Halo 5: Guardians features so much content that – for the last eight months – we’ve been treated to entirely different demos, sneak peeks, beta access, and even a digital series to get us hyped. And it’s working. We’re so ready for the Master Chief to return, but we’re also excited to see the roster expand, with seven additional characters (some new, other familiar). It’s the biggest, most story-driven Halo game to date.
We first saw Halo 5’s awesome Warzone multiplayer mode at June’s E3 Expo, and it’s a fantastic addition to the series, allowing fans to take part in large-scale 12v12 battles that allow them to play any way they want, be it PvP, PvE, or a combination of both. In addition to Warzone, there will, of course, be the more traditional Halo multiplayer experiences found in Arena – which fans got to try in the recent beta. The 4v4 modes in Arena are designed and balanced with eSports play in mind and will be the defining mode of the Halo World Championship, announced this week during gamescom. Halo 5 ships with over 20 multiplayer maps, and 15 more will become available in over the following eight months.
At this week’s gamescom 2015, we got to check out more of the campaign mode, and learn more about the two teams you’ll be playing in Halo 5. The campaign alternates between the Master Chief and Spartan Locke, as their stories lead toward an inevitable confrontation. As the narrative jumps back and forth, you’ll learn why Chief and company have gone AWOL.
Our demo started with Blue Team – the Master Chief’s squad – which is composed of some names that hardcore Halo fans will definitely recognize (Linda, Frederic, Kelly). They’re on a mission to take back an ONI ship that has been captured by the Covenant. The developers at 343 Industries told us that the entire campaign is designed with co-op in mind, so your squad of four is an integral part of the Halo 5 experience. Even if you’re playing solo, the squad is with you, and you can use them to help out in firefights. Context-sensitive commands can send your squad mates to different areas, direct them to focus on enemies, and order them to pick up weapons. And you don’t need to give commands to your teammates; they are entirely self-sufficient, so you’ll never get stuck on your own, wondering where your squad is.
Likewise, teammates can revive one other, so if you go in guns-blazing a bit too soon, it’s not necessarily the end for you. Certain attacks, like grenades or other heavy items, auto-kill you though… so you’re not invincible.
Some of the new moves we saw in multiplayer, like Spartan Charge, come into play in the single-player campaign as well. The Master Chief can charge to knock down certain doors, and he can dash in the air to extend his jump. Using these can help you get the drop on enemies from the side, or from behind.
If you’re playing with friends online, your three friends can pick which squad members they want to play. Each character has a unique weapon loadout, as well as different attributes (a longer thrust for jumping, increased shield, etc.). Player 1 will always be the Master Chief or Agent Locke, though – so it pays to join a friend’s game if you want to try out the other members of your crew.
The end of our demo gave us a teasing glimpse into the true plot of the game: A familiar face (well, a familiar voice) talked about The Reclamation. What does it all mean? Can the Master Chief stop it? These are the questions we have, too! We’ll have to wait until October 27 for the answers, when Halo 5: Guardians launches exclusively on Xbox One.