Best Games of 2015: Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5 remains one of the best shooters on the market
Regardless of how you feel about Halo now being in the hands of MIcrosoft's in-house studio 343 Industries, there's no denying the franchise remains a staple in the Xbox catalog. As one of the console's most prized franchises, the hype surrounding the release of a new Halo goes almost unmatched. Unfortunately, that hype sometimes leads to some lofty expectations, especially from the die hard fans who've been with Master Chief from the beginning.
343 Industries took some bold steps to push the franchise forward with Halo 5. Although it wasn't all met with welcomed enthusiasm from the fanbase, there's a lot to be said about the studio's approach to an aging franchise. Yes, Halo, as a franchise, remains as popular as ever; but, to stay at the top, you've got to keep up with the times. To that end, 343 Industries deserves some credit in their bold attempts to modernize the franchise.
For starters, Halo 5: Guardians marks the first time you play the campaign as a character other than Master Chief. Although there's room for improvement with newcomer Agent Jameson Locke along with the both his and Master Chief's squadmates, it was interesting to hear the stories of others in this massive universe. Admittedly, the story and some of its side characters are a bit lackluster; but, I personally enjoyed the adventure, even if it didn't resonate with everyone.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Halo 5 remains one of the best shooters on the market. From the single player campaign to the robust multiplayer, Halo's mechanics have always been stellar. 343 Industries improved upon them with some slight modifications that modernize the feel.
The main draw of Halo 5's multiplayer is Warzone, an ambitious take on Big Team Battle (though that mode has also been added post-launch) that supports 24-player battles with both friendly and enemy AI constantly dropping in to mix up this objective-based competitive experience. Of course, Halo's more traditional multiplayer modes can also be found in the classic Arena portion of multiplayer.
Not all of the changes 343 Industries made with Halo 5 have been welcomed by the community, but we praise their attempts at modernizing one of Xbox's signature franchises.