Microsoft has announced that the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta will be live from the 29th of December. Gamers can access the new platform through the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which is a re-release of classic Halo editions, stretching back to Halo: Combat Evolved (how has it been a decade since Halo 2?).
Early screenshots and trailers reveal that the multiplayer beta will include 3 new levels and focuses on small 4x4 games. Impressive graphics are something one has come to expect for a Halo game, as is the combination of Power-Rangers and Tron that Halo has always embodied, and the Xbox One looks like it is showcasing this familiar combination in pretty impressive clarity.
Gameplay has deviated somewhat from previous formats, with Halo 5 ‘jumping’ on the recent trend of FPS's to include the horizontal axis in the field of play. In fairness, the jetpack addition does seem like it has some advantages over the Advanced Warfare version, with an interesting directional feature and stabilizers. According to 343 Industries, the aim is to integrate the familiar cut-scene of jumping into the action into the actual gameplay itself.
There are some other deviations from Halo 4, with its Armour Abilities. Instead, is the idea of the ‘Spartan’ (standing for ‘speed’, ‘precision’, ‘agility’…you get the picture). Now each player has the same basic abilities, so everyone can jump as high, or run as fast, etc. It remains to be seen how this leveling of the playing field contributes to the overall game-feel. Homogenous competitors don't always work in first-person-shooters.
There are many other new features, such as the Air-to-Ground slam, or the Smart Scope. In fact, given that there is so much deviation from the traditional Halo format, the developers have included in the beta a remake of the Halo 2 classic level, Midship, possibly as a gesture to the traditionalists (or just because it was an awesome level).
In conclusion, the ultimate verdict on the new addition to the Halo family will have to wait till hours of relentless blasting have been carried out, but the early critics' reviews of the beta look very promising.
Oh yeah, there is something about the story line and the main character, for those of you who play in the one-player mode. I’ll be in the beta lobby if anyone wants to let me know what’s happening with that.
The Halo 5: Guardians beta is available to all Xbox One owners who snap up a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection which is out, woah, today of all times, that snuck up on us. Will you be being into the H:MCC to gain access to the beta or are you going to keep your Master Chief loving in check its launch next year?