Warzone is the Coolest New Mode in Halo 5: Guardians

At E3 2015 last week, Halo 5: Guardians made a serious splash. You likely saw the four-player drop in/drop out campaign mission, where you control a team of Spartans lead by Locke to hunt down the AWOL Master Chief. But the mode we got to try our hand at is an entirely new entry into Halo multiplayer, one that redefines how Red vs. Blue matches play out. It’s called Warzone, and it’s the most badass Halo mode we’ve ever played.

So how does Warzone work? The first team to score 1000 points or destroy the enemy team’s core wins.  Each round starts with you and your team of Spartans facing off against AI-controlled enemies.

After a couple minutes of fighting lower-end Prometheans or Covenant baddies, you’ll face off against stronger mini-boss-like enemies, like a Sangheili General. As you rack up kills, you earn Energy Points that allow you to call in better weapons and vehicles at REQ Stations.  (Energy Points also replenish over time and, in our demo at least, they were completely refilled when our character leveled up.) The harder the enemy you face, the more Energy Points you earn for kills and assists, which lets you take advantage of the REQ System.

The REQ System rewards players across both Arena and Warzone multiplayer. Players will earn REQ Points after each multiplayer match, which can then be used to redeem REQ Packs. These packs contain a bundle of requisitions like new weapons, vehicles, armor, skins, and more. Players will also receive REQ Packs when they level up their Spartan Rank across multiplayer. And the more you play, the higher your REQ level – which allows you to acquire ever-more-powerful REQ Packs.

Then the real enemies show up. At this point you’re likely running into the rival team, and from here Warzone starts to live up to its namesake; the sheer chaos when the battle gets past that initial threshold is exhilarating. The 12-on-12-on-AI battle rages across a huge map – a unique, extra-large map, specially designed for Warzone. Rival teams of Spartans as well as Promethean and Covenant AI swarm the area, with the two Spartan teams trying to hold onto three capture points. If you can manage to hold down all three you’ll get a serious amount of Energy and points. And capturing all three bases also exposes the enemy core, allowing your team to move in and attack for the chance at a decisive end to the match.

As your REQ Level grows, the types of weapons you can use at REQ Stations increases. Not only that, you can call in vehicles to aid the battle. Warthogs, Mantises, and Phaetons are all at your disposal, if you have a high enough REQ Level.

The battle rages harder and the action gets more explosive as each team ups the ante with bigger guns and stronger vehicles. And those Prometheans and Covenant continue to swarm the battlefield too, offering countless opportunities to score more kills.

Sound fun? It really is.

Warzone is a fresh new entry into the series’ multiplayer, and we’re glad to have it. We can’t wait to play Warzone – and all the other modes! – in Halo 5: Guardians when it releases October 27.