With a whole heap of Halo Infinite news and gameplay being released later this month; now is an excellent time to get caught up with the universe. While our coverage for the legacy games within Halo: The Master Chief Collection continues through the PC releases; there is an important title that we haven’t quite touched on yet. That being Halo 5: Guardians, the latest mainline game in the franchise, which will be a direct tie-in to the upcoming sequel.
Halo 5: Guardians released in October 2015 on Xbox One, and was developed by 343 Industries and published by Microsoft Studios. The game features an epic scaled campaign alongside a competitive multiplayer and an expansive Forge map editor. While the game is known for its fast-paced gameplay and flawed story; the overall quality certainly warrants a play-through prior to Halo Infinite’s release. This recommendation will include some story spoilers.
Hunt The Truth
The primary cast of characters is split between two Spartan teams, making the largest cast in any Halo game to date. The Master Chief returns with his legendary Blue Team; consisting of Fred, Linda & Kelly, making their first in-game debut. Meanwhile, Fireteam Osiris features newcomers Locke, Vale, Tanaka & fan-favourite ODST turned Spartan, Buck.
Interestingly, the story of Halo 5: Guardians doesn’t follow Master Chief or Blue Team, but actually follows Fireteam Osiris. Instead of saving humanity yet again, this unique approach finds players hunting down the only man who can. Where this change in perspective may have upset many fans at the time, it also breathed fresh air into the franchise.
The story is quite expansive and rooted deep within the lore of the universe, as Blue Team has gone AWOL in search of a potential Cortana fragment. In their absence, massive forerunner beings known as Guardians have begun rising from planets, destroying everything nearby. Fireteam Osiris is deployed on a mission to retrieve Blue Team, as a sinister threat rises that threatens the entire universe.
The hunt brings Osiris across the galaxy; from the glassed, desolated planet of Meridian, to the rocky lands of the Elite home-world, Sangheilios. Fan-favourite characters such as Dr. Halsey, Captain Lasky & even The Arbiter are re-introduced and help drive the story forwards as well. Despite a few glaring writing issues here and there, the story campaign of Halo 5: Guardians is bold, unique and has a lot to offer.
The primary focus of this game recommendation is the campaign, which has many aspects that will lead into the upcoming sequel. While obvious things such as characters will carry over, there are certain events that have a severe impact on the universe as a whole. As such, this section will include spoilers for the game – including the ending itself.
The ending of the game finds Master Chief and the rest of Blue Team locked within a cryptum, as the splintered rampant Cortana begins deploying thousands of Guardians across the known universe. Fireteam Osiris, who has successfully tracked Blue Team down, interferes at the last moment to rescue them as Cortana and the final Guardians disperse. On the other-side of the Galaxy, Cortana and her Guardians arrive to presumably Earth and EMP the entire planet; as the UNSC Infinity barely makes a daring escape into slipspace.
Time passes as Fireteam Osiris and Blue Team make it back to The Arbiter’s camp on Sangheilios. As they all finally reunite, a Halo Ring somewhere in the distance lights up to Cortana’s humming. This dark ending gives off very little hope for the universe as a whole, as the hero’s have failed to stop the rising Guardian threat.
Avoiding any theorising, Halo Infinite is the next mainline game that will continue this story forward. The universe is in a completely different state than when it was at the opening of the game, Infinite will open in the middle of an intergalactic war with little introduction. Experiencing not just the ending, but the entirety of the game to understand the context of the story when Halo Infinite launches.
Halo 5: Guardians features some of the most intense gameplay in the Halo franchise. While maintaining the core features of old, the gameplay is injected with new mechanics that create a whole new experience. Ultimately this makes for an extremely fun and different Halo worth experiencing, as it is a unique take to the series.
Featuring mechanics such as sprint, slide, thrust, clamber and more; this Halo experience focuses on player movement over weapon or map control. This adds a fresh variety to the franchise, which plays smoothly and fits great with the games sandbox. Whether it’s battling enemies or getting across a map in various ways, these new mechanics help make Halo 5: Guardians stand out as its own.
Halo’s online multiplayer is at a different kind of high, especially when it comes to the competitive game modes. The Arena game-types and maps are designed with the core gameplay in mind, making for some of the most hardcore gameplay in the franchise.
Additionally, the Warzone gametype mixes BTB objective game modes with PvE to create a fully unique experience. Featuring literally every weapon, vehicle and enemy in game, Warzone brings all of this and more to the table. This is Halo multiplayer at its absolute best.
Brave New Worlds
One thing that is universally agreed upon is that Forge is by far the best in the franchise. The tools offered in this latest version of Forge allow beautifully maps to be edited or created out of literal thin air. It’s quite the impressive creative mode that provides a bunch of way for player to create.
From slayer maps, to boss battle game modes and so many more, Forge has never been so advanced. In fact, it’s so good that almost half of the maps featured in the multiplayer are created from the community themselves by the tools provided. The game mode is well worth mentioning as even somebody with no interest in the story or multiplayer can enjoy creating things.
Halo 5: Recommendations
While the story has its issues, and the gameplay is very different from the standard Halo experience; Halo 5: Guardians has a lot to offer and is enjoyable through and through. It’s a very unique game that worth a playthrough, even if just to catch up on the story of prior to Halo Infinite. As a life-long Halo fan; I personally adore the large majority of this game and would recommend it to anybody open to play it.
Halo 5: Guardians is available on Xbox One, including Xbox Game Pass – keep up to date with Halo at the official website and Twitter. For more reviews and gaming news you can keep up to date at Informed Pixel. Want to speak to the team and interact with other gamers? You can do so over on the Informed Pixel Facebook page or on the Informed Pixel Twitter account.
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