It’s no secret that 2015 is going to be a big year for Halo fans. Thus far The Master Chief Collection has received an add-on in the form of Halo 3: ODST, while Halo 5: Guardians has been built up as one of the major reasons to pick up an Xbox One later this year. Microsoft opted to really begin fleshing out its forthcoming game during E3 2015 too, and it’s there that we had the opportunity to go hands-on with the game.
The demo featured on the show floor was for none other than the newly announced Warzone mode, which combines ‘player versus player’ and ‘player versus environment’ together in a chaotic wonderland full of action, strategy, and aliens. Suffice to say, Halo 5: Guardians is sure to be a lot better off because of Warzone’s creation and implementation.
For those unfamiliar with the concept behind this new multiplayer mode, players are tasked with accumulating 1000 points within a match in order to achieve victory. The beauty of this lies in the variety that players will find scattered about the battlefield, with the ability to capture one of three bases, destroy the enemy’s core, kill enemy players, or dismantle random A.I. characters all contributing points to the final effort. Evidently, it’s an absolutely chaotic time, but it’s a madness that requires focus on the part of teammates and the player themselves.
Capturing one of three empty or occupied bases will allow users to slowly begin accumulating points over time. More importantly, they’ll provide users with access to Requisition Stations which will in turn allow them to cash in their points from battle to spawn all kinds of weapons or vehicles. At the beginning there won’t be much to choose from, but as Spartan soldiers lock down points for their team they’ll gain access to advanced weaponry. This slow build ensures that fans won’t just be generating items like Rocket Launchers or Scorpion Tanks on a whim, instead encouraging players to build towards an item – contributing to the strategic depth of the mode in the process.
One thing that players will want to do as soon as humanly possible is take out one of the bosses that’ll appear on the map from time to time. These hard-to-kill characters can be either Covenant or Promethean forces based on what the game decides to randomly spawn, and they’ll award whoever is able to take them down with 200 points for their team. As a result, they become heavily sought after targets, and the immediate landscape surrounding these bots quickly becomes a dynamic balance between players fighting one another and the powerhouse A.I. fighting everything else.
In this instance, users are then tasked with laying out a plan of battle. Do you charge in with allies in an attempt to kill the boss first? Maybe you lay in wait, sneaking up on the enemy players trying to claim that 200 point bonus after they’ve done some leg work? Perhaps you want to secure all three bases while the other team is distracted by the newly spawned, super-charged baddie? Players have ample options, and victory depends solely on their own wits, skill, and cooperation – much like most multiplayer games – but Halo 5 encourages continuous thought throughout Warzone on a scale that makes the mode stand out as something wholly original in its approach.
Finally, it should be noted that Guardians features abundant A.I. players, but these computer-controlled friends and foes won’t be the non-threatening cake walk that games like Titanfall may have lead fans to believe. Each gun-toting character packs a wallop, and they need to be approached as if they were another enemy player. Failing to approach hostiles with caution, player-controlled or not, will result in immediate death. This adds a sense of accomplishment to every kill earned, but facing these characters and dealing with them quickly will aid gamers as they race towards victory.
Overall, it’s obvious after playing through the Halo 5: Guardian‘s Warzone that this is the most ambitious installment in the series yet. Hopefully the final product ends up being the sequel that fans have been waiting for, but only time will tell whether or not 343 Industries has managed to hit the mark. In the meantime, I can rest assured that countless hours of my time will be dedicated solely to Warzone later this year.
Halo 5: Guardians is set to arrive exclusively for Xbox One on October 27, 2015.