| 03.17.2018

Exceeding expectations — “Halo 5: Guardians” is a killer shooter


Bradley Burgess | Rawr

“Halo 5: Guardians” is the Xbox One game that everyone was waiting for. After a stellar “Halo 4” exceeded expectations and reinvented the franchise, fans were holding their breath for the follow-up.

Now, it’s here, and it exceeds even our wildest imaginations.

When Master Chief goes rogue after receiving a message from his lost AI Cortana, Spartan Jameson Locke, who had his own story in the digital series, “Halo: Nightfall,” and his team are sent to retrieve him while also contending with Covenant forces and Prometheans, now lead by a mysterious new Warden.   RawrR2

“Halo 5’s” campaign has gotten an upgrade with tons of new features. Now, instead of riding solo and slaughtering aliens on your own, you have two teams of three AI controlled soldiers to help you out. As Locke, you have Fireteam Osiris, comprised of Buck, voiced by Nathan Fillion, reprising his role from “Halo 3: ODST”; Vale, a 22-year-old in hot pink armor and Tanaka, who boasts tons of cool gadgets. Master Chief, on the other hand, has Spartan friends — Fred, Kelly and Linda — who get very little introduction, unless you read the expanded fiction. Each character can be commanded to shield you, attack an enemy or revive you from near death.

There are also new Spartan abilities that are a blast. Spartan Charge lets you bash through walls, Ground Pound is the best action ever and the Smart Link improves accuracy with weapons. Speaking of, all old weapons from past games have been upgraded. Now, the Promethean Suppressor is more effective, the SMG is back with a vengeance and the Fuel Rod Cannon is a must have in your arsenal.   

But, as any “Halo” fan knows, the campaign is only half the battle. The game’s legendary multiplayer has been completely reinvented for this game. Now, there’s a new mode called Warzone, which pits two teams of 12 against each other as well as enemy AI plus bosses that can be killed to earn points for either team. This mode is so much fun and matches can go on for indefinite periods of time — one match lasted 25 minutes. The scale of this mode is unbelievable, only helped by the stunning graphics and crystal clear resolution.    

There’s also a new Requisition system that earns you points the more kills you get in multiplayer. You can redeem these points for Req packs that reward you with random weapons and armor to be used in Warzone. Even though the randomness of the rewards can be frustrating, the system encourages you to be better to get the rewards and stock up your arsenal.             

Xbox One owners owe it to themselves to pick up this game. It’s innovative, smooth as butter and the most fun “Halo” has been in years. The massive scale, new features and gripping story make “Halo 5: Guardians” one of the best games of the year — if not the best.

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