Review of Halo 5: Guardians - Master Chief has been put aside

Author: Przemysław Zamęcki
Date: 2015-10-30 15:20:00
The review was based on the XONE version.

Xbox One had to wait almost two years for the next game from the Halo series. It's a long time without any decent shooter for owners of this console! Well, in the meantime, Halo: Master Chief Collection has been released, but due to severe problems with the multiplayer mode and, however, the recreational role of a kind of clogging up, fans of the series have the right to feel refreshed. Especially that Halo 5: Guardians is the middle part of the second trilogy and plays a rather thankless role of a link between the good start of the fictional campaign with the "four" and its culmination, which should take place in Halo 6 . Unfortunately, after completing the fifteen story missions of the new installment, which took me about 6-7 hours on the normal difficulty level, I can confidently say that the Guardians is not what Empire Strikes back was for the Star Wars saga . The campaign lacks a really strong accent, and although the developers from the 343 Industries studio have tried to introduce a few new products, the whole thing does not shine as if we would expect it from a brand so important for Microsoft.

The Master Chief refuses to obey the order and with the three-man Spartan squad desert from the UNSC. The reason for the insubordination is Cortana, who, however, managed to survive the events of the finale of the previous part and who now calls on an old friend to go to her rescue. The footsteps of the Blue squad are also followed by the four-person team of Osiris, whose commander is the dark-skinned Jameson Locke, the hero already known to fans from the five-episode series entitled Halo: Nightfall . It is his armor that we will wear most of the time, because we control Osiris in twelve missions . I would have had no problem with that if Locke and his company were presented in a way capable of arousing curiosity about their characters or even trying to individualize them in some deeper way. Of course, I am aware that this is only a shooter and I do not expect a Shakespearean drama from the scriptwriters, but to be honest, although each of the companions has a name written above their character, until the end of the game I was completely indifferent to who is who and what they have to say. Yes, in very nice-looking cutscenes, Locke's subordinates appeared without even helmets on their heads, but apparently there was something missing that would make us care about them.

I have a problem with the greater number of elements that make up the Halo 5 story campaign. As this is the middle part of the trilogy, we are immediately thrown into deep water. The creators do not try to explain the nuances and laws governing the universe in any way and assume that the game will be reached by people who know the previous parts, who will recite such basic slogans as "Alliance", "Proteans" or "Sierra 117" from memory awake in the middle of the night . In other words, if this would be your first contact with Master Chief and the gang, I strongly advise against it . First, see the events of Halo 4 , which Xbox One owners can purchase as part of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection .

Developers from 343 Industries have focused on numerous changes in the gameplay mechanics compared to previous versions, but they managed to do it in such a way that the "five" does not lose the characteristic spirit of the series even for a moment. First of all, each of the available weapons, and there are a lot of them in the game, after all, among the proposed ironwork, there are rifle designs for as many as three factions present in Guardians , offering a different shooting experience. What is particularly important is the fact that each of the guns now allows zooming, interrupted abruptly in response to our hero's hit. All members of both teams also received jetpacks allowing them to perform the so-called dash, i.e. a quick slide in any direction. In the campaign, you do not need to exploit these possibilities, unless you play on one of the higher difficulty levels, for example the legendary one. Thanks to the backpack, you can also jump down from some hill, hover in the air for a moment and fall with great force on the enemy below, to kill him. As always, shooting in Halo is a lot of fun and I had a lot of fun with it. Nevertheless, the campaign is likely to be appreciated primarily by traditionalists and the most dedicated fans.

The "Five" has undergone a certain evolution, new mechanics have forced a bit more courage to build locations, which now offer more tactical possibilities. The hero can climb onto a ledge he is unable to jump onto. After losing all our energy, we are not killed, we just fall on all fours like Marcus Fenix from Gears of War and we can summon companions to revive us. If they manage to do this (and they usually do) and they do before we bleed out, we go back to the fight as if nothing had happened. A player-controlled hero can also revive party members. It all makes the game too easy. It's hard to feel a true winner in any of the missions. My advice is that it's best to start playing on the heroic level right away, and in the case of the co-op mode for up to four people, as there is such a solution, do not hesitate and choose the legendary level.

Microsoft is trying to smuggle microtransactions in the series for the first time. It is related to the so-called requisition, i.e. packs containing random elements of the character's basic equipment, which we receive during the game. These are new armor, helmets, paints, emblems and elements of advantage on the battlefield, such as cards with rifles and vehicles or armor cover, which we spend at special terminals during the game itself. However, we receive parcels so often that I have the impression that buying them for real cash is simply a waste of money. Nevertheless, such a fact should be noted. Do you also sound the alarm on this occasion? I am not convinced, because after the incident with Forza Motorsport 5 , Microsoft withdrew from the most controversial assumptions related to micropayments in the next installment. But perhaps he is testing the Halo community right now.

As for the visuals, I have very mixed feelings. The game runs at sixty frames per second all the time, changing the displayed resolution on the fly if necessary . Of course, it happens imperceptibly, but the compromises the development team had to make are quite noticeable. It happens that just a few meters from the camera, objects thicken their geometry, textures can be messy in some places, and the graphics as a whole do not knock you to your knees. Maybe except for really well-prepared cutscenes. Nevertheless, it seems to me that you can squeeze more out of the Xbox One, which is confirmed by the works of other teams, for example Turn 10. However, it is not so that Halo 5 should only be criticized in this aspect. There are locations built and lit in such a way that you genuinely want to visit them long after we slaughter all our enemies. The game also boasts great skyboxes.