Halo 5: Guardians has the job of living up to the expectations of fans who have been with the franchise since 2001. 343 Industries have taken this difficult task to heart and, as always, I can see how close their appreciation and acknowledgement of fan feedback is an intrinsic element in their game design.
Their Spartan Ops had me playing Halo 4 for weeks after the game was released, and it wasn't even DLC! Their Halo: Masterchief Collection, shows how they not only take care of the future of Halo, but it's beautiful past too. So with that in mind, let's take a look at two elements that seem to suggest why Halo 5 is really going to be amazing.
Halo 5: Guardians Beta
The Halo 5 release date is set for Fall in 2015, though the exact date of November 10th has been debunked by Microsoft. Therefore, we will be waiting for an unspecified amount of time before we get the full package, but what we have so far shows us that there is a great game in the making. Let's see what the beta has taught us so far.
ADS and sprinting are fixed features of Halo 5. In terms of aiming, Halo 5 will have, what 343 are calling, a smart scope. Every weapon will feature one, though they maintain that this is not going to change how veteran Halo gamers will have to play. Rest assured, this is not another Destiny.
Players have stated that the new aiming system didn't affect them if they wanted to continue playing the old Halo way, and you'll still be de-scoped if you wind up getting shot, just like in Halo 2. One of the main concerns is that ADS will take away from our enjoyment of the environments, but we've heard that the balance between the two is well managed.
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Halo now has sprint, and by that I mean complete sprint, you don't get tired or any of that stuff. I have to say that I loved how Halo 4 implemented sprinting, hopefully it feels even more natural in Halo 5. Though rather than just gifting this to us, there is a downside: your shields won't recharge while you run. Therefore, if you get a health warning and you start running, someone can pick you off easily and make you pay for fleeing.
Reach for the Sky
The thruster pack is ours. It is now a Spartan ability for everyone to enjoy, just as Advanced Warfare or Titanfall have embraced the future of FP combat. Everyone can press B and a direction to immediately dash. Everyone can sprint and charge into someone at full speed, which will pop their shields (if hit from the front or sides) or kill them outright (if hit from behind). Everyone can pull LT in midair to activate the stabiliser, letting you hover and fall very slowly, potentially allowing you to avoid grenades and explosions.
The clamber ability, which allows you to mantle up ledges you can’t quite reach by tapping the A button a second time when you’re next to the edge, also helps permanently change Halo’s movement. Furthermore, you can press crouch when running at full speed to slide – a tactic likely to be quite useful for avoiding fatal headshots. Everyone has it all the time, too.
It feels like, in terms of multiplayer, 343 are looking to Bungie's Halo 2 for inspiration. The game was way ahead of its time and it's great to see its combat system having an even greater influence on Halo 5. Also, in terms of maps, 343 showed off some old classics in their Beta.
We got to see old locations with brand new styles, and we loved it. Though of course, they weren't showing off everything that they have planned, and there are some huge maps with vehicles and more on the way rather than just a load of arenas.
The one big problem that people have had with the Halo 5 beta, are the controls. People felt that the sensitivity and aiming mechanics felt too different from the old Halo days, therefore taking away their adeptness for headshots and so on. But of course, what makes 343 amazing, is that they listen to their fans. This beta will fix countless problems that players have mentioned, and that really is the best way to design a game.
Speaking of Design
You've probably noticed the beautiful sci-fi images scattered throughout this article, they are the work of one talented Mr. Nicolas Bouvier. His desings for Halo 5: Guardians are sublime. His colourful palet for the future of mankind is so different from the usual dark designs we see when the future is depicted, and we love it.
With his designs creating the world of Halo 5, and 343 listening to their fans every step of the way, it's no wonder why this game looks like one of the reasons that people will be buying an Xbox One console.