Do you miss Firefight from Halo: ODST? Was the base-capturing action of Dominion in Halo 4’s multiplayer your dig? Then you’re probably going to be a fan of Warzone, Halo 5’s new dynamic 12 vs. 12 multiplayer mode.
For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Halo multiplayer game modes, the premise of both Firefight and Dominion are simple: In Firefight, you and a team of up to three other characters are tasked with taking out wave after wave of enemy units, earning points and requisitions along the way. In Dominion, teams of six are tasked with capturing a number of bases around the map. Own all three bases to force the opposing team into a final push. If all those players are killed, the game is won.
Warzone is the child of those two modes. Players are tasked with capturing enemy bases, earning points along the way that they can put toward special requisitions ranging from the familiar Boltshot to the freshly unveiled Plasma Caster. If the opposing team captures all of your team’s bases, the “core” of your home base is revealed. If it is destroyed, that team suffers defeat.
Simply gaining points will also lead your team to victory if capturing bases proves to be unprofitable. To aid in this approach, 343 added an A.I. element to the game—waves of Forerunner enemies, varying in strength in what seems to be a new caste system, will descend upon you and your opponents and fight without bias. Opposing teams also have special “boss” units, like the Soldier Enforcers, which will earn you extra points for successfully facing.
Overall, my initial impression of Halo 5 is that the gameplay is just a bit slower. In the build I played, some weapons have completely lost their luster in comparison to Halo 4. The once beloved Boltshot might even dethrone Halo 2’s pistol as being the most awful weapon in Halo now that it seems its charge-shot ability has been completely removed. Now, it’s just a three-shot burst.
That said, other weapons, like the Forerunner Repeater, get a much-needed damage and accuracy boost. Four shots seemed to take away an opponent’s shield, and just two or three more got me the kill. One of the new weapons, the Plasma Caster, is like a slower version of the Brute Shot from Halo 3 that fires Plasma Grenades. I had a lot of fun bouncing these shots off of walls and around corners to “stick” camping enemies.
A few other weapons of note: the Rocket Launcher (which should be familiar to long-time fans of the game) and Hydra Shooter (a new weapon that fires several slow-moving rockets) are powerful, but using them comes at the cost of speed.
When all is said and done, though, the multiplayer was a blast, and I wound up aching for more. Halo 5 multiplayer may be in need of some balancing, but the Warzone mode does what Halo has always done best: fun, objective based gameplay with lots and lots of people.