Halo 5 Guardians will feature an Online Multiplayer Beta later this year. All copies of the upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include the beta to Halo 5 within the Extras Menu. The Master Chief Collection releases this November.
As if Halo: The Master Chief Collection wasn’t bursting with goodness already, the Christmas period bought something extra that Halo fans would find unmissable: access to a limited beta of Halo 5’s multiplayer. It’s a glimpse of the Halo we should be playing towards the end of 2015, with a weekly programme of maps, modes and challenges. We’re now into the second week with another week to go, and it’s already clear that Halo 5 multiplayer sees some major changes from Halo 4, not just in terms of what has been added, but also in terms of what has been taken away.
Let’s get the most significant changes out of the way. For the first time Halo 5 has a Call-of-Duty aim-down-sights view when you squeeze the left trigger, though 343 Industries describes it as a ‘smart scope’. It works across all weapons though the degree of zoom and narrowing of vision differs according to the weapon type and sights, so that those weapons with the biggest zoom also have the most limiting effects on vision.
At first it feels alien, like a chunk of Call of Duty grafted onto Halo multiplayer, but with time you realise that some serious thought has gone into smart scope and how it’s used. Zooming in lessens the spread of bullets, making your fire more accurate at distance, but you need to work out whether the benefits outweigh the loss of vision and response time when an enemy appears at mid to close-range. Use smart scope all the time and it will simply get you killed, but learn how to use it when it works and fire from the hip when it doesn’t and you’ll find that it enhances your long-range capabilities without compromising your chances at close quarters.
I will admit that my days of competitive shooter play are mostly behind me. I’ll be lucky if I can ever crawl my K/D ratio back up to even after a rocky start, and chances are all the college buddies I used to play Halo 3 with are now too busy with jobs and families to join me when the game is released. But I do know that I felt something tick in my brain that made me feel like I was really playing the kind of Halo I loved again, something I never felt with 4 or Reach. 343 has turned back time and so far, seems to have brought the series back to something vaguely resembling its golden age. Again, it’s too early to make a full judgment, but so far so good, and I’m curious to see more.