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Ah friends, it’s a good week to be a Halo fan. Not only is the rather massive Master Chief Collection out today but we also got our first glimpses of Halo 5: Guardians’ multiplayer, with fresh footage emerging out of HaloFest over in good old Hollywood.
There’s a whole bunch of videos floating about showing off gameplay in addition to a whole bunch of new details to pick over and analyze. The main one is an official 343 Industries behind the scenes thingy on the Halo 5 beta, but it’s by no means the only one. There’s far too much stuff to go over in one post without getting lost in navel-gazing minutia, so I’ll just keep to the big talking points in this article. I’ll also throw a few more of these gameplay/impressions videos down at the bottom for the huge Halo fans who want to scrutinize every second of gameplay they can get their mitts on (like me).
As part of what seems to be a trend in recent FPS games, Halo 5 is showing off an an increased focus on increased traversal mobility. You now have a whole roster of movement based abilities at your disposal. A thruster pack allowing for sharp lateral movements both on the ground and in the air, a slide move, an offensive charge move, a ground pound and most interestingly a clamber ability, which sounds a bit like it essentially nullifies the need for crouch-jumping.
You’ll hear no complaints from me about this change in pace for the series. I would of been content to let it go on with it’s fairly mid-paced gameplay, but from what we’ve seen thus far this gear change fits the traditional Halo combat setup like a glove. I’ve been having great fun with Titanfall and the most recent Call of Duty, two games that had a similar focus on increased mobility, so I’ve nothing but high hopes.
Another addition, which was met with a rather contentious reception when leaked earlier this week, is the ‘Smart Scope.’ This is, in essence, the Halo series’ take on the concept of aim down sights. Don’t start freaking out though, this doesn’t mean it’s going to turn into Call of Duty all of a sudden. Ostensibly, this just means all the weapons now have a zoom capability equivalent to what only certain weapons such as the battle rifle and DMR had before. There is no penalty to hip-firing or anything like that which would mess with the core of what Halo is. We’re just getting more versatility in what our weapons can do and how long-range we can get with the combat.
And of course, on top of all the gameplay tweaking, there’s the fact we’re getting to see a (new) Halo game running in 60fps on a brand new engine. It looks gorgeous but you already knew it would, Halo 4 still looks amazing despite being released two years ago on an ancient console. It is important to note, however, just how meaningful the upgrade to 60fps is for the series. Especially with the faster pace this game seems to be going for.
Like I said, I’m only scratching the surface here by covering the big new tentpole additions. But with all the footage to pour over, as well as the fact we’ll be able to get our hands on with the multiplayer beta in December. I think it’s best not to overdose on Halo for now. We’re gonna be playing a lot of it over the coming months.