Reviews

Halo 5 Guardians Beta Review, Maps, Weapons

Whats up everyone this is RePLiNiSh with GamerFuzion and starting December 19th, I was lucky enough to grab a slot in the early release to the multiplayer beta for Halo 5.  As of now we were very limited on content when they only released one game type (Slayer) and two new maps (Empire and Truth).  Slim pickings but its still enough to understand the direction that 343 is heading in.

In this review I will be covering the spartan, maps, weapons, graphics, and overall gameplay.  Now, compared to the previous games, its seems as if 343 went back to the original Halo style game play.  Everyone spawns with the same setup and you need to navigate throughout the map as a team in order to find your power/ strategy weapons. In my opinion this specific style of game play brings the aspect of teamwork back into the halo series, and if you want to keep a game competitive, force individuals to work together in order to succeed.  When GF LaserBolt and I started the first game of slayer, the power weapons spawned on the screen, immediately an intense battle to gain control of the nearest checkpoint broke out. It was an eye opening start for the much anticipated Halo 5 Guardians!

Spartans

When it comes to the new Guardians they visually have yet to change, however their performance is a completely new way to experience Halo.  Each player is capable of 6 techniques that should be mastered to maximize your gameplay. The moves are as followed, thruster pack, wall clamber, sliding, enhanced melee, sprint, and the smart scope.

  • Thruster Pack: For me the most noticeable action was the thruster pack.  This move allows you to navigate the map with more speed gives you a chance to hold down the power spots off the spawn.  Another useful technique is to use this as an evasive maneuver while at low health.  Escaping from sticky situations can have a major impact on the flow of a match.
  • Wall Clamber: One of my favorite features is the ability to clamber!  While trying to jump up to a platform that looks as if it is just out of reach, use the jump button again to grab the ledge and pull yourself to the top.  Of the two maps released the longer range weapons, such as the battle rifle and dmr, are often placed on elevated platforms that need the clamber ability to reach them.  Lastly you can use this ability to jump from platform to platform allowing you to keep your elevation for control of a map.
  • Sliding: The sliding ability was one that I did not use as much during the beta as I would have liked to.  The positioning of the buttons for that action are not the easiest to use in a combat situation.  However this feature will be very useful for escaping a group of rushing guardians or sliding around corners to take out the spartans trying to escape your fire.
  • Enhanced Melee: An alternative method to sliding into a battle would be the shoulder charge.  This action allows you to deliver a devastating blow against the enemy spartans, not enough to take their life but definitely enough to put them in a one shot situation. Aside from the shoulder charge ability another option would be to ground slam. This is a new feature and is activated after jumping off of a higher point and holding down the melee button.  This will allow you to hover in the air for a brief moment while you pick your unsuspecting targets to slam down on.  Clever use of these abilities can lead to numerous multi kills.
  • Sprint: The new sprint feature has definitely caught my eye.  At first it doesn’t seem different from the newer first person shooters, however taking a second glance you will see the regeneration system has changed.  If you get caught in a crossfire and attempt to flee your shields do not regenerate until the sprint action has stopped.  Rather than fleeing away from the enemy to a secluded location, the strategy would be finding your nearest teammate to draw fire until you can fully recover.
  • Smart Scope: The smart scope system in the halo 5 beta seems to be an improvement at first.  Being able to scope in with any weapon, including the sword, can be a vital part to getting a kill.  However I am not a huge fan of the de-scoping feature that goes along with it.  Whenever you get shot by an enemy, this will immediately scope you out of the target and force you to lose any momentum gained while firing.  In my honest opinion I think this limits the ability to be a completely effective player.  In almost every game mastering the scope is one of the most important things to learn.  With this feature it almost seems as if the long range weapons are now less effective to the enemy.

Maps

Truth: This map in the Halo 5 Beta is a remake of both, Midship and Heretic, originally from Halo 2.  With that being said this is a very well modeled small games map that has a lot to offer.  There are many different strategies to the gameplay of this map but one of my favorites during the beta was controlling either top tower from the spawn.  Having the height advantage is key to any first person shooter and if your team can gain control it can make a game very one sided.  Throughout the map I noticed strategic placed items such as the Battle Rifle, DMR, SMG, and of course the Sword!  As soon as you spawn into the map a beacon pops up on the screen to reveal the power weapon.  In this case, for the Slayer game type, it had to be the sword.  If you are lucky enough to reach the top and wall clamber to the sword, enjoy, because the new sprint feature and thruster pack make you the most feared spartan in the match!

Empire:  My first game happened to be on this new map, and originally I had a few mixed feelings about it.  This is another well designed small games map, however the power weapon is the sniper rifle.  The maps unique design shows tight corners and really only 2-3 true sniping paths that are safe enough to fully zoom in and not worry about getting de-scoped.  In my opinion I think the sniper is probably more suitable on a larger map.  Empire seems to be a very fast paced map and the secondary weapons seem to be much more effective.  From the spawn two snipers will spawn, one of the high side and the other on the low.  Observing the many games I was able to play on this map, it seemed as if controlling the lower side led to more victories rather then the high side.  Overall it is still a great map design and I could enjoy playing any game type here.

Weapons

All of the weapons in the Beta have been fantastic so far! Each weapon has a unique look while zoomed in with the smart scope feature, and used in the right scenario the fire power and stability seem to be on point.  Im going to go into a little detail about each and give my best opinion on the most effective range for the weapons.

Pistol: This weapon resembles the pistol that was used in Halo 2.  It has a much smaller design then the original halo pistol but still packs a punch! Using this in the beta brought back the same experience we all loved when playing the first Halo which is having a primary pistol that is efficient.  This particular pistol should be used mid-close range, but can still deliver a headshot from across the map.  The halo 5 beta has made the pistol relevant again!

Assault Rifle: If there is one weapon that has yet to change its look over the years it would be the assault rifle.  I am not overly excited about using this gun but looking back at many of my game statistics it seems as if it has become more powerful.  It doesn’t deliver the power that other weapons give off but still gets the job done in a hurry.  The new smart scope feature has added a slight twist to it, giving it a false idea of range, it is a close quarters weapon and should be used as such. Overall the gun has helped me lead teams by cleaning up other players messes, and is my most used gun in the game.

SMG: I picked up this gun in my second match of the beta, it has a crazy fast fire rate and tares through the enemies at close range.  The SMG has helped string along multi kills and hold down the power weapon spawns on Empire very effectively.

Battle Rifle: Out of all the weapons this one has the most visual change of all.  It feels as if the guns look was pulled from another game, with the site sitting well above the rifle, yet its performance is still deadly.  The “BR” in my opinion is one of the most versatile guns in the game.  The 3 round burst is effective at close range. This can also be used to knock the sniper across the map out of his scope easily, to help a teammate avoid a devastating blow to the head.

DMR: My favorite weapon in the game, the DMR, is a single shot rifle that if used correctly can destroy the enemies from long range.  This is such a powerful and necessary gun for your team to try and control.  The spawn points for this gun seem to be elevated as if the designers wanted you to shoot across the map. Much like the Battle Rifle this weapon is not only capable of irritating snipers, but also has a fast enough fire rate to take out anyone at close range.

Sniper Rifle: My comment is a bit biased because this has always been my favorite gun in the halo series. However my most anticipated gun, the sniper rifle, has not lived up to its reputation.  Adding in the smart scope has changed the old snipers fast zoom and double zoom features that ultimately made it the “Halo Sniper”. This gun has yet to change too much visually but its handling, and fire rate have changed immensely.  Throughout the beta this was my least favorite weapon and the de-scoping feature put the icing on the cake.  This weapon should have been left alone, give it a new look sure, but don’t take away what made this gun unique.

Sword: I finally figured out how to wall clamber in order to reach this weapon, and when I did I wasn’t disappointed!  As of now the sword is the most powerful weapon in the game, after they added in sprint and thruster pack.  Perfectly executing a sword can make enemy teams change there entire gameplay, ultimately leading your team to a victory.  Though this weapon is not without its faults.  The reticle has decreased in size and needs to be more precise in order to get a lunge for the kill.  With the fast paced gameplay it has become more difficult to string together quick kills, and if used incorrectly will give the other team the upper hand.

Graphics

One of the questions I was asked while streaming my Halo 5 Gameplay was, “on a scale from 1-10 what would I rate the graphics?”.  Without putting in any particular thought my answer was 5/10. Now with that being said this is a very early Beta release and they have a lot of time to work on the graphics. I don’t think it would be fair to judge this based on its Beta.  Putting aside the visual quality of the game, overall I have enjoyed it so far and look forward to experiencing all the new content this game will provide!

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