PRIMER WARNING: The reviewer is coming to the Halo franchise will very little understanding of the previous games. This review should be viewed as a benefit to those who perhaps don’t play shooters all that much. If you’re a bumper jumper YOU WILL be disappointed.
Why do we kill? I question I unfortunately found myself asking innumerable times during my tenure with Halo 5 Guardians. Usually it’s to serve a greater narrative experience or simply because the mechanics were so astutely created that the cooperation becomes visceral.
Halo 5 is action packed, varied, explosive and at times….very…very dull. A bit of a primer, you are continuing the story of Master Chief and his team in their search for Cortana juxtaposed to Spartan Locke who is forced to help apprehend Chief with sprinklings of Nathan Fillion.
Other than that, the main campaign is entirely too referential for those relatively new to the series, brush up on your Halo 4 or the impetus for ANY of the fire fights your engaged in will seem artificial. There were moments when a grander narrative shined through but with serious helpings of the uncanny valley (I’m looking at you Nathan) they eventually left you confused and waiting to fight once again.
The story does end in a more complete manner than most games but after several hours I was still asking the question, why?
Many other games frankly integrate the story better with Density coming to mind as a more drawn out and cooperative experience and Wolfenstien: The New Order was a much more narrative experience although admittedly lacking mechanical polish.
Fundamentally the single player campaign is a train ride that stops you off into different arenas for combat, to enliven them with motivation would almost take away from that experience. An experience which is meant to showcase what a perfection of a mechanics can do for a game. The second you pick up a weapon it feels right in your hands, the ability to shift in and out of scope is seamless and beautifuly rendered.
The additional of movement options like the Spartan charge add another level of complexity to these grand set pieces that make you feel more lethal than I have felt in a game.
Both teams exhibit different means of attack and work together in different ways (Fans of the franchise note, you don’t play as Master Chief NEARLY enough).
Weapon types are varied, you often find yourself by necessity picking up an errant alien gun that turns everything around you into dust. Thank you 343. It’s fun and an interesting way to spend an afternoon, unfortunately the story is rather long and gets more and more tedious as you continue with the replication of mission areas (at least ostensibly) and attack patterns.
All of this leads me to the conclusion….that maybe I don’t get it. I want to experience levels of escapism in order to be transported to another world, Halo 5 doesn’t come close to doing that but it does provide the tightest and cleanest shooter experience currently available. As you can see below….