Okay, so after a few days of playing the Halo 5 Beta I would like to say that… I approve. The game seems to take the innovations made in Halo: Reach and Halo 4 as well as many other recent titles and does them right! Having access to sprint which has become so prevalent in the modern generation shooter, clamber which gives the player to vault over and onto objects, as well as quick boosting, allows for high mobility gameplay. I won’t say the game is perfect but I truly feel that it may have the ability to reach the same level as the likes of Halo 2 and 3!
I can’t stress how fluid the gameplay is, having nailed the proper balance between Halo paced combat with the high mobility options that’ve become commonplace these days. Sprint is the perfect example; we all know a bunch of Halo players disliked it but the ability to get right back into the fray after respawning has essentially become the standard. 343’s new answer was both simple and unique, the timer until your shield begins to regenerate resets whenever you sprint so you have to choose, do you keep running and chance being shot up ahead or hold your ground? This could only be done in games like Halo where players don’t die instantaneously since shield play such a large part they’re both a blessing and a curse, something that must be monitored in combat as per usual but now also integrated into something as imperative as sprinting.
Meanwhile, while I don’t have hard numbers on kill times they seem to be in the same range as Halo 2 if not faster! Shielding is obviously still
important as well as the ever notorious four shot but should you miss this time, the repercussions are undoubtedly greater as weapons such as the assault rifle which feels much more accurate than previous iterations (due to the smart-scope) and the monstrous SMG are much deadlier. Just about every weapon is capable of a relatively quick kill so you’re usually not completely defenseless but in true Halo fashion, should you find yourself without a precision weapon you best make it your priority to get your hands on one.
My biggest gripes with the game aren’t completely founded on hard data but I’ll share them anyway. Grenades seem to be slightly more powerful, whether that is in sheer damage or simply the size of the explosion, I’m not sure but they feel rather powerful. Probably the most annoying problem is the servers ability to simply match me up with others players, as with early Master Chief Collection, I find myself waiting quite some time to get into a match but I expect that’ll be taken care of by release. Next up, I do prefer traditional zoom over “smart-scoping” but it’s not like this feature has been hampering my experience, that’s really just an aesthetic preference. Finally I don’t like the accuracy boost automatics are gaining from Smart-scoping, the reason I differentiate the two issues is that
even if the game had zoom instead of Smart-scope, the weapons may still have the ability to zoom, so it’s not as much the difference between smart-scope and zoom as it is the fact that these weapons have access to the accuracy boost. I hope that all makes sense. Anyway, if the SMG is made into a power weapon, because it surely feels like one, I wouldn’t mind and I can see the argument for the Assault Rifle since now spawning with it isn’t quite as hampering but as per my traditional Halo preferences, I think precision weapons should have a decisive advantage if used correctly over automatic weapons. Still, it’s not all bad, again, now when you spawn with the AR it doesn’t feel completely useless.
In any case those were my few gripes but they’re completely eclipsed by how much I’m loving the new high mobility and high power options, ground pounds and shoulder charges are risky and I don’t find myself utilizing them often which is why I didn’t really touch on them but they’re definitely interesting. All of these “Spartan abilities” I believe have finally delivered the extra options the franchise could use which were attempted with Equipment and Armor Abilities but without the gimmicky taste the previous features left their respective games. (although, admittedly I did like Equipment). Obviously I can’t say for sure but I think we got a bright future ahead of us my fellow Halo fans!