Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer First Impressions

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It has been a big week for Halo and Xbox fans alike. With the launch of Halo 5: Guardians came one of the most competitive multiplayer arena first person shooters we’ve seen on the new systems as well as an absolutely beautiful campaign that was met with high praise. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and a lot of long conversations to pull off a game quite as good as Halo 5: Guardians and after the disappointment of the Master Chief Collection, many fans weren’t sure 343 were up to the task. Whether you supported them or not, what they delivered is an incredible multiplayer experience, both in Warzone and Arena and we’re going to look into how best 343 can support this game to show the fans they’re capable of great things with this beloved franchise.

First up, the positives. There are a huge amount of things that 343 did right in this game, almost so many that it’s difficult to list them all. Warzone is a great success and largely makes up for the lack of social playlists for me, the requisition system seems like an amazing add-on to this too with a lot of cool armour and weapon skins to collect as well as vehicles, power-ups and weapons for Warzone. The servers are amazing, coming from a game like Destiny back to a Halo on dedicated servers is magical and the matchmaking itself works seemingly without issue. The gunfights are fun, the balance is almost spot on with no gun completely outclassing others and the ranking system has what it takes to make Halo a serious competitive eSports contender.

A lot of the additions and changes made to this game are fantastic, some of which change the game for the better making this game one of the most competitive Halo’s I’ve ever played. On the other hand, there are definitely some things that weren’t integrated as seamlessly and features that need to be refined before they are perfect. The three main issues I am having with this game so far are the inconsistent spawns, the ranking system not seeming to work as intended and the lack of map variety in a lot of playlists. I can look past spawn issues in a big game like this as they are sure to be fixed in the first patch as well as the lack of map variety. These issues have already been addressed and a patch is being prepped for deployment as we speak. What unsettles me a little bit is the lack of conversation about the ranking system. I am consistently finding that, unlike other Halo games, I am put into games with teammates who have no idea how to capture a stronghold or get kills in slayer. The match ends in a loss for me, I check their rank in the leaderboards and everyone is platinum. There are a couple of issues here. Firstly, I don’t think that you should be put into anything higher than gold after you finish your placements. Then, there needs to be some sort of split matchmaking between people who are placed and people playing placement matches. I think this would solve the majority of the issues at hand, leaving the game a much more competitive experience.

Overall, absolutely fantastic job done by 343. A lot of people doubted they could hold the torch passed by Bungie after shaky performances with Halo 4 and the Master Chief Collection but credit where credit’s due, they pulled it off. With the first patch, a lot of the issues I have brought up will be fixed and we’ll be revelling in the competitive experience that is Halo 5: Guardians.

George Seymour