Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Hate Change - Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta Ryview

Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta, by 343 Industries.

Have you played the Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta?

In a not-unrelated question, have you thrown any heavy objects at your television lately?

If you answered the first question with a "yes", I'm guessing your answer was the same for question number two.

Now, I'm not going to say it's awful, or bad in an objective sense. I think it's a tremendous step forward in gameplay and I'll probably get used to it eventually. But right now, it's really making me reconsider my love for Halo.

First off, the Beta started like the MCC; it was riddled with matchmaking problems from day one. I don't think it was very widespread, but I wasn't able to log on to play a game for several days after it opened, and even then I wasn't able to reliably find a match or even play with splitscreen (still haven't, but I stopped trying, to be fair). Now I've played a fair bit of matches, but the connectivity is spotty at best and at least 25% of my games have had some serious lag problems.

Halo: Like You've Probably Played It Before

But that will probably be worked out before the release, so I'm not going to spend any more time whining about the fact that their servers and/or the internet aren't perfect. What I will whine about is how different this game feels. While it's not necessarily a bad experience, it's definitely not Halo. I feels completely foreign to a fervent Halo fan like myself because they started modeling the gameplay off of other successful FPS franchises. It feels like some unholy mashup of Halo, Destiny, Call of Duty, and who knows what else.

To be fair, I'm using the default controls, which I didn't do in previous games (Recon), but the default changing so radically is indicative of the gameplay at large. Zoom is now handled through the left bumper, which mirrors pretty much every other FPS on the planet, and it was a source of contention when I went back and forth between the MCC and Destiny, but it still doesn't feel like Halo with grenades on the trigger.

And all the movement actions now make the game feel much too shaky. You have a dash melee, you have a wall clamber, you have some strange ground strike thing when you jump. And it's all so strange. It's like a completely new game.

Everything just feels so upside down...

Now, I do think I'll warm up to these new traits in a campaign. But with high stress, high speed action that is Halo Multiplayer I have no time to test these moves out, so it's just a frustrating shitstorm of having no idea what the hell I'm doing when I jump.

The gun movement is also now completely overhauled. There's a smart zoom thingy, or whatever they call it, where pretty much all guns have a little bit of zoom capability, and all the guns have a fluid draw move to get there from the hip. It's really nice looking, and it feels real, but it doesn't feel like Halo.

And that brings me to the main point I'm making. This is a cool shooter with some fun guns and some shiny Spartans to shoot at. But it doesn't feel like Halo at all. It feels like a completely new game. And the industry would be nowhere without innovation and change. I get that. But there's such as thing as too radical a difference. I'm sure people said that when Mario and Link went 3D, don't get me wrong, I know I'll probably be loving this new Halo scheme a year from now. But right now, it just feels so wrong, it's a shock. And not a pleasant one.

Wipe that smug smile off your face, Mario!

I must say, I give great props to 343 for their moxy. And their marketing planning. Release Halo 4, very similar to the previous titles, get their feet wet, then they start really doing their own thing to separate themselves from Bungie. Good move to wait a round before shocking everyone with the new stuff.

But guess what? The new Halo 5 controls feel a lot like Destiny to me, so...

Let me know what you think of the Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta!

Until next time,


Images courtesy of Wikipedia except where sourced
[1] http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/59/590x/Halo-5-Guardians-535141.jpg

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