Halo 5: Guardians is loaded with a ton of new features, most of which are unlike previous games that came before it. To catch you up on all the new stuff, we've gathered everything you need to know about the upcoming game, from its story to its various single player and multiplayer modes.
Halo 5: Guardians features two protagonists: Master Chief and Spartan Agent Jameson Locke. Each are aided by their own squads, Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris respectively. As you play through the campaign, you'll switch perspectives between the two, slowly advancing each group's narrative.
Taking place shortly after the events of Halo 4, the game's story begins as a mysterious force, known as the Guardians, threaten the galaxy. In the midst of this, the legendary Master Chief has gone missing, causing his loyalty to be questioned. A special unit lead by Agent Locke is then dispatched to track him down.
For a full rundown on all the story leading up to Halo 5, check our primer detailing all the essential plot points you need to know.
New Mission Structures
Halo 5 sports more variety in mission structure this time around. While some are far grander in scale, throwing you into vast, open environments and battlefields with higher enemy counts, others are more focused on story and exploration.
Four Player Co-operative Campaign
Since both Master Chief and Agent Locke fight alongside their own team of elite Spartan squad-mates, the entire Halo 5: Guardians campaign can be played cooperatively by up to 4 players. Unlike previous games, Halo 5's co-op features cannot be played locally and will require an Xbox Live Gold membership to play.
Each playable squad member comes equipped with their own unique loadout and special statistics, such as movement speed, faster booster recharge rate, and health and shield regeneration rates.
Smart-Link Aiming System
This new aiming system allows players to zoom in with any weapon, much like the iron sights function in many modern FPS. However, weapons that already have scopes, such as the Battle Rifle or traditional sniper rifle, will function just like they did before.
It's important to note that if you get shot while using Smart-Link aiming or a rifle scope, you'll be instantly removed from that sight state. This is a vital new mechanic to consider, especially for suppressing enemies with sniper rifles, who may be readying their scope to fire shots at you and your team.
Player mobility has been overhauled in Halo 5, allowing you to use a thruster pack (which allows omnidirectional movement), vault ledges, slide on the ground while shooting, strike the ground to create a shockwave, and make a rapid dash to take cover or bash an enemy. Slide and charge abilities are executed as a character's sprint reaches top speed. You can also hover in mid-air for a short amount of time, via Smart-Link aiming while jumping.
Requisition System (REQ System)
The REQ system rewards players for spending time in multiplayer. As you complete matches, you're given points, which can be used to purchase packs containing REQ cards that come in the form of unlockable weapons, armors, vehicles, ability improvements, points boosts, etc. There are over a thousand different REQ cards available to collect.
The system is also prominently featured in the new Warzone mode (detailed below), where you can use stations scattered across the map to equip REQ packs in your possession or purchase new ones. Only weapon, vehicle, and ability improvement cards can be used during Warzone mode. Points boosts can be used before Warzone and Arena modes.
New Mode - Warzone
Halo 5 contains a brand new MOBA-inspired multiplayer mode called Warzone, which is a 24-player battle that combines elements of PvP and PvE. It features two teams of 12-players fighting on a massive map, alongside both friendly and enemy AI. The main goal of this mode is for a team to earn 1,000 victory points, which are earned by killing opposing players, defeating AI minions and bosses, or capturing enemy bases on the map. A team can also win by destroying the opposing side's core. You can find more details and impressions in the video below. Typical Warzone matches can last up to 30 minutes.
If the new Warzone mode isn't your cup of tea, Halo 5 will also include a 4v4 Arena mode that follows the traditional multiplayer structure seen in classic Halo games. Arena mode contains the following game types: Breakout, Strongholds, Slayer, and Capture the Flag.
- Breakout - This game type has teams clashing against each other to be the first to win five rounds. Players only have one life per round and weaker shields, making it much easier to die. A round ends when all members of a team have been eliminated.
- Slayer - Players need only accomplish one thing in this Team Deathmatch game type: kill as many of the opposing team as possible before time runs out. It's worth noting that variants return here. For example, the fan-favorite SWAT has its own official playlist.
- Strongholds - This game type requires a team to capture and remain in control of three static zones on a map. The first to reach 100 points wins. it's important to note that a team can only start scoring points when they've controlled at least two zones.
- Capture the Flag - Series veterans will know this classic game type all too well. In order to win, a team must capture the opposing team's flag and bring it back to their homebase.
New Forge Mode
Halo's Forge mode, a custom multiplayer map editor, is set to make a return in Halo 5: Guardians as a post-release update in December. It features over 1,600 objects to customize maps with and a laundry list of improvements over previous iterations, such as multi-select/edit, new object types, improved control scheme, and more. You can find a full list of what's changed here.