So, being a new-found Xbox gamer [shudder] after years of loyalty to my ps3, I found it incumbent that I finally taste the long forbidden, flood-filled fruit of the Halo series, and, as luck would have it, I was just in time for the release of 343’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I’ve played through all four games and I have to say, I really do now understand why this is such an acclaimed and well renowned series, and why people would buy an Xbox solely to make it palpable. And the journey’s far from over; as mentioned in the end credits of Halo 4, 343’s here to stay. Let’s take a look at some thoughts regarding Halo 5.
Is 343 better than Bungie?
A scary question, but an exciting one. Considering all we have to judge on 343’s part are Halo 4, Halo: TMCC and the new Halo 5 beta, I have to say, 343’s avant-garde approach is really quite impressive. They took a leap as large as could be with Halo 4 by adding an entirely new race to the series, and actually pulled it off. The Promethean were so different to anything we’ve ever seen, in terms of design and combat style. The weapons that suspend their components in mid air, the Promethean watchers, those relentless crawlers, all exhibit 343’s creativity and merit where it wasn’t asked for, which is a very, very good sign. And their prowess is no longer bound to singleplayer, I’ve heard a lot of good changes implemented for the Halo 5 multiplayer beta, including the new ability to, for the first time, aim down sights. And, considering the decrepit direction Bungie is taking, we can only assume that 343 are the safest hands fathomable. Destiny’s crucible mode (Destiny’s only merit, let’s face it) is rival in quality to the new beta, so it is perfectly reasonable to say that 343 outclasses Bungie at their own game…in every aspect, both single and multiplayer. Whether Halo 4 outclassed Halo 2’s story is debatable, but, come on…Destiny’s story was hardly BAFTA winning stuff. Razzie winning, perhaps.
Where is this ship going?
Halo 4 created a new story branch which was entertaining in and of itself, and it also hinted at new themes for the game to explore. Will Chief continue to disobey authority, and become a one-man army, even go as far as befriending the covenant? In Halo 3, Chief’s sanity could only be consoled by the rescue of Cortana, but now she’s gone forever will he go insane? It’s perfectly clear from the trailers that Chief is downright AWOL, but where? These questions, mixed with the competent, relationship building dialogue between Cortana and Chief we’ve seen in Halo 4 (For example, Cortana poses an interesting question, Is Chief more machine or Her? And it furthers this question by producing information on Chief’s past, his creation. But it then battles this notion of Chief being a machine man by showing that he has emotion and independent needs), alongside the possibility of intertwining timelines, allows room for the best narrative we’ve seen yet.
Remember when Halo 3 came out on the Xbox 360, and everyone was screaming “OH MY GAWD! THESE GRAPHICS! OH GAWD!”? Well, on the gamer’s calendar, a new millennia has turned, bringing the beefed up bull that is the Xbox One. This allows for faster frames, better resolution textures, and colossal bosses as tall as…well, taller than the scarabs. A question I ask myself, however, is…does it really help that much? You can still play games like Far Cry 4 the same on platforms old and new, and considering that colossal creatures could be rendered as early as the days of ps2 in Shadow of the Colossus, were there any real limits in the first place? We’ve seen the vast landscapes and big budget, explosive set pieces that Halo has already offered, so I doubt they will face hardships rendering their imagination onto the Xbox One, but simultaneously I doubt they ever have.
Those were just some thoughts I have on Halo 5. What about you? Are you looking forward to 343’s next endeavour, or will they never match Bungie’s best hits?