A solid campaign and wonderful competitive multiplayer sees 343 finally make its mark on Halo.
Where single-player has its successes and failures, Halo 5's multiplayer is one big, sustained high point.
The story campaign is a mild disappointment but the multiplayer is a bold reinvention of the Halo experience, that should keep the series fresh for years to come.
Not a bad game, but frustratingly one that succeeds despite its innovations, not because of them. An enjoyable campaign, but not a truly convincing one.
A strong new entry, but veteran players may feel like the series has moved away from some of its previously established pillars
Like Spartan Locke and his team, 343 is chasing after something bigger than itself, and with Halo 5: Guardians, it comes close. Now if only it could reach out its arm and take hold.
Halo 5 offers some of the best multiplayer the series has ever seen
Its best parts feel basic in all the best ways, both classic and modern at the same time. It never made good on the dream of seeing another more tragic, more complicated side of Master Chief, but years later, through endless updates and balance patches, it's made good on the promise of its multiplayer. Even if that were all that Halo 5 was, at this point that would still make it a very good game.
The campaign isn't the greatest, but multiplayer manages to succeed in the way it always has, with the addition of a fun and inventive new mode.
You'll spot some rough edges and notice some omissions, but Halo 5 looks great, plays well, and has enough options to keep you coming back.
The campaign mode hits some great highs over its somewhat short 15-mission span, but also occasionally suffers from a lack of variety, and some boss fights that feel disappointingly one-note. Halo 5: Guardians' strength is found in its PvP. Arena and Warzone offer two distinctly different flavors of action, and both are solid, very well designed, and a lot of fun to play. Ultimately, campaign is a good way to ease you into the game - but it's the PvP that delivers the best of what this game has to offer.
If it weren't for Warzone, Halo 5: Guardians would probably be somewhere on the lower end of the franchise's spectrum for me. It's still a fantastic and well-oiled machine, but the story falls flat, and the shift in gameplay mechanics result in the loss of some elements that made the series so unique in the first place. Still, if you're looking to shoot some dudes online, Guardians is your huckleberry.
As a series, Halo has been the one triple-A shooter that has fans for the story as well as the multiplayer. Depending on where you are on the spectrum between story and gameplay, you can take my grade up or down a half point. If you're looking for a frag-fest, plus all the enticements of the new Warzone mode, Halo 5 is a must-own. All the new abilities and maps are terrific. Those who care about the single-player campaign might not find the story to be as compelling but will appreciate the treatment of lore and production value. Either way, In the coming months, Halo 5: Guardians will undoubtedly have both supporters and detractors playing and commenting about it for years.
If you're growing tired of the franchise and were really hoping Microsoft and 343 would hold true to their promise to evolve the formula a bit, be wary that the newest stuff is where the game gets a bit shaky. However, if you've loved the Halo blueprint up to now and are looking for an updated current-gen version, there's more than enough here to offer a solid recommendation. It's not the best Halo game I've ever played, but it is good, delivering most of the Halo essentials without compromise.
Halo 5: Guardians is a massive game that we intend to keep playing for the foreseeable future. There are parts that let us down, particularly the story, but it's hard to feel too stung when there's just so much fun to be had. Halo 5 has a lot to prove and it seems fully capable of doing just that. It's a pleasure seeing the series in top form once again.
All told, Halo 5: Guardians is a smashing success. The campaign isn't the strongest of the series, but it's still a fun space opera romp, and its ending transforms the Halo universe completely.
Halo 5: Guardians isn't 343's first Halo game, but it's the first that really makes the series its own. This isn't a reflection of Bungie's efforts, or a remaster, or stage-setting. The studio has put its own identity on this Halo game with smart moves like a more identifiable story and a wider array of multiplayer options, along with increased polish like Guardians' incredible visual punch and impeccable multiplayer balance. For the first time since 343 took the mantle, I came away feeling that it was a change for the better.
The best Halo campaign since Reach, Guardians is a return to form - but more Chief next time, please, and less microtransactions.
Any worry that Halo might be in the wrong hands with 343 Industries has been wiped out by Halo 5: Guardians. Taking what works, removing what didn't, and refining nearly every aspect of the experience, Halo 5 is an immediate classic that is on par with its predecessors.
Halo 5 Guardians is as slick and bombastic as an exclusive should be, hitting all the right notes in a campaign that is thrilling from end to end.