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- Halo 5: Guardians
We're just a little over a month away from the release of Halo 5: Guardians, and I don't know about you, but I simply can't wait to sink my teeth into 343 Industries' first fully-fledged Halo game built from the ground up for Xbox One. In the build-up to the game's release, 343i has done a whole lot to spread the word and build excitement for Master Chief's next adventure, and while some of it has been met with a mixed response from fans, the good far outweighs the bad.
Why should you be excited for Halo 5? Why am I hopeful it stands a chance of becoming the series' best entry yet? Oh, let me count the ways….
Storytelling Done Right
While 343 Industries must be applauded for its ambition in attempting to tell an epic story with Halo 4, the game's narrative relied too heavily on lore found outside the confines of the games. Only truly avid fans who had read all the books could really comprehend all that was happening in the game's campaign, and I don't know about you, but I simply don't have the time to immerse myself in every ounce of external lore. This time around, however, it looks like 343i is well aware of that fact and will be weaving all of the necessary story bits into Halo 5 itself, serving up a narrative that all types of Halo fans can enjoy.
Halo 5 will tell a two sided-story: one through the lens of Master Chief and Blue Team, and the other from Locke and Team Osiris' perspective. As Locke and his crew hunt down Spartan 117, there's sure to be some epic confrontations in store. Plus, it appears we're going to get a deeper look into the humanity of the Chief as he reunites with his old pals during the early days of the Spartan program. By all accounts, it will be a more character-driven story, and that is certainly a very, very good thing.
While the beloved Big Team Battle mode won't be available at launch, 343 Industries is packing in something even better: Warzone. This new game type features massive online battles between two teams in a giant map, populated with a whole bunch of AI enemies as cannon fodder. Clearly taking cues from the likes of Titanfall, Warzone will serve as a great way for casual players to hop in and have fun, mowing down bots instead of instantly getting steam rolled by hardcore headshot-scoring pros.
Don't worry, though, as 343i hasn't forgotten about the competitive community. There's a dedicated Arena mode with more focused maps and a level playing field. Looking to just test your skills at scoring headshots and don't want to deal with all the extra frills? That'll be here. After all, Microsoft has made it clear it wants Halo 5 to be taken seriously within the eSports community, and from what we've seen of Arena thus far, Guardians is certainly a step in the right direction.
Learning From Past Mistakes
The launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was nothing short of a disaster. Completely broken on day one, 343 Industries' love letter to fans failed to deliver on its promise. Was the game rushed to make launch date? Were online servers simply not stress-tested enough to handle the weight of the Halo community? Whatever the reason, the game was simply too ambitious for its own good. As such, you can bet your bottom dollar that 343i has been slaving away to ensure that Guardians does not suffer the same fate. First impressions are key, and based on what we've played of the beta, a lot of work has gone into making this game as polished and smooth as humanly possible.
Halo 5: Guardians is slated for release on October 27, exclusively for Xbox One. Are you as excited for the game as I am? Do you think it will be able to eclipse the greatness achieved by prior entries in the series and become the franchise's best installment yet?