The following article was contributed by KSI Jupiter 7.
As many of you may know, with the purchase of Halo : The Master Chief Collection, players had access to the Halo 5 Beta from Dec. 29th 2014 to Jan.18th 2015. I among many others in and outside of KSI were lucky enough to experience this game. For those who did not, or even those who did, I hope this review of the game will give you an idea of what to except in the upcoming Halo 5 : Guardians game set to hit store Dec. 31st 2015.
There are many new and exciting aspects and features to Halo 5 : Guardians, especially in matchmaking, I’m going to start off from the top with how Spartan customization and controls work, then move on to the more interesting and important parts about gameplay.
First off, the title menu, given that its still a Beta and does not have all the full features there that the printed game will have, it was still very straight forward and easy to navigate, not once did I feel lost or confused about where to find any particular menu, unlike the master chief collection.
Even the animated background for the main menu felt nice and proper, giving the player something more to look at than a blank blue screen with the game title present. One of my most visited areas in the main menu, other than matchmaking of course, was the Spartan customization.
In the Spartan customization menu the player is given various customization options like visor color, spartan gender, helmet choice, body armor choice, colors, service tag, controls, and service record. I’m glad they kept the visor color as an option, it gives plays that additional stand out from the rest, especially since you do get to see your character before each match, and after if you win, in the opening sequence animations.
However, I dislike how they went about armor customization. In past Halo games the player is given the options for shoulders, chest, forearms, knee pads, and legs. In the Beta you are only give the choice of helmet and body armor (this includes chest, shoulders, forearm, knee pads, and legs). Though your character is still customizable, I feel cheated that I can’t have Air assault legs, recruit forewarns, and fotus chest, or whatever combination I choose.
At the current the player chooses what helmet (min is Recon at the moment) and what body armor (mine is Air Assault). Though those options are nice, I would prefer to customize the same way I was able to in Halo 4. I’m hoping that they will implement more areas for armor customization in the full game (since they limit features for Alpha and Beta testing).
However, if they keep customization as is, though disappointing, it will not be a deal breaker for me (considering the first two halo games where all about color or species with no armor customization).
While your finishing up your Spartan , or maybe before you start, take a good look at the new controller layouts as well as the controls themselves. There are various controller layouts to choose from including bumper jumper and halo 4 (and of course default). I chose the Default controls at first then tried out the Halo 4 layout.
I personally like the Default layout, since I find it easier and I got use to it faster. Now lets talk about these new controls / abilities the player is now given by default.
There are many new abilities that every player has by default and can use to their own playing style.
One of those is an infinite sprint. Once sprint is activated the player can infinitely sprint unless they start shooting or deactivate sprint. So if you are sprinting and you are taking fire, you continue to sprint. However, wait for it, shields to not regenerate while sprinting (they regenerate when the player is not sprinting).
Now this is a big change. It’s the kind of change that will have players who love it or hate it. I have heard both love and hate for it and the reasons behind it, but despite the love or hate, I never got the feeling it was a game breaker (considering halo never had sprint until Reach). Personally I welcome this change, and here’s why. Not giving players the ability to regenerate their shields while running makes players think twice about abandoning battle or teammates.
I also feel it makes gameplay that much more intense and faster pace, which is one of the things Halo is known for. It’s a new twitst on how you play the game and makes players things that much more about strategy and how to play the game rather than just run and gun around (which can still be done in Halo 5 :Guardians).
Other new abilities / features are the Ground Pound, Thruster Pack, Clamber, Slide, Charge, Stabilizer, and Smart Scope.
Ground Pound is when a player jumps high into the air (jumping off from high ground makes this ability easier to use), charges up, and hulk smashes into the ground.
The impact kills and other players if its a direct hit, or damages them greatly if they are in the AoE (area of effect). Once you get the hang of the controls, its a pretty cool ability.
However, I have dodged and killed many Spartans who have tried this on me. While the player is charging up in the air, you can easily damage them and maybe kill them, or run and thrust out of the way (but if your hit you are basically dead).
The Thruster Pack is like it was in Halo 4 , only better. This ability allows players to quickly boost in whichever direction they choose for a very brief time. So if you need a boost forward to make a jump, you simply use the Thruster Pack button and the forward direction on the joystick to boost your Spartan.
It is also a great way to dodge fire and get out of danger. If you are in a challenging face off, a quick Thruster Pack to the right during your barrage of bullets could be the deciding factor in that 1v1 battle. It gives a new meaning and way to strafe.
Clamber, or what I like to call climb, is a very handy ability where you hold the jump button to grab the edge and climb on top or over structures.
This has to be one of my favorite abilities. It give players a new way to not only play the game but play the maps and access areas you normally wouldn’t. You can sneak around, run away, or tactically move around the map with this ability.
Slide is an ability which I personally have never used and I did not see many players use much. If a player is sprinting at top speed and click right stick (or what ever you have this ability set to) to slide.
This can be helpful to slide into cover or underneath unsuspecting players. Though i have not used and have not seen much of this ability, I think in the future it will be a new move to watch out and take advantage of.
If you like to melee people but wish you could do it a little harder so that it’s an instant knockout no matter where you hit them, then Charge is the ability for you.
When players are running at top speed and click the melee button, your spartan jabs them with their shoulder and kills the player. It’s basically like a Spartan tackle.
This is a very useful ability especially when you are sprinting and spontaneously run into an enemy player. Just give them a jab and boom, problem solved and obstruction gone.
One of my personal favorites, is Stabilizer. This new ability lets player jump in the air and stay stabilized (or stationary) in the air for a brief time. It allows you to get a height advantage over a player and well as target enemies over structures. It’s also very handy to finish off weakened enemies trying to run from battle.
Last and maybe least, the Smart Scope. I personally didn’t think this ability was that helpful. However, with further investigation I discovered that the Smart Scope (aka zooming in) makes your weapon a little more accurate than hip fire. Which is what Scoping or Zooming in is supposed to do by default.
Though the Smart Scope give you a fancy scope display and more accuracy, I don’t feel like this is a new feature or ability. It is more like a new name for something that has always been there.
One more change that I should definitely mention, though it’s not an ability, is the aiming. The way they have changed the aiming system in Halo 5 Beta makes it feel like a completely new game.
There is not that much aim assist like there is in Halo 4, it even a little more difficult then Halo 2 was. I do feel that this game has more of a skill gap / learning curve, however players can pick up the mechanics pretty easy with practice. I think this was one of the greatest and most welcomed change in the Halo 5 Beta.
Part 2 will be published in the next few days.
KSI News thanks KSI Jupter 7 for her contribution and looks forward to future contributions from across KSI.