Halo 5 Warzone Compels You to Pick Your Battles at E3 2015
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Halo 5: Guardians' Warzone multiplayer mode is a worthy test of one's focus and ability to adapt. Whether influenced by the growing popularity of online battle arenas or not, 343 Industries knew that it's not enough for Halo 5 to rely solely on a traditional suite of familiar and novelty modes. Warzone hones in on the appeal of multi-phase adversarial combat, something that the Battlefield series has utilized for years.
Warzone marks a notable, albeit unsurprising change for the series and, more importantly, a change that complements the foundation of Halo's long-revered multiplayer. The match I played started off simply enough: liberate a UNSC base from Promethean occupation. I haven't faced off against these bio-mechanical-ethereal warriors since the release of Halo 4 so it's refreshing to once again disintegrate these foes into fading glimmers of light. With the base cleaned out and some initial kills under the belt, my team and I were on our way to unlocking the weapons and vehicles that weren't immediately available at the start of the battle. It's typical in-match progression rewards.
The next phase was to take over three neutral outposts, which is also when you clash against human opposition. A PvE skirmish then becomes a PvE-PvP hybrid match. This essentially turns the battle into a Conquest mode. By now, I managed to earn access to my preferred field weapon: the sniper rifle. I complemented this upgrade by summoning a Covenant Ghost from my base's garage. While not the most potent armed transport available, I was in the mood for its speed and maneuverability. Being able to run over a couple opponents is a welcome bonus.
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With each of the three outposts claimed, the third and final phase of the match started: boss fights. Conquest-style matches have enough to keep you busy, whether it's defending your outpost or going rogue on a vindictive kill streak. You're doing whatever you can to help your team reach the score goal; in this match's case, it’s 1000 points. The bosses range from flying vehicles to hulking beasts inspired by Halo's Brutes. Defeating any of these can result in a lead change, even more so if you can also take over all three previously-neutral outposts. Again, you've never short of goals. Would you be most useful focusing on one objective or should you spread your contributions evenly throughout the map?
The Halo franchise was born out of a single-player campaign, but it matured thanks to its multiplayer. With over a decade's worth of competitive modes in Halo, Warzone is a promising addition to multiplayer, especially for those who find Slayer too straightforward.