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Halo


 

Return to the Ring

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Yesterday was the final day of HaloFest, a celebration of all of the recent goings-on in the Halo universe that culminated in an event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. There, we got to mix with fans as Microsoft counted down the hours until the official launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, watch the first two episodes of the new live-action Halo: Nightfall series, and—most importantly—go hands-on for the first time ever with the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. Before we get into our actual time with the demo, though, Ray, did you go in with any thoughts or expectations for what we’d see in this small slice of the first new-gen chapter of the Xbox’s most famous franchise?
Eric
Ray Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor
I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought we’d see some great visuals because of the new-gen power, but in terms of gameplay, I thought it was just going to be more of the same Halo multiplayer we’ve come to expect over the past decade.
To be honest, I went in with absolutely no expectations. I’d come into the series thanks to my friends buying me Halo 2 for Christmas one year, and off and on since then, I’ve had moments of really getting into the series’ multiplayer. Halo 4, though, for whatever reason, just didn’t grab me. And with so many other games on my mind in recent years, I was kind of ambivalent toward Halo 5. That might be the best way to go into a game for the first time, though: with absolutely no leanings either positive or negative. When we got the chance to go hands-on, you were first up—so how did that go? Eric
Ray I got to try out a new mode called “Breakout,” which pits two teams of four against one another, but each player only has one life to live. The first team to win five rounds in this survival style wins the match. It’s not necessarily anything groundbreaking, as we’ve seen this kind of mode in plenty of other games like Gears of War or Call of Duty, but it definitely made me rethink my typical Halo strategies. Also, it was a bit of an uphill battle for me, because I was just getting used to the plethora of new abilities that each player can use. I’d imagine using them in single-player would help with the learning curve in multiplayer, but since this was a chance to get my hands on Halo 5 early, I had to mess around as much as possible.There’s a lot of new moves that could one-hit KO someone, but the balance here also leaves you extremely vulnerable if you miss. There’s a forward melee charge and a ground pound, which I loved, because it actually gave me a chance to aim it a little due to the new thruster packs on everyone’s back. There’s also a burst move you can use with the jetpack to quickly avoid something, but it needs to recharge so you can’t spam it. I think most of us who were playing stopped trying to use a lot of the new moves after a while, though, and went back to our old run-n-gun ways—like I said, these new maneuvers and control schemes are going to take time for people to get used to. Also, you can’t run and have your shields recharge anymore, which was a shock to the system. Again, it’s for competitive balance that you need to slow down to get your shields back, but it’s going to be something that longtime Halo players are going to need to get used to.How about you? You got some time in with a more traditional “Slayer” match. What did you think?

Yeah, I thought I might be playing the same kind of match that you had, but instead I ended up doing Team Deathmatch. So, for me, it was a combination of just attempting to hold up my part in the team and trying to test out the new abilities that players will now have. While the whole “dash out of the way” aspect certainly has become part of a number of first-person shooters these days, it’s one of those things that you really miss when it isn’t around—like hiding behind cover in third-person shooters. Even if it isn’t groundbreaking, it felt good here, like the rest of the additions. Part of me wonders if all these things will make the game feel less “Halo-like,” whatever that means, and that’s a sentiment I’ve seen going around the Internet from some fans who watched the livestream last night. I don’t know, though—sometimes, things need to change. I liked these changes, and I’m glad it looks like the game is getting back to a point where every player has the exact same abilities, and it comes down to simply how skilled you are. There were other little changes I noticed as well, such as how special weapons are now added to the game on timers. For me, the a voice would announce that a sniper rifle was being added to the stage in X amount of minutes, for example. Eric
Ray Yeah, we saw that in the professional matches as well, where the new energy sword would come in at certain intervals, and then it’s a mad dash to try to get it—leading to some frantic firefights. And I agree, the new changes are for the better, even if they’re a bit more in line with what a lot of other FPS games are doing. It’s just going to take a little time for the hardcore fans to adjust. If anything, all the changes for this first new-gen Halo might actually help the series go even more mainstream and grow its already substantial audience.
Other than that, we only really each got one full match under our belts, so it’s hard in that position to truly judge everything that’s going to be different about Halo 5. Plus, being that this is still a full year out from the game’s release, a lot will change in that time. Still, though, there were things I noticed both good in bad about the game in other ways. The framerate felt noticeably better than I’m used to from previous Halos, something I always appreciate. On the other hand, though, I can’t say I was impressed with the visuals. Again, sure, this is still early—but even at this point, I expected to be wowed more than I was by how things looked. Eric
Ray In terms of animation and graphics, I agree that there was nothing visually that screamed new-gen to me. Also, the maps didn’t impress me at all and seemed super-generic. Like you said, though, this is going to be in beta a year before the game ships. A lot of this stuff will be changed, better balanced, and redesigned by the time the final product hits store shelves.
And whereas I thought I was kind of over the whole Halo thing, now I’m actually curious to see how the final product shapes up in the end. I still don’t care about the single-player storyline stuff or about Master Chief, but if the multiplayer is fun and has that right addictive quality again and I can now share all of my coolest moments more easily with the new generation of sharing options, I’ll be excited to be there. As a first step, though, I want to get my hands on the public beta when it hits next month. I want to see if I still have these feelings after playing a hundred games of Halo 5 multiplayer instead of just one. Eric

DoubleTake: Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta

EGM editors Eric and Ray got a chance to get some early hands-on experience with the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta, and talk about their thoughts on what they played.

By EGM Staff | 11/11/2014 08:49 PM PT

Features

Return to the Ring

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Yesterday was the final day of HaloFest, a celebration of all of the recent goings-on in the Halo universe that culminated in an event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. There, we got to mix with fans as Microsoft counted down the hours until the official launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, watch the first two episodes of the new live-action Halo: Nightfall series, and—most importantly—go hands-on for the first time ever with the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. Before we get into our actual time with the demo, though, Ray, did you go in with any thoughts or expectations for what we’d see in this small slice of the first new-gen chapter of the Xbox’s most famous franchise?
Eric
Ray Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor
I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought we’d see some great visuals because of the new-gen power, but in terms of gameplay, I thought it was just going to be more of the same Halo multiplayer we’ve come to expect over the past decade.
To be honest, I went in with absolutely no expectations. I’d come into the series thanks to my friends buying me Halo 2 for Christmas one year, and off and on since then, I’ve had moments of really getting into the series’ multiplayer. Halo 4, though, for whatever reason, just didn’t grab me. And with so many other games on my mind in recent years, I was kind of ambivalent toward Halo 5. That might be the best way to go into a game for the first time, though: with absolutely no leanings either positive or negative. When we got the chance to go hands-on, you were first up—so how did that go? Eric
Ray I got to try out a new mode called “Breakout,” which pits two teams of four against one another, but each player only has one life to live. The first team to win five rounds in this survival style wins the match. It’s not necessarily anything groundbreaking, as we’ve seen this kind of mode in plenty of other games like Gears of War or Call of Duty, but it definitely made me rethink my typical Halo strategies. Also, it was a bit of an uphill battle for me, because I was just getting used to the plethora of new abilities that each player can use. I’d imagine using them in single-player would help with the learning curve in multiplayer, but since this was a chance to get my hands on Halo 5 early, I had to mess around as much as possible.There’s a lot of new moves that could one-hit KO someone, but the balance here also leaves you extremely vulnerable if you miss. There’s a forward melee charge and a ground pound, which I loved, because it actually gave me a chance to aim it a little due to the new thruster packs on everyone’s back. There’s also a burst move you can use with the jetpack to quickly avoid something, but it needs to recharge so you can’t spam it. I think most of us who were playing stopped trying to use a lot of the new moves after a while, though, and went back to our old run-n-gun ways—like I said, these new maneuvers and control schemes are going to take time for people to get used to. Also, you can’t run and have your shields recharge anymore, which was a shock to the system. Again, it’s for competitive balance that you need to slow down to get your shields back, but it’s going to be something that longtime Halo players are going to need to get used to.How about you? You got some time in with a more traditional “Slayer” match. What did you think?

Yeah, I thought I might be playing the same kind of match that you had, but instead I ended up doing Team Deathmatch. So, for me, it was a combination of just attempting to hold up my part in the team and trying to test out the new abilities that players will now have. While the whole “dash out of the way” aspect certainly has become part of a number of first-person shooters these days, it’s one of those things that you really miss when it isn’t around—like hiding behind cover in third-person shooters. Even if it isn’t groundbreaking, it felt good here, like the rest of the additions. Part of me wonders if all these things will make the game feel less “Halo-like,” whatever that means, and that’s a sentiment I’ve seen going around the Internet from some fans who watched the livestream last night. I don’t know, though—sometimes, things need to change. I liked these changes, and I’m glad it looks like the game is getting back to a point where every player has the exact same abilities, and it comes down to simply how skilled you are. There were other little changes I noticed as well, such as how special weapons are now added to the game on timers. For me, the a voice would announce that a sniper rifle was being added to the stage in X amount of minutes, for example. Eric
Ray Yeah, we saw that in the professional matches as well, where the new energy sword would come in at certain intervals, and then it’s a mad dash to try to get it—leading to some frantic firefights. And I agree, the new changes are for the better, even if they’re a bit more in line with what a lot of other FPS games are doing. It’s just going to take a little time for the hardcore fans to adjust. If anything, all the changes for this first new-gen Halo might actually help the series go even more mainstream and grow its already substantial audience.
Other than that, we only really each got one full match under our belts, so it’s hard in that position to truly judge everything that’s going to be different about Halo 5. Plus, being that this is still a full year out from the game’s release, a lot will change in that time. Still, though, there were things I noticed both good in bad about the game in other ways. The framerate felt noticeably better than I’m used to from previous Halos, something I always appreciate. On the other hand, though, I can’t say I was impressed with the visuals. Again, sure, this is still early—but even at this point, I expected to be wowed more than I was by how things looked. Eric
Ray In terms of animation and graphics, I agree that there was nothing visually that screamed new-gen to me. Also, the maps didn’t impress me at all and seemed super-generic. Like you said, though, this is going to be in beta a year before the game ships. A lot of this stuff will be changed, better balanced, and redesigned by the time the final product hits store shelves.
And whereas I thought I was kind of over the whole Halo thing, now I’m actually curious to see how the final product shapes up in the end. I still don’t care about the single-player storyline stuff or about Master Chief, but if the multiplayer is fun and has that right addictive quality again and I can now share all of my coolest moments more easily with the new generation of sharing options, I’ll be excited to be there. As a first step, though, I want to get my hands on the public beta when it hits next month. I want to see if I still have these feelings after playing a hundred games of Halo 5 multiplayer instead of just one. Eric

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