Halo 5 Guardians: Warzone Review
After a few dozen matches of the new Multiplayer mode Warzone for Halo 5 i can honestly say I’ve been won over. Initially i wasn’t a fan of Warzone, it was hampered by dull level design poor balance and an overly complicated req system. I struggled with the play style for Warzone i was never sure whether i should play offence or defensively often falling somewhere in the middle. Another key problem in the early games was the addition of up to 11 total idiots on my team that simply refused to play the objective. This is still a problem in most games but the majority of players now know how the game works it flows so much better. Games swing between manic rushes to capture objective to, defending in an instant and the addition of the AI bosses a match that can appear to be lost can be salvaged in one swoop. There is little more satisfying than stealing the last hit on a Legendary boss and swinging the match in your teams favour it feels cheap when you’re on the receiving end but if you’re the one firing that shot it’s awesome.
The 3 maps that shipped with the game also grow on you and whilst that number may seem very low the matches are less about the maps and more about the chaos that ensues. The maps serve as little more than sandboxes with a couple of bases and a few spawn points the real magic happens when the teams come together fighting to capture an objective or kill a boss. That’s the real magic ingredient Halo always had, that killer hook that kept you coming back for just 1 more game. Sure the Req system is deep and offers real character progression but instead of feeling like you play only to unlock other items i always went back because i just had so much fun. For player that like to whore kills or players that play the objective you are totally catered for.
Map balance is spot on with the largely symmetrical maps that well located bases with multiple entry points to prevent teams getting locked out and well placed choke points that funnel players together for those chaotic fire-fights. Long range weapons especially the Battle Rifle are devastating in skilled hands as keeping the enemy team away from your bases really is the key to tying the enemy team up and keeping them on respawn. Of course the other team can change focus and attack the bosses that spawn throughout the match and can add up to 150 points when killed. I’ve had games where we’ve been getting hammered and as a team we have focused on a legendary boss and ended up closing the gap and winning the match. You’re never really out of the fight and that is a liberating experience for a modern shooter.
Back to that req system yes it’s very complicated to read and look at but in action it’s not that badly designed and does a decent job of keeping things balanced. Yes the players with the most game time will have more req cards available to use but having to level up your Req energy stops them players spamming the best gear and vehicles. The Req system gives you an option to match your loadout to the current requirements which can be calling in a mongoose to get behind the enemy or a Tank to blast them off the map. Coordinate your Req’s with your team mates and you can use it to dominate the battle space but the other team will be able to counter and that is the beauty of it.
As with the other modes it’s been a pretty stable first few weeks with very few issues to note. Load times are low and as the servers are heavily populated finding a full game is typically very quick. New maps will of course be added and as 343 have stated they will all be free which is rather good of them. So long as the servers stay populated with a large enough pool of Players Warzone could become a staple of the Halo canon. It compliments the Arena mode really well and as it evolves over the coming months those niggles will no doubt be resolved. Warzone maybe new to Halo but it feels like a perfect fit and nothing at all like the shallow Titanfall clone it may have first appeared.
It’s been a blast so far!