Halo 5 hands-on preview (Gamescom)

Halo 5 has a lot to live up to. pinion was divided on 343’s first foray into the series with Halo 4 (for what it’s worth we loved their take on it) and now they’re making even more significant changes to the series with Halo 5. At Gamescom we got a chance at the Xbox Fanfest to sit down to a long game of Warzone.

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Warzone is a huge 12 v 12 battle that includes AI enemies as well as human opponents. The idea is that you capture parts of the map for your team, allowing you to gather energy and levels. You can then spend your energy on weapons and vehicles depending on what level your team is. If you have six energy built up you can call in mechs and spartan lasers, or you can choose to keep spending small amounts to get things like shotguns and warthogs. Throughout the match enemies spawn and killing them gets more points for your team. Some of these enemies are special named leaders who are normally much stronger, killing these gives you a significant boost to your score.

This feels unlike anything else we’ve seen in Halo. While Big Team Battle occasionally had its epic moments, you were all usually focusing on a single, or perhaps two, objectives. In Warzone your team naturally splits off into groups to try and manage lots of different goals at once. Some might move up to defend the buildings you’ve taken (you get supported by AI for your team). Some will go on to try and capture territory from the enemy. Some will go hunting for the named NPCs. Teamwork would be a huge boost, so playing with strangers (half of whom spoke German) made this a little difficult. It’ll be interesting to see how this mode takes off, but for now it’s the best way to see some large-scale action in the game.

In many ways the game still feels like Halo. Despite the ability to look down the sights a little with left Trigger and the sprinting, fights tend to play out in a very familiar way. Looking down your sights doesn’t improve your accuracy so it’s just as good to keep running and picking people off from a distance without a scope. Powerful weapons like Sniper Rifles and Rocket Launchers are still things to be feared. Vehicles are a little weaker now that anyone an go grab an anti-vehicle weapon from an armoury or when they respawn, but doing well in a Banshee feels great.

The game was happily running with a stable framerate and some gorgeous graphics, which is how it should be this close to release. Having our single game definitely hyped us up for release and we can’t wait to review the game when it launches in late October

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