Halo

Halo 5, The Good Side

Last time I talked about Halo 5 there was quite a bit of negativity. While this was justified, I do think they are headed in the right direction so I’d like to defend it despite my disappointment.

The Basics

So Halo is a futuristic game, and that means futuristic features. I feel like recently the games have gone away from that though and followed modern shooters. To me this is just uncalled for. People play Halo to get away from the modern shooters and enjoy a different game. And Halo 5 Beta shows that they know that now. The Spartans are decked out with abilities that belong to the future. They also follow the thought process that Spartans are not ordinary soldiers, one rushing straight at you would kill you. This is great, someone finally took a step back and realized what made Halo so much fun.

It’s also obvious that they went big for this Beta. There are lots of changes in every aspect. The game has a more shiny appearance to it. The matches are quicker. The moves create new aspects of game play. And a lot of this is working for them. I still feel the thruster is a bit much, but after using it more successfully I can see that it counters the games fast play style. While I am not a fan of this, I manage to do better about the whole thing if I don’t flat out rage for it. Now with a beta they can do things like this, throw in everything and see what works. And I can say the thruster might need to remain in if the game remains so fast. As much as I hate the thing….

As much as it probably won’t happen in the actual game, I loved the maps variants. The second I started both of them I couldn’t be happier. And I’m sure it is much easier on designers to take a good map, and make an equally good variant. I do enjoy Eden more than Empire though. Truth and Regret and equally good, I would play both of them the same amount.

The Not So Basic

Let’s look at past game styles that worked really well for Halo. My two examples for this are Grifball and SWAT. Both are popular game variants that tend to have massive amounts of players. What’s common in those two? Fast kills, lots of medals, but not unfair. And that’s why Halo 5 goes into a faster mode. I’ve seen some articles about people saying this is moving towards CoD and Battlefield. However that’s not the case. It really is based off those two popular modes. Hopefully over the next 9-12 months 343 will perfect that process.

I’ve been using the default button layout for one large reason. The left trigger to scope in. Now this is very much influenced by modern shooters. And once again it works. It can also hurt too. Lets start with the hurtful part. As soon as I scope I am getting ready to hit the spot button cause I’m used to playing BF4. For a developer that’s one thing you want to avoid, players should be focused on your game when they play. But it does work, after thinking through it using the right thumb stick really didn’t work. At least for me, when I clicked in and then tried to aim it just didn’t happen as quickly. Using the left trigger really allows me to focus on aiming and not get so distracted.

What will keep me going the most is the SR system. I enjoy a ranking system, but it doesn’t keep me in the game. The SR system gives me something to strive for while being placed in the right matches. It’s wonderful for players like me. But the most crucial thing is to is that they DON’T FOLLOW HALO 4. It was over so quickly. After a month or two I was done trying to rank up and that really stunk. If they could follow the one good thing about Reach is to keep that game going on and on. With an exp cap I did the math and one of the last ranks took a full month of every day exp cap to rank. Fantastic! So let’s hope they can follow that, there doesn’t even have to be an unlock. Just give me a goal.

Now the last thing that I find good is something some people are hating on. The announcer and medals. But there is a science behind this. It is proven that a player gets more excited when they earn a medal and even more when they hear that announcer behind it. The key is getting the right placement for it. You can’t just stick in there for walking in a straight line. But things like multikills are the key. Not things that happen by chance, like hat trick. Unique kills deserve a unique medal. If they can successfully find how to do that it could improve their game.

The Finished Product

So I should at least confess that I’m getting better at Halo. It really takes all my focus, my wife talked to me for a little once and it threw me off. And to me that isn’t Halo, but not everyone enjoys a game that doesn’t require all their attention. I’ll even still buy the game if it takes lots of focus. I’m really excited to see where 343 takes this beta. Hopefully I can avoid another rant out of rage again, though I still think those points have a good basis behind them.

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