars 2 takes place right after the chaotic events of Halo 5: Guardians. Following Captain Cutter and crew of the Spirit of Fire, the story takes place on the Forerunner creation, the Ark, which was first introduced in Halo 3 as the birthplace of the franchises namesake, the halo rings. Players will fight to control the Ark against a Covenant force known as The Banished.  

Additionally, developer Creative Assembly, which was behind games such as Rome: Total War and Total War: Shogun 2, promises to deliver a true RTS experience on both Xbox One and Windows 10. 

Multiplayer Mode:

Halo Wars 2 will offer players various kinds of Multiplayer modes. 

  • Strongholds: In this mode, players scramble to control more bases than their opponents before time runs out. 
  • Domination: This mode retains the classic RTS style multiplayer from Halo Wars in which players build their base and armies to conquer their foes. This mode will feature new units and leaders from Halo Wars 2. 
  • Deathmatch: Instead of fighting for map control, players will fight in this mode until only one player is left standing. 
  • Blitz: This will be an all new multiplayer mode that promises to take a unique approach to RTS style gameplay.

This is what we know so far, but be sure to check back on GameSkinny for more information when it becomes available. Halo Wars 2 is available for pre-order on Microsoft's online store, and by pre-ordering a copy for Xbox One, players can connect with users on Windows 10. 

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Goblin Grunt and UNSC Wasp Make First Appearances in latest Halo 5 Warzone Mode https://www.gameskinny.com/7j3ia/goblin-grunt-and-unsc-wasp-make-first-appearances-in-latest-halo-5-warzone-mode https://www.gameskinny.com/7j3ia/goblin-grunt-and-unsc-wasp-make-first-appearances-in-latest-halo-5-warzone-mode Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:22:40 -0400 Phil Fry

In the latest upcoming update for Halo 5: Guardians' 24-player Warzone mode, 343 Industries is introducing a new gargantuan "Grunt Goblin" and a air support vehicle, the UNSC Wasp.

The Grunt Goblin is a burly mech controlled by the familiar Grunt unit. It's equipped with a colossal canon-like needler that is capable of inflicting dangerous amounts of damage to vehicles. The heavy needler can also launch a bombardment of needles upon up to 8 different players through multi-targeting. The Goblin can also emit a EMP pulse, shutting down any nearby vehicles, and in turn is immune to any EMP-like shots. 

343 Industries gave a little more insight into the suit's design: 

 "Essentially, the backstory of this battle suit is it was built by Grunts for Grunts in what the Grunt designers agreed was the perfect embodiment of agility and lethality. Obviously when you have a Grunt driver or ‘jockey’ controlling this powerful battle suit, results may be unpredictable."  [Via Polygon]

Although the Grunt Goblin's arsenal demands to be taken seriously, there are several weak areas on the mechanized armor like its backpack which will disable the suit's heavy needler; however, by rendering the needler out of commission, the Goblin has access to a powerful grenade launcher. The cockpit of the suit is another potentially vulnerable area to focus fire. 

If players so choose, the other addition to the Warzone update, the UNSC Wasp could be utilized to bring the Goblin down. 

The Wasp is designed to be a "close air support" flying vehicle variant of the UNSC Hornet and Sparrowhawk. It's equipped with dual rocket launchers and a heavy machine gun.

[Image courtesy of Polygon]

The Wasp would be great for swooping in to unleash carnage on the Goblin, and retreating in guerrilla warfare fashion.

The UNSC Wasp will be available in Forge mode to players who obtain an REQ card, and both the Goblin and Wasp will be coming in the latest free update to Warzone mode, which is said to be coming soon. 

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Halo 5 Hog Wild REQ Drop DLC Released https://www.gameskinny.com/vp0rn/halo-5-hog-wild-req-drop-dlc-released https://www.gameskinny.com/vp0rn/halo-5-hog-wild-req-drop-dlc-released Tue, 31 May 2016 16:20:18 -0400 Phil Fry

Released today, May 31, 2016, the "Hog Wild REQ Drop" DLC for Halo 5 Guardians features variants of the classic, iconic Warthog vehicle. 

The free DLC adds four new Warthogs, player emblems, the "Stinger" and "Interceptor" armor sets, and special weapon REQs. 

The legendary Warthog REQ, the "Vespin Rocket Warthog" has faster reload times with accelerated rocket firing speeds. 

The uncommon "Rally Warthog" revamps the classic Warthog with advanced armor and speed. 

The content expansion also features the rare "Sword Needler Warthog" which fires needler rounds, and the uncommon "Rally Scout Warthog". 

Other items include the legendary "Starfire" visor, the "Hybrid" weapon class, and the "Aurum" weapon skin loadout. 

The largest expansion of content to Halo 5 Guardians, "Warzone Firefight" releases at the end of June 2016. This DLC will add even more REQ items, a new 8 player Firefight mode, weather effects in Forge map making, and even more vehicle variations. More information about this DLC may be found here

[Images retrieved from www.halowaypoint.com]

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Halo 5's Free DLC "Hog Wild" Release Date and Details Revealed https://www.gameskinny.com/tn8j6/halo-5s-free-dlc-hog-wild-release-date-and-details-revealed https://www.gameskinny.com/tn8j6/halo-5s-free-dlc-hog-wild-release-date-and-details-revealed Sun, 29 May 2016 05:41:21 -0400 Daniel Lopez

Halo 5's next free update, "Hog Wild", is launching Tuesday, May 31st, according to a blog post by developer 343 Industries.

While the DLC won't becoming with any new maps, there will be a slew of new REQ items including Spartan armor, the hybrid weapon scope and, of course, Warthogs a plenty.

The post also mentioned "bigger items" that were slated for the Hog Wild release are being given finishing touches and will release along with the highly anticipated Warzone Firefight launch coming at the end of June.

Updates for the revamped Warzone game mode includes the Warzone Boss Refresh to create dynamic boss encounters. "Each Warzone match should be a bit different instead of the same encounters game after game," said 343 Industries in their post.

343 Industries also states their Legendary bosses in Warzone will carry "unique names, visual identity, and a unique REQ weapon." Players will have a chance to collect and use these weapons upon defeating said bosses.

Additionally, the team released details for their Arena Multiplayer summer update, including final map and game type combinations for Team Arena and the HCS Pro League. You can check out the nitty gritty on everything included in the update here.

In other Halo 5 news, the Memories of Reach update dropped earlier this month, adding the fan favorite Infection game mode and plenty of Halo: Reach inspired REQs.

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Halo 5's Hammer Storm update brings back original pistol & Firefight news https://www.gameskinny.com/vktio/halo-5s-hammer-storm-update-brings-back-original-pistol-firefight-news https://www.gameskinny.com/vktio/halo-5s-hammer-storm-update-brings-back-original-pistol-firefight-news Wed, 24 Feb 2016 09:53:28 -0500 Anson Chan

One of the most memorable aspects of Halo: Combat Evolved is the incredibly powerful M6D pistol. Those who beat Halo: CE on Legendary know of its propensity to kill Hunters in a single shot, annihilate Banshees as if they were made of paper, and murder more or less everything that you aim it at. Naturally, it came to be the weapon of choice for many in both campaign and multiplayer. 

With Halo 5's Hammer Storm update, one of the most iconic weapons of all time returns to multiplayer, unchanged and untouched. That means that it will kill someone within three headshots, feature the classic zoom functionality, and have that classic dull grey paintjob.

In other news...

That being said, the Halo: CE pistol will only be available in REQ packs (for now anyways), alongside the usual plethora of new cosmetic items, Storm Rifle variants, and Gravity Hammers. Therefore, it will actually be rather time consuming for someone to actually unlock the Halo: CE pistol, at least unless you're incredibly lucky. 

Fortunately, Halo 5's Hammer Storm update features the return of explosive ball-based gametypes, namely Assault and Grifball.

Furthermore, a new Arena map dubbed Torque has been added into the normal map rotations. On Torque, you will fight on a human space station that has been forcibly evacuated by Cortana. The map is fairly symmetrical, although the team that can control the center of the map gains a slight advantage over the other team.  

Prepare for the future (of Firefight)

Speaking of returning gametypes, Halo 3: ODST's signature Firefight mode will return in a future Halo 5 update. Dubbed "Warzone Firefight," you and your friends will be able to team up against increasingly difficult waves of AI controlled enemies. 

While the details regarding future updates are scarce (obviously), the names of said upcoming updates has been revealed. The first is called "The Ghosts of Meridian," which presumably features maps based on the planet where Fireteam Osiris first encountered the Warden Eternal. Following that, the "Memories of Reach" will most likely add some maps and cosmetic items that were featured in Halo: Reach. Lastly, "Hog Wild" might bring in some especially large maps, alongside a number of Warthog variants and or racing related gametypes.

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Grifball and more coming to Halo 5 in Hammer Storm update https://www.gameskinny.com/80lc7/grifball-and-more-coming-to-halo-5-in-hammer-storm-update https://www.gameskinny.com/80lc7/grifball-and-more-coming-to-halo-5-in-hammer-storm-update Sun, 14 Feb 2016 05:33:20 -0500 Anson Chan

Keeping up with their promise of free monthly updates to Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries just announced the addition of several classic Halo gamemodes and features to the game. This February, you can expect to be able to grab all sorts of giant, explosive balls in Grifball, Assault, and Fiesta with the Hammer Storm update. 

Of course, you may ask, "But how are we going to smash Grif if there aren't any Gravity Hammers in the game?" Simple: along with the customary bevy of new armor sets, emblems, weapon skins, and Warzone weapons, 343 Industries is adding the classic Gravity Hammer as well. 

Speaking of classics, Halo 5 will receive a massive Quality of Life overhaul in the Hammer Storm update in the form of UI improvements and emblem and armor colorization. While the term "UI improvements" is rather ambiguous, it could technically mean that things like the pre- and post-game screens could return to their classic look and functionality. However, this is mere conjecture, so take that with a grain of salt.

Fortunately, it has been explicitly stated that the emblem and armor colorization mechanic will be changed to more resemble the mechanic that existed in the Bungie-era Halo days. In other words, the amount of colors that you can choose from for customization will be doubled to 60 colors, and you will no longer have to choose from a restricted combination of preset colors. Instead, you can mix and match any combination of colors you want to create whatever Spartan you desire.

No update would be complete without new maps, so to that end, a brand new map dubbed Torque will be added to the game. As one can expect from the name, the map will be based on a human space station (maybe even the top of a space elevator?) that features a couple of rings.

Presumably, this might result in a circular arena map, or -- more likely -- something that resembles a remake of the Halo 3 map, Orbital. 

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Halo 5: Guardians Review https://www.gameskinny.com/2m4tw/halo-5-guardians-review https://www.gameskinny.com/2m4tw/halo-5-guardians-review Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:38:08 -0500 S2riker

I really wanted to dislike Halo 5: Guardians. It all started months before release, when developer 343 Industries announced via Twitter that the much beloved split-screen feature, a series staple, would be left on the cutting room floor. Next was the overtly misleading marketing campaign -- players were invited to come “Hunt the Truth" in a tale of revenge and betrayal between the Master Chief and series newcomer Spartan Jameson Locke, a tantalizing concept that hands-on playthroughs began to elucidate had nothing at all to do with the actual game.  

Yet despite these valid criticisms, Halo 5 made me a believer. It’s a stunning showcase for the Xbox One, defying my expectations of what’s achievable visually on the platform.  It also boasts an amazing single-player campaign and a competent multiplayer suite that moves the series into new territory.   Minor issues and lack of content on the multiplayer front hold it back from classic status as of now, but this is still one fantastic shooter that can’t be missed by fans of Halo, sci-fi, or action-adventure.

Story

I imagine Halo 5’s story will be divisive amongst series loyalists; it focuses little on the Master Chief, shrouding much of his tale and motivations beneath the investigative assignment of Spartan Jameson Locke, whom you play as for the majority of the campaign. Tagging along with Locke and Chief through their respective adventures are their compatriot Fireteams. Master Chief’s “Blue Team” consists of three old friends from his childhood in the Spartan-2 program, while Agent Locke's more eclectic bunch of comrades form team “Osiris”.

Plenty of inter-mission banter is interspersed through the proceedings of each teams, which fleshes out the backstories behind each world and the alien species encountered within them.  It doesn’t, however, do as great a job as you’d hope at expounding upon the history of the characters themselves.

It’s an issue that plagues the entire Halo 5 narrative to a degree -- many of its most important elements, those that would turn this already solid story into a great one, are tucked away in other mediums of the Halo universe and have rarely or never been referenced in prior games.  Seeing how Halo has grown over the years to include novels, comics, audio documentaries, and CGI television shows, it’s a story whose complexities will only really be appreciated by those heavily invested in other avenues of the franchise's fiction. 

It’s a testament, then, to Halo 5's writing that the story still feels impactful and consequential.  

Each twist and turn is satisfying, locations all have a strong connection to the story, and there’s a particularly inviting mystery behind the antagonist that is well-developed over the course of the game. It also avoids the overly-convenient resolution that Halo 4 suffered with its villainous Didact. 

Many players may riot at the cliffhanger ending that's so reminiscent of Halo 2, but the closure here subtly sheds new light to other aspects of the story that may have initially seemed inconsequential.  If anything, it has made me that much more eager to jump into the inevitable Halo 6 because of it! 

Gameplay and Design

Luckily, Halo 5's gameplay will quickly erase any nagging complaints one may have with the narrative. Simply put, this is perhaps the best campaign I’ve ever played in a first-person shooter. Admittedly, this genre is lacking in many standout single-player experiences, but the point remains. The combination of sublime combat mechanics, ruthlessly diverse AI and engrossing level design adds up to a fantastic solo experience that becomes even better when co-op is added to the mix.

Much of 343i’s focus this time around has been on creating a campaign that seamlessly accommodates cooperative play, and there is no greater beneficiary of this philosophy than the fantastic level design. Missions are distinctly linear, but combat zones contain a wide multitude of routes and approach options that allow you to plan each encounter to your specific style. They also provide ample opportunities for flanking enemies via hidden caves, sniping from vertically-displaced alcoves and sneaking up on unsuspecting foes via subterranean passageways.

Combat remains tight and focused despite the labyrinth of interconnected routes and vertical layers that make up each play space.

If there's any complaint to be had here at all, it's that the friendly AI that controls your teammates when playing solo sometimes does a poor job of reviving you when fallen into a "downed" state.  The issue seems to be related to the AI's pathfinding capabilities in more complex terrain, as simpler areas of the game don't reproduce the problem. Players are smartly granted the ability to order basic squad commands to the AI as well, to keep them focused on specific enemy targets or to pick up more valuable weapons strewn throughout the battlefield.

Significant time and attention seems to have been paid to navigation outside of combat areas; little to no time is spent aimlessly wandering through overly large levels as was the case in earlier Halo games, and areas void of combat are often the sites of critical story moments or showcases for the incredible vistas and landscapes that make up these fantastical worlds.

There’s a genuine sense of place here; a semblance aided by 343i’s decision to set the adventure primarily in three distinct locations -- the gassed colony of Meridian, the Covenant Homeworld of Sanghelli, and the Forerunner Planet of Genesis. Each environment showcases a mastery of artistic expression, with a plethora of assets like murals, monuments, and flora that visually reinforce the mood and aesthetic. 

For those of you explorers out there...

343i has hidden plenty of collectable intel and skull modifiers in each mission, the former providing valuable insights into the backstory while the latter serve as unlockable campaign modifiers.  In a departure from tradition, a couple of missions eschew combat entirely, allowing you to freely walk around areas full of NPC’s to eavesdrop and converse with before proceeding to the next mission. These sequences are a welcome respite from the shooting and even contain some light-hearted, humorous dialogue for players who explore the areas and don’t rush straight to the objective waypoints.  On the recommended Heroic difficulty, the game took me approximately 9 hours to complete -- a figure right in line with previous entries of the series.

Presentation

Halo 5 is a technical tour-de-force, containing some of the most impressive visual and audio panache of this console generation.  That accomplishment begins with the aforementioned environments -- every planet, colony, and spaceship has been made with an impeccable level of craftsmanship, complimented by phenomenal lighting and texture detail.  Particle effects emanating from weapons, vehicles, and explosions are entirely convincing, and the game’s individual elements blend together seamlessly, with no discernible ugliness of any particular levels or assets.

On the aural front, Halo 5’s musical score maintains the high bar of quality that the series is renowned for.  I suspect that none of the new orchestral pieces will become as iconic as Halo CE's original theme proved to be, but each tune does a great job of carrying the adventure nonetheless.  A particular highlight of the auditory package is the sound design; weapons and explosions produce incredibly crisp and distinct timbres while vocal performances have been expanded to provide dialogue to the Covenant and Promethean forces in addition to friendly Spartans.   

Halo 5's most stunning technical achievement, though, is its complete adherence to a locked 60 FPS presentation.

Seeing Halo running at this fluidity is an absolute sight to behold, and does wonders for every aspect of the game, from the controller response to perceptional elements like animation and dynamic lighting. It’s so fluid, and dare I say PC-like, that it was hard for my eyes to adjust back to other 30 FPS titles afterwards.

To hit this framerate target however, many under-the-hood compromises had to be made with regard to the game’s engine.  Halo 5 operates at a dynamically-changing resolution depending on processing load, maxing out at a full 1080p but often dipping significantly below that.  In some of the game’s most complex areas with hordes of enemies on screen, resolution can drop in the neighborhood of 1152x810 (according to analysis conducted by Digital Foundry) where pixelation becomes distracting in areas of foliage and natural terrain.  In typical scenarios, however, the resolution remains high enough to not significantly detract from the overall presentation.

Another odd compromise that eagle-eyed observers will notice is the reduction in animation fluidity for enemies past a certain distance from the player.  While relatively inconsequential during the single-player experience due to the already robotic movements of the Promethean soldiers, the transition is sometimes jarring in multiplayer bouts where distant Spartans begin to take on an almost stop-motion appearance.

The most unfortunate casualty of Halo 5's 60 FPS mandate, however, is the complete absence of any split-screen multiplayer for either the campaign or multiplayer modes. 

Split-screen multiplayer has all but defined the Halo series since its inception, and its removal is just egregious -- especially considering how concomitantly the campaign’s design allies with cooperative play.  It’s one of the few instances where I can support fans in their outspoken derision towards a developer over a particular oversight. I can only hope that 343i will recognize the importance of re-adding this critical feature into Halo 6. 

Multiplayer

Halo 5's arena multiplayer suite embraces the competitive underpinnings of Halo more than any previous title, with changes like the new movement options from the suit's Spartan Abilities, a noticeable reduction in controller aim-assist, mechanical compromises between sprinting and shield recovery and the removal of weapon loadouts in favor of homogeneous starter weapons that are swapped based on the game mode.

This high degree of competitiveness extends to the map design as well. Opportunities for trick jumps and clever use of Spartan dashes are plentiful, while sight-lines and verticality across the map feel cleverly orchestrated to facilitate a balance between long-range and close-quarters weaponry. Many of the flashier visual elements of the campaign levels feel pared back here too, likely in order to improve player visibility and ensure performance levels.  These traits are highly evident in the maps catering to arena staples- like Team Slayer, Rumble Pit and Capture the Flag.

The changes make Halo 5 a far more lively and acrobatic experience than it ever felt like under Bungie's tutelage.

Compared to Halo 4 however, there is a certain element of compromise. Halo 5 provides sterility with its balanced weaponry and open map layouts that make it far more competitively viable than its predecessor. But much of the unpredictability and chaos that Halo 4’s Ordinance Drops and loadout customization provided is lost, making this Halo less socially enjoyable overall.

Some notable new game modes have been introduced into Halo 5's multiplayer. The first of these, Breakout, is a 4v4, single-life team deathmatch where the objective is to either eliminate all members of the enemy team or capture a neutral flag and return it to the enemy base. The mode takes place on its own set of symmetrical Forge maps with a holographic aesthetic, and it is tactically reminiscent of something like Counter-Strike. The amount of fun you’ll have playing it, though, seems highly dependent on whether you’re able to play with friends or are only being paired with random teammates online.

The star of Halo 5's promotional materials has been Warzone, and it serves as the next-generation replacement for past modes like Firefight and Spartan Ops.  

In this all new 12v12 multiplayer extravaganza, players are tasked with obtaining points via capturing bases, killing opponents, and taking down AI-controlled baddies and bosses that spawn in at varying intervals through each match. Each map is huge, seemingly around the size of three Big Team Battle maps mashed together, and the action often shifts across these levels until one team acquires the necessary 1000 points to win the match.

With many ways of scoring and the entire Halo sandbox in play on a single map, Warzone is at its best an unpredictable and wild affair. Too often though, I found objective points scattered so far apart on the map that there’s long moments of downtime where you’re just running around searching for some action. It’s a more patient Halo affair, all-considering, and it’s way more similar to something like Battlefield than the in-your-face action of Halo’s arena multiplayer.  

There’s a variant of Warzone called Warzone Assault as well, which removes the AI-controlled enemies and reduces the focus on piloting vehicles.  One team is tasked with capturing a linkage of bases in succession, while the enemy team attempts to defend them.  It’s a hectic and fun mode, but suffers by not giving each team an opportunity to play both offense and defense during each match.  The developers should take a note from Unreal Tournament’s Assault mode, where whichever offensive team completed the objectives faster would win the match.

Warzone is where Halo 5's controversial microtransactions make their first appearance.

Rather than providing players with power weapons and vehicles across the map, players must use “Requisitions" (REQ's) obtained from packages through extended play or actual currency to call in weapons and vehicles to the battlefield. The catch is that a Spartan may only call in a REQ at equal or lesser value as what their REQ level currently is during a match.  Some of these REQ’s, once selected, become permanent additions to your loadout for the match, while power weapons and vehicles are single-use only.  Depending on how you want to look at it, that fact could either cheapen or increase their perceived value. 

343i has created an innumerable amount of REQ cards to the system, many of which are more powerful variants on existing weapons and vehicles. For example, players can call in a modified battle rifle with a long-range sniper scope or a Mongoose armed with rocket launchers. Unfortunately, most players who don’t indulge in paying for microtransaction REQs will have a slim chance of ever obtaining these powerful variants for themselves, due to the rarity of these cards in the free packages.  Luckily, most of the default power armaments like Rocket Launchers and Scorpions are readily provided in the free REQs.

By the series' own standard, Halo 5’s multiplayer suite feels distinctly unfinished. Many previous game modes like Regicide, Oddball, Infection and Firefight remain unaccounted for, while fan favorites like Big Team Battle are entirely populated by community-built Forge maps, with little of the craftsmanship 343i bestows on its Warzone and Arena experiences. 

There's also a distinct lack of maps, especially in Warzone with only 4 available battlegrounds at time of writing. Many of these shortcomings will likely be addressed in the months ahead as part of 343i's free DLC release schedule, but it doesn’t seem appropriate to have to wait months for some of the most popular game modes and additional maps to make their appearance.

Conclusion

Halo 5: Guardians is a fantastic and incredibly polished title that's only slightly held back by its lack of expected features and limited multiplayer content. Some of this will hopefully be rectified during 343i’s extended free DLC release schedule, while other omissions like split-screen are more glaring and will hopefully be addressed in the series’ next installment. It’s not quite the sensation that Halo 4 proved to be for myself and my circle of friends, but it’s still an excellent game that Xbox One owners owe it to themselves to have in their libraries.

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State of the game- Halo 5: Guardians: Well, there's free DLC https://www.gameskinny.com/uivkb/state-of-the-game-halo-5-guardians-well-theres-free-dlc https://www.gameskinny.com/uivkb/state-of-the-game-halo-5-guardians-well-theres-free-dlc Thu, 04 Feb 2016 04:53:20 -0500 Anson Chan

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?

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The Infinity's Armory DLC for Halo 5: Guardians greets fans with a slew of content https://www.gameskinny.com/6uycn/the-infinitys-armory-dlc-for-halo-5-guardians-greets-fans-with-a-slew-of-content https://www.gameskinny.com/6uycn/the-infinitys-armory-dlc-for-halo-5-guardians-greets-fans-with-a-slew-of-content Fri, 22 Jan 2016 04:11:37 -0500 Douglas A. Skinner

Halo 5: Guardians gets a hefty update with the Infinity's Armory Pack. This new content will bring new maps, weapons, armor, assassinations, and cosmetics to the game. 

Fans will be delighted to see the Halo 2 Battle Rifle coming to the arsenal with this DLC. The Atlas armor set, the Achilles armor set, and the Mark V Alpha armor set are all up for grabs in this update as well.

In order to obtain the full Achilles armor set, you must be a part of a Spartan company and get to level 5 in all the Kill Commendations, or reach level 3 for the body armor and level 5 for the helmet. 

The two new maps, Urban and Riptide, seem to be the highlight of this update. Riptide is a new Arena multiplayer mode which aims to put a spin on Fathom. Urban is a new Warzone Assault map on Noctus that has great vantage points for snipers.

In addition to the new content, 343 is also planning to improve all the modes in the game,  adding new rules to discourage idling in-game, banning gamers who negatively affect the experience for others in the community, and enhancing the overall experience, specifically for Warzone.

The New Urban map

The new REQ cards are coming as a part of the Infinity's Armory. Players can spend real-world money to increase their collection of REQ cards and a portion of the money will go to fund the prize pool of the World Championship finals held in March.

There is no official date for the release of this free DLC, but this Friday, January 22nd, 343 Industries will be hosting a Halo 5: Guardians live-stream at 3 pm on Twitch.

For more information, view the official website here.

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Gears of War 4's release date and big shoes to fill https://www.gameskinny.com/f2dn0/gears-of-war-4s-release-date-and-big-shoes-to-fill https://www.gameskinny.com/f2dn0/gears-of-war-4s-release-date-and-big-shoes-to-fill Wed, 13 Jan 2016 05:57:48 -0500 Benjamin Browning

“FOR THE HORDE!”

Massive amounts of hype are building up for Gears of War 4’s newly set release of somewhere in late 2016, and there is a lot in the air with this new title. Some suspect that it will be an interesting addition to the already established, incredible universe and a first to a new trilogy. While others believe that it is a game with greedy intentions for more money, instead of it being another blockbuster hit that will hypnotize us for countless hours, like its predecessor.

Epic Games’ story of Sergeant Marcus Fenix started with three games, and was advanced through three volumes of comic books and five novels that filled in the missing segments in between each one. The incredible tale told set the bar in story-telling of both video games and paper. It has earned its spot as one of the best video games ever made.

Concern rises

With that being said, The Coalition—the new keepers of Gears of War—have many worried. Some fear that the continuation of a war that has be won, an evil army with no leader, a story that has been finished, will only be a game that is made with the sole purpose to make money, and not entertain a fan base that is not only numerous, but highly dedicated. With 343industries struggling to keep one of the largest followings in gaming history with their attempts of continuing their similar project, there is already a lot of doubt, along with big shoes to fill and high standards to live up to for The Coalition.

At the introduction of the new franchise and its baby at E3, the presented full-length video that is just over six minutes long teased fans with two new characters, JD and Kait, traversing towards a mansion-like building sitting in ruin, as a large, four-legged creature creeps on its rooftops and charges our new heroes. Some little details that caught keen attention raised a few interesting theories. One being the Lancer rifle having a wooden stock, signifying that it is a relic of the previous war that has endured many alterations to stay intact, further suggesting that timeframe between Gears of War 3 and Gears of War 4 has been quite some time.

Not much is known what is in store for gamers that is coming in the last quarter of this year. However, the beta will be open in Spring, and it will give more insight on what to expect. For those who bought Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and certain Xbox One bundles are granted access to the beta on March 1st, 2016. Although, the success of the beta for Gears' first remake back in August 2015, there is a fair amount of promise that it will be enjoyable. So, all we can do it wait until Spring to judge what may make or break the new franchise.

So, my fellow Gears, let’s stop the unearthing monsters once and for all, again!

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Halo 5 Guardians Review: It's still fun, but Halo is having an identity crisis https://www.gameskinny.com/m3m98/halo-5-guardians-review-its-still-fun-but-halo-is-having-an-identity-crisis https://www.gameskinny.com/m3m98/halo-5-guardians-review-its-still-fun-but-halo-is-having-an-identity-crisis Mon, 02 Nov 2015 06:25:42 -0500 Matt_Paprocki

Halo, created to legitimize an oblong black box from Microsoft, overcame the corny essence of its initial space clichés. Space warriors, space aliens, space ships, space rings; Halo's surface fiction felt like a leftover from the early '80s Star Wars fervor. Instead, Halo tackled religious zealotry with the alien Covenant and the cruelty of child soldiers manipulated into fighting against them. This came wrapped in a first-person shooter destined for dorm parties in a post-Goldeneye existence.

Then came the cross-media mingling, significant in fictional depth and entertaining in colorful world building. Halo became an expensive narrative puzzle. The pieces were composed of books, animated series, comics, and live action. Somewhere, the games themselves were lost. A Spartan doesn't elicit awe anymore; there are too many of them. That's a problem. Halo 5 lacks urgency, a dramatic failure of the fiction as much as it is the genre.

Spartans fell into the superhero cinema cycle. Master Chief attached to the lone wolf role – he needed no one else. Covenant aliens feared him as “The Demon,” a distinctive power fantasy even in an industry flush with them. Halo 5 puts eight Spartans on the field, four at a time. Chief needs help. Maybe he's getting too old.

Locked Up

Master Chief was given four video games to establish his place and his bond to an AI. Newcomer Jameson Locke's team is an underdeveloped collection of Spartan IVs, Fireteam Osiris. If the idea of Spartan IVs are new, you're already behind. Here's Halo 5, delivering a paucity of information, failing to deduce even a basis for character's existence. Locke is a poorly rendered character shell, inexcusable for a lead (this is mostly Locke's journey, more so than Halo 2 was to Arbiter). Squad members Tanaka and Vale are vocal background color. Osiris' qualifications are only glanced in dialog.

As a story composition, Halo 5 is determined to go forward even if only the first two acts of a three-act structure are here. It ends like Halo 2, only bogged down by two generations of established mythos as opposed to one prior game.

In progression, it would appear the interesting layers of the universe - gripping religious fanaticism and necessity of war - are being excised for a playable essay against progressive technology. Halo is stepping into Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke's territory. What was once so unique has fallen into the derivative and intellectually stymied.

There is a corporate responsibility to sell products.

Split the story, grab the hardcore fans, and they'll rally in defense. But Halo 5 is equivalent to a book turned failed screenplay. Never require the book for explanation – there's a responsibility on filmmakers to present the necessary details in their work less they fail. That's critical artistic process.

Halo 5 doesn't even do this. It expects ingrained knowledge rather than earns it, shunning those who cannot follow. Out goes a critical allegory of belief systems and in steps a perfect metaphor for video gaming's guarded and insular bias.

Where did you come from?

At the surface, Halo 5 is an intergalactic missing person saga that the narrative's important historical background is never there to support. Locke is introduced and never contextualized – he was mentioned in a hidden compartment of Halo 2 and prominent in Halo Nightfall, a live-action direct-to-video dud. Buck (Nathan Fillion) was a part of ODST. Chief's Blue Team has Frederick. Fred was featured in Halo Legends - the direct-to-video animated short collection - and mentioned in passing during Halo Reach. None of this makes itself known in Halo 5.

The time-crucial, late-stage plot details are inset under boomy action; it's clear 343 Interactive as a development studio lacks the structural clarity of Halo's progenitor's Bungie. Oddly, Halo 5 is reaching for a mass market. In battle, Spartans shout battle orders they should know at this juncture – attack Covenant Hunters from behind - a weird dialog tutorial stepping on the logic of any canon.

If Halo 5 is certain in this context-necessary approach, adding in baseless contextualized dialog is contradictory.

Between the legion of storytelling composition gaffes, Spartans punch and fly and jet pack and shoot lasers like no human could, all as colorful as ever. Few battlefields have been this saturated by criss-crossing energy beams and slightly metallic drop ships, painted a reflective purple. It's still a beauty. Halo's introduction of inner planetary lava flows finally lets the series cover the industry's basics in level design too – snow, forests, space, lava. Halo 6 just needs to add swimming and a minecart for complete coverage.

Multiplayer: Paying nice with others

All of Halo's inventiveness has been shifted into multiplayer. If this is the inevitability for Halo (and a majority of shooters), then rip the band-aid off instead of spending millions piecing together shiny cinema-like story bits pretending to be more.

The keeper here is Warzone, more or less because it displays the pew-pew lasers and intentionally wonky physics as having an in-match battle economy. Requisitions can be doled at earned in-match levels – a Battle Rifle at level three, a tank at four – eventually leading to a crowded vehicle melee in a rush to capture bases by each match's close. This assumes everyone has access to vehicles.

Charging to open packs with random digital items is as shady as Draft Kings' fantasy sports business model...

Any economy will cater to have/have nots. Here the haves can spend money on non-existent digital things to make themselves feel even more like haves.

Requisitions must be unlocked in packs before heading into a round of Warzone. Charging to open packs with random digital items is as shady as Draft Kings' fantasy sports business model; the difference with Halo is you can only win numbers on a leaderboard after a $60 investment.

It's the old, defensive company adage: You can play to unlock everything. Pay, you see unlocks faster. But this is based on a model of controlled artificiality: rarity exists only because a server says so. In a losing multiplayer scenario, spending cash NOT to lose seems alluring. That's the hook and why the model continues to be successful – and hopelessly exploitative.

The purity of Halo multiplayer fills in the Arena, traditional four-on-four bouts with weapon spawns and limited real world financial interference. At least Halo stopped chasing Call of Duty and loadouts, although speed and higher frame rates have extinguished the once sacred pace. Spartans have ceased to feel like the two-ton soldiers they are. They're far too fast.

All said, it's still fun, thankfully. Most of Halo 5 is. Inherent likability is on Halo's side. Pink, blue, and orange lasers stride across the screen as if part of GI Joe's canon. Halo is old enough to cater to nostalgia too, now.

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Halo 5 may come to PC according to Franchise Director Frank O'Connor https://www.gameskinny.com/suma5/halo-5-may-come-to-pc-according-to-franchise-director-frank-oconnor https://www.gameskinny.com/suma5/halo-5-may-come-to-pc-according-to-franchise-director-frank-oconnor Fri, 23 Oct 2015 08:30:52 -0400 Joe DeClara

During a live stream interview with GamesRadar, 343 Industries Franchise Director Frank O'Connor said Halo 5: Guardians has a good chance of being ported to PC in the future.

There is plenty chance that Halo 5 could appear on the PC...We developed the game on an Intel platform. It wouldn't be the hardest thing in the world to move it to PC and take advantage of PC stuff.

 

Halo 5 would not be the first upcoming Microsoft exclusive title to be made available on both Xbox and PC; back in June, Microsoft announced at their E3 press conference that both Gigantic and Fable Legends will be coming to both Xbox One and Windows 10. With the perpetual push from Microsoft to get Windows 10 on all PCs, tablets, and Xbox Ones alike, it would seem like a logical move to make their flagship Xbox title available on both platforms.

This would also not be the first Halo game to go PC. Halo: CE had originally released on both the Xbox and PC, and Halo 2 was later ported to Windows as Halo 2 Vista. There was also a Free to Play shooter called Halo Online announced for PC earlier this year, though it was only made available in Russia.

Halo 5: Guardians comes to the Xbox One on October 27th, and with it a 9GB day one patch. Until then, check out the full GamesRadar interview below, and sound off in the comments on why you think Halo on PC would be great!


Watch live video from GamesRadar on Twitch

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You can download the first Halo 5 patch to your Xbox One right now https://www.gameskinny.com/nn841/you-can-download-the-first-halo-5-patch-to-your-xbox-one-right-now https://www.gameskinny.com/nn841/you-can-download-the-first-halo-5-patch-to-your-xbox-one-right-now Thu, 22 Oct 2015 17:30:01 -0400 Tobbpitt

It almost feels like we're five days away from Christmas instead of just five days away from the Halo 5: The Guardians release, and Halo fans old and new are chomping at the bit to be able to hop into the next installment of the legendary FPS series. 

You can get just a little closer to Halo nirvana right now by downloading the first Halo 5 patch from Xbox Live. The patch is slowly rolling out across all regions, and if you're one of the lucky ones, it should be available on your Xbox One right now.

If the download doesn't start when you turn on or wake up your console, try giving it a hard reset. The download should start once you turn on your Xbox One, provided it's been rolled out in your region. If it hasn't rolled out in your region, the patch should be available over the next few days.

We're a mere five days away from the Halo 5 launch and the community could not be more hyped. Get your patch downloaded, check out the advanced tactics video put out by 343 Industries, make sure you're off work October 27th, and get ready for a brand spankin' new Halo.

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Official Halo 5 advanced tactics video gets you prepped for impending release https://www.gameskinny.com/pclch/official-halo-5-advanced-tactics-video-gets-you-prepped-for-impending-release https://www.gameskinny.com/pclch/official-halo-5-advanced-tactics-video-gets-you-prepped-for-impending-release Thu, 22 Oct 2015 16:43:24 -0400 Tobbpitt

Halo 5's release is a mere five days away, and everyone from fans to 343 Industries themselves are getting ready for what's sure to be one of the biggest and best games of the year.

The above advanced tactics video serves to not only show the game in action, but to get you prepped for advanced play right out the gate. Give it a watch and get ready for Halo 5: The Guardians to arrive next week on October 27th.

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