Halo 5: Guardians’ campaign has been a mystery until now. After the epic dual perspective trailer that first aired during an episode of The Walking Dead, it wasn’t clear if Master Chief was the bad guy, or just a misunderstood hero, but thanks to a closed door meeting with 343, I now have a much clearer picture on what Halo 5’s narrative will be about.
In Halo 5, players will control two separate fire teams throughout the expansive campaign. Master Chief’s Blue squad, which is made up of his surrogate brothers and sisters from the Spartan II program (Linda, Fred, and Kelly) makes up one of the fire teams, while Locke’s Osiris squad (Buck — yes Nathan Fillion’s character from Halo: ODST, who is now a Spartan — Vale, and Tanaka) makes up the other. One of my biggest questions going into this meeting was, “Why in God’s name is Master Chief being hunted?,” but that has now been answered.
Apparently, during one of Blue Team’s missions they come across a signal that they investigate by going AWOL from the UNSC. Due to this rogue action, Locke’s Osiris squad is dispatched to “hunt” them down and figure out what caused the greatest Spartan of all-time to go off the reservation. To help track him down the Osiris squad has the Artemis system, which can scan the environment for clues in regards to the Chief’s whereabouts. In the segment we saw, the Artemis system revealed a UNSC battle rifle that Osiris squad deemed to be used by Master Chief, which in turn clues them into his location and sets them off on their next hunt.
Just this information alone put my mind at ease in regards to Halo 5’s narrative. As a long time fan, it was hard to even imagine that the Chief did something wrong to the point of being hunted. Knowing that he and his former badass Spartan II’s are on a mission to discover what entity is secretly calling them to it — which in turn causes them to go rogue — helps to clear the plot up immensely. I love the whole conundrum that this scenario presents, which essentially creates a similar campaign structure to Halo 2 in regards to its alternating mission perspectives between the Chief and the Arbiter. 343 wouldn’t reveal if players would have to make a final choice that leads to the fate of Locke’s team, or Chief’s team, but it’s clear that the old and new Spartans will go head to head over a mysterious signal that the Chief and his team felt important enough to break UNSC protocol and become hunted.
The Halo 5 narrative definitely feels very deep and engaging, which is complimented by the game’s impressive visuals and new campaign mechanics. Visually, Halo 5 is stunning, both in terms of its gameplay and cinematics, which happen to be rendered using the in-game engine. The cutscene we were shown from the second mission titled, “Blue,” was enough to make even a casual Halo player let out a screech of pure joy. It embodied the badassness of the Master Chief and his fellow Spartan IIs, and it’s only a sliver of things to come.
Mechanically, the Halo 5 campaign will be unlike any other Halo campaign to date thanks to the use of the two previously mentioned fire teams. Players can now control their AI team members through an orders system, which allows them to command attack points, or revive fallen team members. Drop in/Drop out functionality is supported, so human players can take over the AI controlled team members at any time without disrupting gameplay. While we didn’t get to see these new mechanics in action, they definitely reminded me of a Ghost Recon game, albeit in a much faster manner.
Halo 5: Guardians is shaping up to offer one of the most expansive campaigns, as well as the most intriguing Halo narrative to date. I can’t wait to see what causes the Chief and his team to break rank, and if Locke and his Osiris squad will actually stop them, or potentially aid them in their search. The ability to command fire teams is a first for a Halo game, but it makes complete sense when you consider that the game is centered around two squads of Spartans. There’s no doubt that this will be one of the biggest games of 2015, and it has potential to be a revolutionary Halo experience, so make sure to get your copy of Halo 5 reserved today so you can experience the latest, most innovative Halo experience to date.
On a side note, I also got to see the Collector’s edition statue that will be offered for $249.99, and I can tell you that it’s definitely awesome enough to justify the heft price if you’re a Halo fan, or collectibles junky.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”