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We’re starting a new series of features on Entertainment Fuse where we check in on games that have been out for some months now. Usually we will cover a game’s DLC or patches as something standard, but now we’ll run them under what we simply call “Checking In.” I’ve been playing Halo 5: Guardians every now and then whenever there are new maps out, but the Warzone Firefight beta was up last weekend for free. Fans are been requesting a return of Firefight, the wave-based survival mode that first debuted in Halo 3: ODST. They got their wish within Warzone and it’s exactly what it is with some tweaks that doesn’t seem to be final yet.
Warzone Firefight has a maximum of eight players completing five rounds of enemy waves within a time limit. The beta only had one map, but the AI Covenant or Promethean encounters are randomized. They can be as easy as kill 75 grunts or a little difficult as defeating some Warden Eternals at the fifth round. Even at the early rounds, enemies can pick you off quickly if you’re not careful or just rushing in with no backup from your teammates. Time gets extended whenever a round gets completed and you can go to a req station to spend req points as you would in a Warzone match. The time limit does play a factor compared to past Firefight modes where you are more in a rush to defeat the tougher foes than being patient trying to survive. Fortunately there are infinite respawns when you die, but I wish there’s a version with no time limit and health system from the online co-op campaign where teammates can bring you back if you’re down.
Firefight with the Warzone twists play as exactly as Halo fans thought it would play like. The shooting and mobility are still crisp, but the crazy potential because of Warzone’s req system makes the mode more fun with teammates. I’ve seen crazy scenarios such as three Scorpion tanks crowding up the tunnels trying to defeat Warden Eternals because they have so much health. Good thing 343 has been improving the Req system since the game’s launch so you can get the power weapons and vehicles faster. The developers have said this is not the final version of Warzone Firefight as they will check on the feedback players give them the past few days. After spending some time with it, I’m looking forward to the final version of the mode this summer especially with more maps and a fun diversion from the competitive multiplayer.
Speaking of the competitive multiplayer, 343 has been adding free new maps and playlists on a periodic basis, which has been great especially compared to the majority of other shooters with paid season passes. Combat is still a blast whether you are playing qualifying matches again because the ranks were reset some time ago or heavily serious into the Halo Championship Series scene. It is however unfortunate player numbers are not as high as Microsoft and 343 want it to be because of the Xbox One sales and the more popular shooters that are being played such as Black Ops III, Destiny and The Division. It is really a shame because this franchise was at the top of the mountain one time and the multiplayer in Halo 5: Guardians is still pretty good. Is it still because of the bad reception from 343’s efforts on The Master Chief Collection or the Xbox One’s sales numbers? Perhaps but at least the fans are still there playing it a lot.
The recent additions of Forge and the return of Grifball keeps the variety going from the other competitive modes. The community has been coming up with some spectacular stuff with the Forge tools and Grifball is another requested mode by the fans being brought back. For those not familiar, Grifball has the players on the hammer or energy sword bringing a ball to a goal to score points. This might be a response to the crazy success of Rocket League, which now has a basketball twist out soon, but it’s fun to play some matches to break from all the shooting. However, betrayal kills happen a lot because of players swinging wildly with the hammer going for kills, so I wish friendly fire is turned off in a future update if Grifball stays in the playlist rotation.
Halo 5: Guardians still plays great and there’s tons of more free stuff in the coming months with competitive maps and the new Warzone Firefight mode. Warzone Firefight can be fun with friendly teammates or randoms and also chaotic especially with the higher req items. There’s some tweaks 343 can make in the mode because of player feedback from last weekend’s beta, but I’m happy with the fans that this mode will be back in some form this summer. The competitive scene remains healthy even though I wish the player numbers are bigger, but perhaps players have really moved on to the other popular shooters in the market and they think Halo doesn’t have what it takes anymore. Especially with free DLC and no season pass to worry about buying, Halo 5 is worth playing now at it’s current price if you’re still on the fence despite story issues in the campaign, but the multiplayer makes up for it for all skill levels.