During this year’s HaloFest, 343 Industries gave us a sneak peek at the Halo 5: Guardians beta starting next month. One of the biggest changes to the game are Spartan Abilities, giving players more maneuverability and power on the battlefield. Three new maps were revealed ‒ Truth, Empire and Crossfire, a new game-mode named Breakout, and an Energy Sword power-weapon variant named the ‘Prophet’s Bane’ There are a lot of new changes to the gameplay mechanics that are both refreshing and familiar.
Each Spartan is equipped with a Thruster Pack, removing all other armor abilities and leveling the playing field. With these thrusters, you’ll be able to quickly dash in any direction, perform a devastating ground pound, and have stabilizers that activate when you aim your weapon in mid-air, floating for a short period of time. These changes make the gameplay much more fast-paced than Halo 4, and make the movement more dynamic, also including a clamber mechanic, that lets you grab and climb over edges. Sprinting is also available to all players as well and is now linked to your shields, making it harder for damaged players to escape a fight. Also tied to the sprinting is the slide and charge maneuvers that can be executed when running at full velocity.
Another overhauled feature is the zoom mechanic ‒ named ‘smart scope‘, your Spartan’s HUD creates a holographic scope for all weapons, even for those that didn’t normally have a scope. This feature has turned a few heads, as the ViDoc shows the mechanic to be more of an ADS (Aim Down Sight) feature, similar to shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. But from what I can tell, the mechanics and duration times are unchanged, with the visual representation being the main difference. De-scoping is back, and is a great way to suppress enemy fire ‒ reducing the usage of scoping, and really making it more tactical than a ‘must-use’ feature.
There are also a few additions that make the gameplay more dynamic and eventful, such as a shield timer bar that shows when your shield will start re-charging, new call-outs that tell you when power weapons will spawn, even your own Spartans talk during the game to call out enemy locations or commend you for your kills. During the loading screens, the game gives you a detailed rundown of the upcoming match, including the gametype, map, time and score limits and your starting loadout. There are also intro and outro scenes for multiplayer matches that showcase the spartan players in your team. A long-awaited spectator mode will also be available in the beta as well as the full game.
343 Industries are doing a great job in bringing back the classic arena style multiplayer ‒ two teams, fighting for power weapons and map control, everyone having the same starting loadouts and abilities. But of course, there have been mixed opinions on these new gameplay changes, stating that the game feels very…un-Halo. But what do you guys think? Are these new features a step in the right direction, or should 343 take a step back an focus on the classic/core gameplay mechanics?
The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta will start on December 29th, and will run for 3 weeks ‒almost a year before the game is released. So during this time, 343 will be listening to fans and will be taking feedback from the beta to bring the best multiplayer experience they can. Currently, the beta will only be accessed through Halo: The Master Chief Collection ‒ for our review on the collection click HERE.