Halo 5: Guardians

Locke and load

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased out now! Re­viewed on Xbox one

Pub­lisher Mi­crosoft

With Master Chief AWOL shortly af­ter the events of Halo 4, it’s the job of Fireteam Osiris to track him down. You con­trol two sep­a­rate he­roes: Jame­son Locke, leader of Fireteam Osiris, and Master Chief him­self, who com­mands Blue Team on the hunt for rogue AI Cor­tana, who is… not quite her­self. Both teams con­sist of four Spar­tan su­per sol­diers, lead­ing nat­u­rally to some (as-yet untested by us) four-player on­line-only cam­paign co-op and a well-bal­anced AI squad op­er­a­tion.

On nor­mal dif­fi­culty they take care of them­selves well, pro­vid­ing sup­press­ing fire as well as dis­trac­tion. On heroic or leg­endary dif­fi­cul­ties, how­ever, squad com­mands of­fer an ex­tra level of con­trol. Wide, tall maps fa­cil­i­tate team play, filled with spe­cial walls that can be bro­ken through. You can even tell team-mates which ve­hi­cle to drive, which led us to a thrilling mo­ment in which our Warthog was be­ing pum­melled by en­croach­ing forces, only for backup to ar­rive on a Scor­pion Tank and blow them all away.

This the fastest Halo yet. Your move­ment is more ag­ile than ever, Spar­tans able to sprint in­def­i­nitely, slide on their knees, clam­ber up ledges, ram by per­form­ing a melee as they sprint, and briefly hover in the air if they aim while jump­ing. It’s al­most like sci-fi park­our – com­bat in con­stant mo­tion. 343 In­dus­tries re­ally have skir­mishes down to a fine art, lay­er­ing up dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of weapons and en­e­mies like a deca­dent tri­fle. No sec­tion out­stays its wel­come, with a con­stant pro­ces­sion of new ex­pe­ri­ences that refuse to be any­thing other than supremely fun.

And while re­turn­ing play­ers will have some idea of what to ex­pect – the Warthog sec­tion, the fly­ing level, the mini­boss arena, the bit where a wave of small weak en­e­mies charge and you one-shot them Doom-style – there are sur­prises in store. It’s pleas­ingly fa­mil­iar, yet with enough new fea­tures to feel fresh. Let’s hope the on­line is as bril­liant as it should be – when we fi­nally get to play it… Ben Grif­fin

Fire­fly’s Nathan Fil­lion reprises his Halo role as Gun­nery Sergeant Ed­ward Buck, who’s part of Fireteam Osiris.

Your move­ment is more ag­ile than ever

Time for the chicken dance.

“Space­ship space­ship SPACE­SHIP!”

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