A Night With The Halo 5 Guardians Beta

Ah, Halo. I don’t know how you’ve managed to send me on such an emotional roller coaster for such a long period of time but here I am yet again falling for deceiving tricks and your tough love attitude. Halo 5 Guardians was released in beta form to the general public this week and of course I couldn’t wait to scrub the Cheeto dust off my hands and vomit Mountain Dew in preparation of what’s becoming a ritual for me. If you didn’t know; Halo 5 isn’t due out for another year (December 31st, 2015) and the primary development team should be working on their current project; The Master Chief Collection (MCC), which is reportedly broken for so many people. That’s not going to stop the Microsoft owned 343 Industries from keeping their beta available to all.

With Guardians so far away it’s almost funny how well the beta launch went while MCC goes without it’s weekly update. Almost seeming like 343 poured all of their resources into this beta with things like the dedicated servers that were promised to us for the collection.

Halo 5 Guardians Beta

Remember, it’s a beta.

There’s a lot of things that obviously need work, and you have to remember it’s got a whole year of tweaking in front of it; although it appears 343 isn’t going to update the beta itself so you’ll never see it in progress. From the newly common Halo issues like undefined hit boxes, flinching (which is confirmed to be removed in the retail game), unlimited sprint, unfair unedited weapon damage base, it’s obvious that fixes are on the list. Although Halo 4 launched with a lot of the same problems so hopefully 343 doesn’t decide to make us deal with it until we beg for a day one patch.

It’s still great.

Even with the bugs, it’s so hard not to want to hug 343 for making Halo feel like a completely fresh experience once again. While it seems they toyed with continuing down the Call Of Duty road, they’ve also left in the overall feeling of being a super human Spartan that can take a bullet. Even if it’s not as much as before.

Boy, does this game have quite the learning curve. I’ve naturally been able to pick up every Halo game been fairly decent at. Admittedly, not incredible, but not enough to feel embarrassed for myself. I played about 7 games and it took at least 4 to understand the difference in rhythm, and 2 more games to produce a positive kill/death ratio. Although they may not sound like much to you, it’s absolutely absurd for me.

Mmm sexy BR is sexy.

Mmm sexy BR is sexy.

It’s Halo. But it’s not.

Anyone with eyes or ears could tell you this is Halo within seconds. Visually, it’s every bit as stunning as every release was in the past. Coming from a new generation of consoles it’s not as graphically comparable to Halo 4 like Halo 2 was to Halo CE, but you’ll be pretty impressed with every texture and every light source (even if it blinds you along the way – that’s a glare joke – you’ll see!).

However, the mechanics will throw even the most veteran Halo player for a loop. While it was obvious that Halo 4 was meant to be played aggressively offensive such as a Call Of Duty; Guardians feels like it’s meant to be even more defensive than previous titles, even though you’re given sprint, a thruster pack, ADS, and some sort of short lived jetpack (which is all built into the default loadout).

It’s good that they abandoned the load-outs and Spartan abilities, but throwing them all in at once was a little confusing. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve always been an aggressive Halo player and  I can not get a single kill unless playing defensively – even with the onslaught of tools available.

While the few have always been defensive Halo players, I doubt they will have as much of a learning curve, until they see someone do a “ground pound” and can’t figure it out for the life of them (amateur tip: crouch will jumping).

This map isn't in the beta! Right? I'm mad about it too!

This map isn’t in the beta! Right? I’m mad about it too!

Again, it’s a beta.

Overall, it’s hard to classify Guardians so far. It’s not Call Of Duty. But it’s not Halo 5. We’ve ventured into some sort of alternate Halo reality where the series is the only FPS game on the market and a lot more development risks were taken.

I’m writing this, trying not to build a list of things to fix; and you shouldn’t either. If you’re willing to give constructive criticism you should be posting on Halo Waypoint, since it is still a beta (did you hear that – BETA). If you’re just going to complain, you’re going to do the Halo community no good. Which is why it seems like 343 isn’t listening to us anymore. All they see is complaints, and not ideas to fix them.

Obviously, there’s a few things that do not belong and need to be removed. Such as the glitchy kill cam that ruins the rhythm of every match, head hitboxes in the waist area, and an over burden of medals being unlocked for each kill. But you shouldn’t focus on that since it’s already such a high demand topic. Ignore the obvious and enjoy the game. After, it’s pretty enjoyable.

So.. Play it?

You’re damn straight! My opinion shouldn’t stop you from playing it yourself. There’s many people who afraid of “new” but they really shouldn’t be. Halo 5 Guardians has some serious potential to bring back competitive gaming. While casual FPS players are being forgotten about, I find it odd that anyone could play such a competitive sport and just want to not be shot at.