Halo 5: Guardians Campaign Review

There are NO spoilers in this review! Enjoy reading without worrying about being spoiled!

Note: This was reviewed with a retail copy that we purchased ourselves early. 

It has been a long wait. 3 years without a new Halo experience and even longer since we’ve had a masterful entry into the franchise. 343 have admitted at length that they made mistakes in a lot of areas with the launch of Halo 4 and again with the release of the Master Chief collection have been pushing extremely hard to restore the franchise back to its former glory. From everything we’ve seen so far it’s looking like Halo 5 could be the start of that, right? Let’s find out what 343i have done right and whether this is going to bring Halo back to the forefront of the Xbox’s hall of fame.

We’ll start with a brief (spoiler free) run down of the campaign. After the events of Halo 4 Master Chief has gone absent without leave. No one knows why except Blue team, his old school fireteam of Spartan-2’s. Charged with the task of hunting him down and bringing him back alive before something bad happens, is Spartan Locke accompanied by fireteam Osiris. Throughout the campaign you will take control of Chief and Locke with their respective fireteams battling Covenant and Prometheans in a variety of action-packed missions with some new toys thrown in here and there.

One thing that I found to be refreshingly different about this game as opposed to the other games in the franchise is the team dynamic. Every single mission in this campaign, whether you’re playing as Locke or Chief, you will be flanked by your fireteam who have a couple of tricks up their sleeves to make the game less grindy. Firstly and most importantly you can be revived by your teammates. This is a pretty big deal and the game seems to be built around this mechanic as certain checkpoints would be pretty tough to achieve on Legendary (I only played on Heroic) and being revived could be just the thing you need to help you get to that next checkpoint threshold. They also are extremely useful on some other enemy types in the game (Hunters, among other enemies) where you will need to draw their attention while your team shoot it in the back or vice-versa. I find that having a fireteam turns this game from a 12-hour, more grindy game to an 8 hour adrenaline fuelled experience.

Having a fireteam with you also really helps to build the atmospheric idea 343 were trying to push with this game and that is the action. This game is one of the most action-packed Halos we have ever seen and even though I didn’t think I would, I actually liked that about it. There are quite a few jumps to a pelican that Buck just about misses with Locke managing to grab him and pull him up, as well as the destruction and carnage of killing enemy turrets, Banshee’s, Wraiths and other aircraft while in a Scorpion and that’s not even to mention the amount of running through areas that are literally crashing down under your feet, using your booster packs to throw yourself to safety. It may sound like a Michael Bay action movie, but this game really lends itself to it.

One of my favourite things about the campaign of Halo 5 is the amount of references to the older games and even well-known characters making an appearance to aid you. There were quite a few moments where I would make the goofiest faces because I’d just seen a character that I liked from a previous game who then proceeded to kill about 4 Elites while I stood by and watched. This game is full of moments that make you just want to punch the air with excitement and that’s what Halo’s all about!

When it comes to weaponry, both new and old, there is some important and interesting stuff to note about design choices made by the developers. Obviously there are some newer guns and vehicles that have been added to the game in the Hydra rocket launcher and the Phaeton airship, but along with this some of the existing weapons have been changed. Before you start worrying, the ones that have undergone facelifts are weapons that 343 themselves added into the Halo gameworld such as the Boltshot, Lightrifle and the Binary rifle. The Boltshot is now a 3 round burst weapon, the Lightrifle is now more of a DMR and the Binary rifle is now more of a laserbeam that is incredibly accurate. These changes are exactly what this game needed when it came to Promethean weapons which were, upto now, pretty much just re-skins of other weapons that already existed in the games (the Magnum, Battle rifle and Sniper rifle).

On the subject of weapons, I just wanted to interject my thoughts on which guns I found to be particularly strong when playing through the campaign on Heroic. The BR, DMR and Covenant carbine are all still up there, but don’t seem to be the best of the best in every situation in Halo 5: Guardians. Instead, I feel like every gun handled itself really well in its intended role with the 3 best guns being the Boltshot, AR and even the SMG. I quite often looked forward to the missions where the Prometheans would show up so I could nab myself one of their Boltshots which just seemed to demolish everything.

With weapons out of the way, the most important things in your loadout are your Spartan abilities and trust me, you’re gonna want to get used to some of these pretty quickly. Firstly, you’ve got the shoulder charge which is like a beefy melee attack that you do when you’re at full sprint. Then we’ve got the ground slam where you jump into the air and hold melee which gives you a cursor that you aim and you can slam down, crushing your enemies. Finally, and definitely most importantly is the thruster pack. With the thrusters you can boost in any direction by pressing B (default layout) allowing you to add a little pizazz to your jump or boost out of the way of those Hunters (etc.) just in case one of them gets up in your grill (spoiler: they will!). A lot of this kit makes Halo 5 what it is and without it, it would be an incredibly frustrating experience. How this stuff plays out in multi-player, however, is yet to be seen.

Visually, of course it’s the most impressive. This is the first true next-gen Halo game we’ve seen and it is absolutely incredible. Everything from taking an Elite’s shields off to obliterating Promethean enemies looks extremely satisfying and the colour scheme is just about perfect in every situation. Whether you’re in a cave with flashlights or on a Forerunner planet everything is wonderfully lit and colour is fantastic where appropriate. Along with the fantastical, almost limitless landscapes they’ve built there was seemingly no framerate issues at all. Everything ran as smoothly as it should, maintaining 60 frames per second from the start to the end which isn’t hugely common on this generation of consoles just yet and is something 343 should be commended for.

A lot of praise should go to the audio team behind this game. Seemingly every single sound in this game has redesigned, while making sure it still fills the requirement of being a sci-fi shooter. Whether it be the new Battle rifle sound or the clarity in the grunts voices talking about how many millions of humans they’re gonna kill today everything sounds perfect. This game has taken the next step when it comes to sound design, eclipsing almost every game on this generation and before.

Halo 5: Guardians is one hell of a rollercoaster for Halo fans. From the sombre and sad times to the action packed thrill ride, it surely was an incredible experience all around. As a fan who has played every main Halo, one of my favourite things about this game in particular is the tremendous amount of respect a lot of the characters have for the Master Chief, even though they are trying to track him down and, for all intents and purposes, arrest him. There are some heart-warming, flanked very quickly by some heart-breaking moments but one thing’s for sure, this is possibly the greatest Halo game ever made. It’s a heavy title, one that is very well-deserved by 343 with this game.

Final Verdict – 9.5/10

+Fireteams are a great addition
+The story is magnificent
+Audio and vIsuals are outstanding
+343 shook the pillars and were rewarded

-A few encounters were a little repetitive
-I have to wait for the next game!


Have your say!

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  1. Here we go it has begun BOOM!

  2. Look for some Sony sheep to write a review or make comments to try and discredit the game. I can’t wait to play this game this coming week.

    • So true. Sony fans are the worst. They’re like Nazis, all they do is hate. They are the pariahs of the gaming world.

      • Lol it’s funny you two go on to talk crap about “Sony fans” when you’re doing the same.. The irony.. Couldn’t you guys just post something positive about the game and leave it at that?

        • We are not doing the same and it’s not hate, it’s fact. Just look at the posts below. It happens all the time. An article comes out that says anything positive about XBOX or a game on the machine, these haters make comments or create articles about a machine the don’t own and a game they haven’t played.

          I have both consoles and enjoy them because of the games. I am excited for the first time in a long time for Halo single player. Equally as excited for Tomb Raider. If these games were on my PS4, it would make no difference since there is little difference in the hardware, just how developers use them.

          Get it straight. Not hating, just stating.

          • I have both systems and I still hate Halo. Just not my kind of game. 🙂

          • You are hating because you act like it’s only “Sony fans” who do this..go to a PlayStation article and you’ll see the exact same thing don’t be such a hypocrite

          • I’ve said similar things about the XB1 fanboys but its far less of them than the Sony fanboys and the amount of idiotic comments they make. Get a clue clown before you go calling people names.

          • Lol I call them as I see them and you’re no better than those you’re complaining about. Don’t get all defensive about it you basement dweller but I guess if the shoe fits..

          • I guess I would be angry too if my kid looked like that. I call them like I see them. LOL

          • Lol what are you even talking about..

          • Then get some glasses because you are blind as a bat and can’t see. While you’re at it, learn the difference between a complaint and stated facts. Let me help you…..”You’re an idiot.” That’s a fact not a complaint.

          • Go to school kid and learn what a fact is..I think you’re playing a little too many video games it’s starting to rot your brain

      • hipokrit

      • Hitler? Spread some more hypocritical hate why don’t ya, then u can point your finger at others and accuse them of it instead! Then get a job and start gaming on both consoles like a real gamer!

        • They are close minded and pledge their alliance to one box lol then they go on forums to rant and be hypocrites XD pretty sad

      • And all you fanboys do is give undue praise to regurgitated garbage. By blindly praising inferior products you allow AAA to set the bar low because they know stupid sheep like you preorder anything with a AAA Title on it, you moron.

  3. +The story is magnificent
    = It’s not. It’s very generic, bland and predictable.

    +Audio and vIsuals [sp] are outstanding
    = The Audio is outstanding. The visuals are good. Objectively not outstanding.
    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKVVcdOTYSY

    +343 shook the pillars and were rewarded
    =They certainly did not.

    I can’t help but notice how you didn’t cover the jarring and abrupt ending that is, in many ways, the same as Halo 2. Which was, as I’m sure you’ll recall, an ending that is loathed to this day.
    Halo 5 is, at best, a solid first person shooter dressed in Halo’s discarded clothing. Halo’s 1-3 are the core experience, Halo 4 was an unneeded and divisive, but enjoyable, addition to the series. Halo 5 is the beginning of a predictable series of games that exist for no other reason than to bring in more money and extended universe content.
    7/10 at most.

    • Bro give me some fries with that salt

    • Someone’s mad that an Xbox title got a good review by someone. Enjoy hating, everyone else will enjoy playing

    • Whelp, a random person on the internet who probably didn’t play the game gives it a 7/10, better go cancel my pre order

    • You do know that Halo has this mode called Multiplayer?
      Also a massive part of Halo, Forge, is getting a major overhaul in Halo 5.

      You really only judged one third of the game.

    • *raises salt shield*

  4. Are we positive this guy even played it? He’s purposely vague on everything.

    So hard to believe someone thinks the story is “magnificent”. Kill Cortana off in Halo 4 only to bring her back in Halo 5 as an evil AI (how cliche!). The entire “Hunt the Truth” leadup with ONI running a smear campaign on Chief isn’t in the game at all. Such a let down.

    Let’s not even get into the “boss battles”, which consist of “Beat the Eternal Warden”, “Beat 2 Eternal Wardens at once”, “Beat 3 Eternal Wardens at once”. So instead of variety, they just throw this enemy in who can make as many copies of himself as he wants.

    The storytelling and writing has just gone so far downhill since Bungie left.

    • Dude… Shut up.

      • He’s not wrong.

    • Thanks for the spoiler you fuckin piece of shit and now how am I suppose to enjoy the game knowing that asshole.

      • He ruined it for me too. The mods were a little too late deleting his comment. Game has been spoiled… I feel like dropping the biggest F bomb ever on this guy…

  5. Please do not post spoilers in the comment section or you will be banned.

  6. The story was complete trash. Hopefully the mp won’t dissapoint

    • lol an MGS talking about a story being trash, when MGS is the epitome of garbage, GTFO troll

      • You have obviously never played an mgs game before. Both Halo and MGS games have great stories. But the story in halo 5 was complete and utter garbage. Stay mad

        • Why would he be mad? He gets to play Halo 5 in 2 days

          • as an mgs fan mgs 5 barely had a story

        • I’ve beaten every MGS title and I know more about the series than you do, Hideo Kojima is an awful writer who relies heavily on plot devices and shock twist rather than compelling narrative, almost every MGS title had some twist at the ending that was lazily implemented to throw the player off

          Kojima is the M Night Shyamalan of video games

          Get rekt

          • Explain mgs 2’s main theme. If you can then i will believe that you played the game’s. Btw everyone has different opinions moron. Every twist actually has meaning to it. For example Ocelot’s twist at the end of mgs 1 leads to mgs 2. Stay mad

          • The twist in MGS are just lazy for example

            Liquid turning out to be Miller the whole time, and then using Snake to activate REX with the PAL codes, this stupid logic would require Snake to be alive and that means all of the boss fights are meaningless since none of them were trying to kill Snake

            MGS2 Plot twist was entertaining but again, kind of dumb with the whole Raiden being Solidus foster child and the Patriots controlling him

            MGS3 I’ll admit didn’t have much of a plot twist outside of EVA and Ocelot being double agents or Triple

            MGS4 Holy crap this was bad, Ocelot using Snake the entire time to upload Foxalive and destroy the Patriots AI

            MGSV with it’s retarded Venom Snake isn’t Big Boss, that was entirely pointless and stupid

          • MGS 3 didn’t have that much of a plot twist? Are you forgetting the boss is a true patriot? You also didn’t even mention peacwalker. And all the plot twists that you mentioned have to do with the story so they AREN’T pointless. Even if you don’t like the plot twist you can’t deny that all of them have to do with the story

          • That wasn’t really much of a twist since everyone and there mother could tell that the Boss didn’t truly defect since there was never any motive.

  7. october 27th….please come just a little bit faster.

  8. I am very excited for the game 3 more days and we are finally here

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  9. The bolt shot being one of the best weapons? Wow what surprise.

    Tuesday CANNOT come any sooner!

  10. Well it seems like its just a prequel to mass effect.

    Cortana is now evil with all the AI joining her to take the mantle against the humans or anything biological.

    • Was that a spoiler or are you just speculating?

      • 😉

        • you’re a twat

  11. Master Chief is taken prisoner!? Oh wow…. what a plaot twist.
    The campaign sucked. Enemies are sponges and the only good thing was one or two of the blue team guys. 7 – 7.5.

    • “Enemies are sponges” you do know that most of the enemies are grunts/jackals/crawlers that are the opposite sponges? Heck, the best parts is when there’s plenty of ‘sponges’ (Elites/Prometheans) on the field.

      Looks like you just searched up ‘Halo 5 campaign leaks’ to make you sound credible then proceeded to say the game sucked -_-

      • Look at his posting history, Sony is balls deep in this idiot

      • Promethean’s are bullet sponges that wade through damage and do not have any satisfying characteristics as an enemy when fighting them.

    • Oh look, a salty PS4 owner who’s mad because he has no games to play, Oh well, at least you have that piece of garbage Star Wars Battleturd, hell even Sony acknowledges that the PS4 is a barren wasteland

      Poor Ponies,PS4 ain’t got games D:

      • My console is packed with games, I have a backlog so you are not exactly on point there.

        • Yeah, garbage quantity over quality, and it’s hilarious how you’d rather troll Xbox videos instead of play the PS4, what’s wrong, PSN down again? I love insecure fanboys like you, they’re so easy to predict 😀

          • I take it you haven’t hit puberty yet?

  12. OMG, why did I buy a PS4. I betrayed the Master Chief.

    • Buy an xb1 on sale, and get all the exclusives 😀

      • I´m ready…just waiting for the right moment to do it^^.

        • Probably be December or January, since Halo 5 is getting Forge on Dec.

          H5’s customs are going to be so much fun!

  13. great review! start the engines.

  14. Does anyone know why Cortana turns bad?

  15. Great review. I can’t wait to play.

  16. I think I agree with everything except that the audio and visuals are outstanding.

  17. This review is awkwardly and poorly written. You need to work on your writing.

  18. Beware of spoilers below

  19. The best part about Xbox games, besides the games themselves, is how salty they make teh ponies 😀

  20. I’ve played the sp campaign and I must say, it is really good. So I gave it 9.7/10

  21. A lot of Sony fans are going to be on suicide watch next week!

  22. Microsoft actually knows how to make shooters unlike Sony haha. The day Sony makes a shooter as successful as Halo will be the day pigs fly lol!!!!

  23. Damn! A 9.5!
    I was so nervous, this is the only XB1 title I preordered this year

  24. This seems like too good of a review. I cant get past no local co op for the sake of this stupid 60 fps stuff.

  25. I waited so long for this only to have my Xbox one, ps4, tv, hard drive and surround sound all jacked while I was busy working my ass off.

    I guess there’s always time to save and get it later. People just irritate me.

  26. This is merely a PREDICTION so everybody cool your spoiler alert jets:
    I think Chief is going to die. Or be absorbed into the Forerunner Domain…which is basically like death, i guess.

  27. Sounds like a BS Destiny clone. In 900p.

    • Destiny itself is BS

  28. Took only 8 hours? 343 has been boasting that this game was much bigger than previous Halo games, did they lie?

    • Or are you just that good?

      • I dunno, I did beat the Cleric Beast in Bloodborne on the first try. but that’s more likely because he was extremely slow.

  29. Let me start by saying I have been a huge fan of halo’s campaigns. So to my surprise when I try to play and low and behold your AI teammates either just stand next to you or they rush into combat belittles me. I cannot even play this without turning blue to the face. Horrible I must say 343 absolutely devastating.

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