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Halo
Halo
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The Halo 5 Guardians Multiplayer is Essential

The epic, planet-spanning campaigns of the Halo franchise have always drawn a crowd, but it’s been a long time since they were the star attraction. What people really shell out for is multiplayer of Halo. Those endless hours sharpening your skills, proving that you’ve got what it takes. That’s what people stick with Halo for, and it’s just as true for Halo 5 Guardians Multiplayer. Here’s our review of the significantly overhauled multiplayer offering cooked up by 343 Industries. And we do mean overhauled. This is the biggest shift in online structure the franchise has ever seen. Back in Halo 4, 343 seemed relatively happy to rest on the laurels of predecessor Bungie, and the formula was becoming stale. For Guardians however, they’ve put their own stamp on proceedings. The multiplayer component of the game is now firmly divided into two modes, Arena and Warzone. What’s the difference? Well, Arena’s small, and Warzone’s big. Small isn’t a bad thing in this case however. The four vs four clashes Arena offers are all about competition. With a score of your performance easily accessible, symmetrical maps and even playing fields, this is 343’s attempt to get back to the small scale roots of the franchise’s multiplayer scene, while updating it for the competitive side of modern gaming. The real changes here are to be found in the game’s new abilities, your thrusters and ground pounds, and the changes they impose on the flow of combat. Watch out for the heavily reduced motion tracker range compared to previous games, too. A league system, scored on a mode-by-mode basis gives Arena its final addictive edge, setting out the game’s ambitions for the e-sports scene clearly. Halo 5 Guardians Screenshot 1 If you find it all a bit too pro-focused however, then Warzone is waiting for you. This expansive, twelve on twelve theatre takes you through a variety of capture and hold missions across much more expansive maps. You’re fighting the other team to secure structures and defeat NPC camps around the map, all while working around the new requisition system to get hold of gear. Weapons on the ground are a thing of the past. So how do requisitions work? Simply put, every match you play earns you cards, each good for a new weapon or vehicle, and you can spend those cards to get the item on the card for a single life. There are some permanent unlock cards too, for basic weapons like the battle rifle, but rocket launchers, tanks and the like are one-use only. Rather cynically, 343 are selling packs of the cards, which means there is a partial element of pay to win here, since a player with deep pockets will inevitably end up with better cards than you. Thankfully, that exploitation is limited by the fact that each spent card eats up your “Req points”, which are earned at a trickle through the match, up to a maximum of ten. Spawn a mech to stomp on the enemy, and you won’t be able to buy any new fancy weapons until your Req points fill up again, no matter how much real cash you’ve spent. With good map flow, plenty of teamplay potential and epic three-way clashes, Warzone’s easy to love, while being very distinct from Arena. Halo 5, then, offers two very different online distractions. That divide comes with its ups and downs The inability to disengage from the Arena ranking system for a casual game of say, 6 vs 6 capture the flag is disappointing, but while the new multiplayer incarnation of Halo constricts you, it’s also incredibly fresh, and offers buckets of replayability. Throw in a steady drip feed of newly released game types for Arena, and we’re merrily sinking hours into battles large and small. It’ll outrage a fair few fans fans, but 343’s willingness to innovate for Halo 5 is as welcome as it is essential.