Halo 5 is the second game in the new trilogy of Halo games since the reins were handed over from Bungie. As with Halo 4, Halo 5 has a starkly different feel to it from Bungie’s contributions to the franchise, yet manages to stay true to the age-old series of shooter games we have come to know and love. However, some of those changes came at quite a price.
To begin, Halo 5 is an incredibly smooth, polished game. With stunning visuals, crisp sound design, and 60 glorious frames per second, it’s a game that nobody can say looks bad in any sense of the word. Every gun has a nice, strong, punchy feel to it, the enemies move and act with personality and flavour, and the game feels like a well-polished experience with all its bases covered.
One noteworthy experience is the melee attacks. Punching stuff in Halo 5 is one of the most satisfying actions in almost any video game; there’s a huge force behind every hit that you can feel, and nothing satisfies more than shoulder-tackling a grunt and watching it fly off a cliff. This, combined with the gunplay, seals the deal for a very well-made shooter experience that’s sure to keep you entertained for some time.
The campaign itself is fairly good. There isn’t much to say without spoiling the plot, but overall, the way the plot mixes multiple different themes together leads me to feel like it has its narrative priorities mixed up. This becomes very clear as one theme is made to feel like the major plotline, only for it to be pushed off to the side by a completely different narrative theme. Overall, it jumbles up the tone quite a bit. On the flip side, how the game incorporates the series’ lore as well as plots and characters from the books themselves feels very natural, and makes for a deep and believable universe. The multiplayer aspect is very enjoyable as well. The new “Warzone” game mode makes for very chaotic, enthralling matches, and with each gun given its proper niche and execution, nothing feels overtly better than any other option, giving players a good selection to pick and choose from based on their preference rather than what’s best. The new vehicles and maps make for a very fun experience. Halo 5 also has four-player co-op practically written into the campaign, making this game ideal for online multiplayer.
I suppose I can’t beat around the bush anymore — Halo 5 does not have local multiplayer of any kind. You cannot hook multiple controllers up to an Xbox One and enjoy some good ol’ fashion Halo couch multiplayer with your friends. Halo 5’s multiplayer is purely an online experience. This decision was made in favour of those fantastic visuals I mentioned earlier — so that Halo 5 can be a game that operates on a 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. This is going to be a large deal-breaker for a lot of people, and while the game itself is very good, I simply cannot recommend this game if playing it with your friends on one TV is what you hope to do.
Halo 5 is a great game; it’s very well crafted and very polished, and makes for a very solid experience. While the story may not be up to snuff, the campaign holds up very well. Unfortunately, without local multiplayer, Halo 5 feels like a truck without a flatbed, an El without the Camino. Regardless, it’s a very fun game, and if you’re interested more in the campaign and the multiplayer, I encourage you to pick up a copy. If you want to play this with your friends, but not online, though, there really isn’t anything I can say for you.