As part of the Halo 5 preview period, press are allowed to share with their readers their thoughts on the first 3 levels of the Halo 5 campaign. While that’s not a whole lot of content to work with, it’s a good cross section of what you’ll be seeing throughout the remaining 10 or so chapters that make up its entirety.
Caution May Contain Spoilers
Your first missions will introduce you to your respective squads. Each squad is made up of 3 additional Spartans that can be commanded using he D-pad, or left to follow your lead. Either way, they are a welcome addition during most fights, and actually do a pretty good job of holding their own against the covenant and Prometheans alike.
One of the areas where your squad mates really shine is when you or another teammate need a revival. You see, you don’t just die straight away when your life bar hits 0, you’ll be knocked prone for several seconds during which a teammate can revive you. When you get disabled you can call out for an AI ally for a quick revive making death almost completely unavoidable except for the toughest fights.
Speaking of the squads, they only really differ when it comes to aesthetics. Master Chiefs squad is made up of the original Spartans, some of which you may find familiar if you’ve read the books or followed along with the lore on one of the Halo Wiki sites.
Locke’s platoon is all new and thus gets a little more screen time than the Chiefs squad. There are several fairly high profile voice actors they’re modelled and voiced by, at least one of which you will probably recognize right off the bat.
The first three missions do a good job of setting the scene for the upcoming race around the galaxy, and a lot of what transpired between the events of Halo 4 is covered in a few quick cut scenes. All is not well with the hero of humanity, but are his motives really what they seem to be.
I’m not sure whether it was the normal difficulty setting or the fact that I now had 4 other Spartans behind me, but combat felt a lot faster than the previous halo titles. Enemies go down with little to no fuss, allowing you to quickly fight your way through swaths of the map.
You’d think this is a bad thing but it actually makes it feel like you are racing against the clock throughout each level campaign. Plus it seems like they made up for the toughness of enemies by throwing more of them at you, so it balances out in the end.
If the first three levels are any indication, there will be a lot of secrets to uncover in Halo 5. Each story mission started with a summary of the hidden datapads and skulls located in the mission, with the average being at least 1 skull and 6-10 datapads. Pair that with the increased size and number of hidden crevices in each level and you may find yourself scouring the place for hours.
Luckily you’ve got a handy tool for locating datapads tied right to your D-Pad. Push right on the D-pad to send out a “radar pulse”. If there’s a datapad within range you’ll receive an auditory ding, plus you’ll be able to see a response pulse be emitted from the datapad itself. It’s a handy tool that I only found on mission 3 that makes finding these secrets a whole lot easier.
It may have been the Halo nostalgia hitting me after so long without playing the game, but the first three missions had me right back into the Halo universe straight away. Hopefully the following levels can keep me locked in until the finale.
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