Halo 5: Guardians Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


Halo 5: Guardians Preview

Spoiler Alert & Info

This preview of Halo 5: Guardians is based on the first two missions of the campaign. The article below may contain some spoiler information regarding these missions, so read at your own risk. As this is only based on the first two missions this preview is by no way representive our final impression of the game.



The time is nearly upon us ladies and gentlemen. Halo 5: Guardians is set for release in just ten short days. Ten days can feel like an eternity when we are waiting on the next, shiny new pre-order dropping through the letter box. I played the multiplayer Beta and also got my hands on the Warzone mode at EGX in September, so I have dabbled with 343 Industries newest instalment in the Halo Franchise. But now, now I have gotten my first hands-on experience with the campaign. Does Halo 5: Guardians shape up to the pedigree of its predecessors, or is it its own beast? It is still too early to tell and far too early to draw any real conclusions to the outcome of Halo 5: Guardians. This preview will focus on campaign gameplay and may contain minor spoilers, read on at your own risk.


The smartlink allows you to zoom or “iron sight” with any weapon.

The first level I got to play was the opener of the game itself. Mission One: Osiris saw me take control of Spartan Locke and began with the impressive cut scene we have all become familiar with from the trailers. Running down a mountainside, we see Locke and his team blasting, punching and slamming enemy Covenant troops in a badass sequence worthy of The Chief himself. The gameplay proper begins with an easy walk through a snow covered landscape picking off the occasional Grunt or Jackal. The first thing that struck me was how different the controls are. The series stable of tank like controls are nowhere to be found in Guardians. It is clear that Titanfall has had an impact on the fluid motion in many shooters that have been released since last year, and while my Spartan couldn’t wall run, the freedom of movement is invigorating. Gone are the slow strafes that saw me get cut down countless times while ducking between cover, and in comes the Spartan charge, allowing players to quickly dodge out the way of gunfire, grenades or, if you prefer offence to defence, slam into enemies with a brutal melee attack. The gameplay certainly seems to flow in a more organic way than previous titles however I will be interested to see how this mechanic shapes up in the huge epic battlegrounds that Halo is well known for.

I have no complaints about the look of the game at this stage, Halo 5: Guardians is a stunningly pretty game. The vistas, the excellent lighting effects and splats of purple blood, work in conjunction to make this one of the best looking games I have seen in a long time. From the short section that I have played, I see a much darker tone to the title. Sure, it is still colourful and pretty, but there seems to be some very mature and…… un-Halo-like content that I can’t wait to get to the bottom of. This doesn’t seem to be a “save the world from evil” tale. From this early section I have to applaud the voice acting too, all of the cast perform well, especially Nathan Fillion as Buck (although this may just be the fact I really like the character). Weapon sound effects are on point and at times the music can scale brilliantly with the action, although I am yet to hear the traditional string ensemble that helped to make me love the franchise to begin with.


Down but not out!

Another new addition to Halo 5: Guardians is the Smartlink feature. I grew familiar with this during my time with the beta, the Smartlink allows you to aim with any weapon and not just scoped ones (as with previous instalments), and this does allow for gameplay to be much more dynamic, with almost any weapon usable in most situations. I remember playing Halo Combat Evolved and cursing the fact that I had a Needler instead of the scoped, overpowered Handgun for those long ranged shots. That doesn’t seem to be a problem here, as I was able to pick off Grunts, Jackals and the odd Elite with my Assault Rifle, Storm Rifle and other weapons that have never been all that great at distance combat. I have yet to encounter a “balls to the wall”, “all or nothing”, “life or death” gun battle in the same vein as previous Halo titles. But like I said, it is still early days; I just hope these come sooner rather than later.

The second level I got to play was Blue Team, here I played as Master Chief and his squad (if you have read the books you will know who they are). If you haven’t read the books then you may want to check up online, as there is not really any exposition as to how and why they are fighting with The Chief again, but maybe this will come later too. The fundamental gameplay is the same for both Locke and The Chief. I was running through a research facility in deep space, a much different environment to the snowy landscape I had just played through.

During my time, playing on heroic (never play below heroic on Halo), I died a few times. Instead of reverting back to the previous checkpoint I was “downed” and was able to call one of my squad to come and revive me. This element concerns me. The gameplay will undoubtedly make for an easier experience and will probably help the natural flow of gameplay, something I think 343 are trying very hard to capture, but in doing this they have removed one of the biggest threats from the game. It loses some of the tension; if I get shot in the face, I know that a trusty Spartan will come to my aid. It’s definitely a new take on things, I’m just not sure if it is going to pay off. The “squad” mechanic is touched on a little more. You are able to set targets or coordinates for your team to focus on, this is a godsend when facing larger enemies but it also feels like The Chief, the ultimate badass, can’t handle things on his own.

At this early stage I have to say that I can’t wait to play more. I want to get to Hunt The Truth. I really want the epic large scale battles the franchise has been built upon, Assault on The Control Room, Two Betrayals, The Covenant. All of those levels have a sense of grandeur, a sense of “against all odds”. Here’s hoping Halo 5: Guardians can emulate that same feeling as the story progresses.

Halo 5 Guardians is set for release on October 27th, for all your Halo needs and a full review in time for launch, make sure you check back with Mouse N Joypad.