Very light spoilers, but you should still proceed at your own risk.
Over the past 24 hours I’ve had the amazing opportunity to play the first three missions from the Halo 5: Guardians campaign, and so far they’ve been nothing short of stellar. I’ve enjoyed them so much I dared to claim that they may be the greatest opening missions to a Halo game of all-time.
One of the reasons for these particular missions being so memorable is the fact that the cutscenes set the tone for the game’s narrative, and actually begin to expose some of the mystery and intrigue that 343 has surround the game’s plot in. Going into Halo 5 all we really know is that Chief goes rogue, and that Agent Locke is sent to bring him in, but after the first 90 minutes of gameplay, many more details are exposed to help paint a better picture of what may actually happen.
A key figure early on is Dr. Halsey, who if you didn’t know is an ONI scientist responsible for creating Cortana and other UNSC AI, as well as the Spartan program. She was the lead when the UNSC conscripted young kids and performed experiments on them to make them into the Spartan II’s, which Master Chief, Kelly, Linda, and Fred were a part of, and the reason why they’re working together again in Halo 5 as the Blue Team. Anyway, the world finds out about Halsey’s experiments and other shady dealings, so she’s labeled a war criminal and kept under lock and key until after the events of Halo 4.
It’s this time period that is important to be familiar with to help explain a few of the early cutscenes you’ll encounter in Halo 5, and the Spartan Ops cinematics from Halo 4’s end game are the perfect videos to watch to get you caught up. In total there are 11 episodes, which are all very well done and at times may trick you into thinking you’re watching real actors, so they’re not a chore to get through. The important segments are the ones that involve Halsey and Jul’ Mdama, two key figures featured in Halo 5. Basically, Halsey ends up working with Jul, who thinks he’s the Didact’s Hand, and therefore wants access to the Forerunner technology that the Covenant races so desperately covet. Some things go down that carry over to Halo 5’s opening mission, one being the fact that Halsey loses an arm, a fact that I didn’t know until I saw her in Halo 5 and wondered what the hell had happened, which is why I myself went back and watched all of the Spartan Ops cinematics.
There’s another key scene that I believe will play a big role in Halo 5, and that’s the meeting between Halsey and the Librarian, which results in the human getting part of the Janus Key, which is a two part key that can unlock the locations of all of the Forerunner tech scattered throughout the galaxy. Obviously it’s very important, and probably one of the reasons for all of the Forerunner attacks taking place before Halo 5’s tale begins, and the meeting between these two reinforces the fact that the Forerunners, at least not the Didact, did want humans to assume the mantle as the protectors of the galaxy, and not the other alien races.
If you managed to miss the Spartan Ops cinematics, then you should definitely schedule about 50 minutes of time to watch the 11 episodes. They’re definitely entertaining, but more importantly they contain scenes that definitely play into Halo 5. You can download the episodes from Halo.Bungie.Org, or you can watch them on the Halo TV app on Xbox One. There’s also this YouTube video:
I wouldn’t say screening the Spartan Ops cutscenes are mandatory to enjoy Halo 5, but I do think they’ll help to get your mind in the right place to experience the mysterious plot, so make sure to check them out if you missed them before October 27.
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