I got Halo 5 for Christmas, and I just finished the campaign. I have some things I’d like to say about it, so I’m going to conduct this review a la Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. SPOILER ALERT!
Tl;dr synopsis: So Cortana breaks up with the Master Chief and finds an overprotective new boyfriend called the Warden, until she completely busts his balls and that’s the last we hear of him. Fireteam Osiris, consisting of Vale, Tanaka, Buck, and led by Locke, is sent to find the Master Chief after he goes AWOL trying to find Cortana. MC drags his buddies Kelly, Frederick, and Linda along until they’re shipped to some planet by the all-powerful Cortana, who has defeated rampancy because of course she has. Osiris finds out that Blue Team is in grave danger and their new mission is to rescue them. Fight fight fight, shoot shoot shoot, they think Cortana is dead, but then she shows up in the Infiniti having just turned off all the lights on the planet below. The Infiniti runs away and a new Halo is built.
You either play as Locke or Master Chief depending on the mission. As the commander of each team, you have the ability to command your team members in real time. You can tell them to get to a destination, get in a certain vehicle, or even target a certain enemy. I find this dynamic great, as it blends the mechanics of a first-person shooter with an RTS game.
Also, if one person “dies,” they don’t really die. A teammate can run over to the person and revive them. I love the idea of this, as it prolongs the battle and can make it more intense.
I have some grievances with the storyline, but it’s honestly a good departure from what would have become very stale very quickly, the classic “Master Chief has to singlehandedly defeat the bad guys.”
Halo 4 felt very “systematic” if you know what I’m saying. I knew which weapons to carry at each exact moment. It became boring very quickly, which is why I haven’t played it more than twice. Halo 5 doesn’t seem like that at all. Everything was chaotic, which can be interpreted as a good thing.
Okay, what the fuck happened? The story sort of jumped around without a clear objective. You begin the game doing... something... and you end the game having accomplished... well... nothing. The entire storyline was basically a teaser for Halo 6: OMGTHERINGSAREBACKSHOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!
At some points, like on Meridian, it felt as though I was doing odd-jobs for various people, like it was Sonic ‘06. “Do this” “Do that.”
The enemies ranged from “You’re easy to kill but stay the fuck still” to “Holy fuck you’re resilient.” While Elites are easier to kill in this game than in the last, Hunters are like rocks that are equally hard to kill. And don’t even get me started on the Wardens, which basically have the strength and endurance of a small galaxy.
You’d think that stopping someone from thwarting your master plan would be priority #1, especially for Cortana, who was a veteran of several “Do this simple thing and the enemy will fall!” scenarios. But the countermeasures in the game are laughable. “IN ORDER TO STAHP THE GRAVITY BALL THAT BLUE TEAM IS IN, WE HAVE TO DESTROY THESE SPINNING STATUES THAT ARE OUT IN THE OPEN IN RANDOM LOCATIONS. OH AND THEY’RE GUARDED BY COVENANT FOR SOME REASON.”
Again, I like the concept of reviving one’s teammate. However, it can get pretty old if you’re stuck in a room filled with bad guys and even hunters, and all you guys have are basic assault weapons. You find yourself constantly reviving and being revived that it strips away at the illusion. Also, if a person isn’t revived in time, they legitimately die, but they don’t. They’ll just come back to life. I know it’s difficult to work around something like that with the revival thing already in place, but again, it strips away at the illusion. I no longer feel like a badass space cowboy, but instead like a nerd playing a video game.
I wouldn’t play it again in the same way I wouldn’t watch Slumdog Millionaire again. All the ‘devastating’ moments happened, and I’m simply immune to them now. Should you still get it? Absolutely! If you’re not a cold-hearted cynic like me, you’ll get some enjoyment out of the campaign and maybe even multiplayer (Which I haven’t enjoyed since Halo 3). I’ll just stick to playing the best Halo game ever made, Halo 2.