The Halo franchise won me over on a sandy beach. I came to the story in a completely backwards manner – it was ODST that grabbed my attention and held it for a very long time. A friend suggested that maybe we could play Halo 3 co-op because everyone was getting very tired of doing firefights with a Veronica Dare in dirty pink armor. Veronica is a great female character in one of my all time favourite games, but I was curious to see why every one of my friends who played Halo had played them all.
Halo 3 was great, but when my co-op partner pulled up in a Mongoose and said hop-on and drove across a sandy beach I was so busy admiring my shiny new rocket launcher that I didn’t see the Scarab until we were quite close. I wanted to turn back and run, my fellow soldier and said no, we’re going to take it down. Take it down? That’s crazy! And it was. It was insane. It was wonderfully insane.
The Halo series, Microsoft’s signature franchise, is well known for a few things – it’s top of the line multi-player, it’s guns, it’s soldiers, it’s convoluted by highly engaging story line, Cortana – sentient AI, it’s an atmospheric soundtrack and it’s tradition to combine all of the above to make something great. Bungie, the original team behind Halo left to make Destiny and although 343 Industries did a pretty good job to keep the Halo torch burning, there were cracks and Halo lost it’s brilliance.
Halo 5: Guardians feels right again. It has rekindled my enthusiasm with its solo campaign and I am even tempted to do a second play through on a harder difficulty to get some of the achievements and collectables.
Included in the box: Campaign, Multi-player, On-line co-op for up to 4 players
Paid Extras: Xbox Live subscription required for co-op and multiplayer maps and DLC is free.
About Microsoft and 343 Industries
Microsoft is one of the four big pillars of the tech world. They started in the 1970s building compilers, but hit the big time in the early 80s when selected by IBM to write an operating system for the PC – MSDOS and later Windows. They have branched out into many tech areas and in the early 00’s entered the gaming space with the Xbox. Halo was one of their first big gaming successes and has continued ever since.
343 Industries was created to take over the Halo franchise from Bungie in 2009. Halo Reach was the last Bungie-made Halo game and 343 Industries has been the developer since.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Halo is a versatile shooter with a wide range of audiences. It can be played in different styles – melee, firing range or long range with sniper guns and there are multiple difficulty settings. The controller has multiple layouts to suit different styles and it is set in a beautiful world with a great soundtrack creating an immersive experience.
Pause anytime to take a break – save is by frequent check-points and the game plays out over 15 missions, each around 30 minutes long, which I found a great reminder to get up and take a short break.
Halo 5: Guardians has multiple controller schemes that suits most players and I found the standard layout efficient and comfortable to use. It is not fully accessible – there are multiple controls, players require some timing and precision to aim, but there are assist modes to help those with dexterity issues as well as making it easier for beginners to the genre.
The subtitles are well executed, team mates have names above their heads and I found the reticules and other user interface elements fairly accessible and easy to use.
I particularly liked that the game is centred around two 4-player teams. I played the campaign solo and found the team NPCs useful and beneficial. It also helps make Halo more accessible as there are 3 team mates who help to carry out tasks and there is some flexibility on controlling them – it’s possible to tell them to focus on a specific target or to man a particular turret which I felt added a lot to the experience.
Environment & People
Halo 5 was not manufactured in a particularly sustainable way and has the same environmental footprint as most large and globally distributed game franchises. The content of the game is not particularly focused on environmental issues, but do touch on some intrinsic ethical dilemmas around war and peace. It does not aim to create either a positive or negative attitude towards living responsibly or ethically, but there is a moral to the story.
£40 is a standard price for a latest generation console game at launch. It includes both a campaign and multiplayer mode with no season pass required. Good value for money.
Players: Single Player, On-line co-op (local co-op not supported)
Full controller support
Language: English (interface, subtitles and full audio)
PEGI 16+, ESRB T (teen)
Platform: Xbox One only
Xbox One Console, internet connection and Xbox Live membership for on-line play.
Halo 5: Guardians feels like the old Halo again. It has a little flavour of Mass Effect, but I don’t mind because I loved played Mass Effect almost as much as I loved playing Halo 3, ODST and Reach.
It feels so much like the old Halo, that I can easily forgive its cavern-corridor-cavern design, the lack of mind-blowing battles like the Scarabs on the beach and a story that is okay, but not amazing because it’s not as if shooters are well known for their incredible narratives.
Guardians’ campaign is not the best game i have ever played, it isn’t the best Halo game I have ever played, but its a mighty fine shooter filled with many hours of enjoyment. I strongly recommend it to both new players and fans of the series.
Product: Halo 5: Guardians | Developer: Microsoft | Publisher: Microsoft | Platform: Xbox One | Genre: Third-person shooter | Language: English | Players: 1 -4 (Campaign)| Version: Europe | Release Date: 27 October 2015 |Content Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB T (teen)
The review is based on the Xbox One standard edition kindly provided by Microsoft. This review is for the single player campaign only. This post contains affiliate links. First published on 28 October 2015.