Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians

Don't remember the last time I had such a hard time with a Halo game, but it took me nearly 24 hours to finish the game at highest difficulty, solo. What a terrible ending. Very disappointed with the story, too. It's a good thing that the multiplayer games are much more entertaining. What have I learned?

Track Statistics

Halo 5 tracks a lot of statistics about my performance as I played single- and multi-player games. Some are predetermined events (such as finding secrets or finishing a mission), others are related to playing style (which weapon is most frequently used), all of them are accessible via service record section of mobile phone application.

Many other games do the same, but Halo's presentation with various types of charts makes the numbers more fun to look at. It took a step backward, as Halo 3 used to have heat maps that helped me to find out where the popular/dangerous areas were.

REQ System and Warzone Mode

In Warzone Mode, two opposing teams must first claim a home base by eliminate computer-controlled enemies. Then the teammates can decide to occupy 3 structures that also serve as respawn locations. As players from the other team are eliminated, your team earns points. Periodically more computer-controlled bosses appear on the map, and killing them will give significant number of points. First team to reach 1000 point wins.

This setup means each team may be fighting on multiple fronts, and captured structures often gets re-captured by other side in just a few minutes. Instead of having weapons spawn in fixed locations, players can purchase equipment using REQ points that are awarded by scoring points for your team.

Which weapon, vehicle, or power-up is available for purchase depends on what cards are available in a player's collection. Cards are randomly issued when you open a REQ pack, which can be purchased by REQ points you earn after each match or with real money.

This is modeled after collectible card games like Pokemon and it creates a cycle of constant rewards that helps to vary your game experience. The micro-transaction can be ignored. Randomly issue cards provides a nice surprise and encourages saving up REQ points to buy more expensive REQ packs that have better chance of getting rare cosmetic items.

Breakout Mode

In this mode, a match is broken into several innings. To win an inning, take the flag that is in the center of arena and run to the goal. No radar means you cannot easily detect other players running around and must rely on visually finding they other players.

When all players on the other team are eliminated the inning ends immediately and it is not necessary to run the flag in this case.

The sport competition atmosphere is nice. Previous Halo games also had a custom map where players are invincible, and use gravity hammers to whack a ball into goals. I think this is a great way to insert a few minutes of friendly competition that is relaxing and not so intense like other modes.

Intuitive Moves

Frame rate is constant. Jump towards a ledge to climb. Use jet pack to change directions mid-air. Running-tackle or slide. There are a lot more moves that are fun to use and easy to execute with the controller.

The control scheme for these advanced moves usually involves simply combination of buttons or stick movement and so they are very easy to pull off. For example, click thumb-stick to start running, then press the melee or crouch buttons to transition into a tackle or slide. For those satisfying moments when you suddenly (and intentionally) changed direction to avoid the killing shot, win the one-on-one match-up, and received the reversal medal and announcement.