343 Industries has granted unto Halo 5: Guardians a brand new multiplayer mode, and it’s probably the best the series has ever received.
Warzone takes the classic Node mode from Unreal Tournament 3 and adds a series of layers to make it more compelling than anything you have ever experienced in Halo.
Having spent some time with the newfangled mode at a recent preview event, I found myself really enjoying it.
Feeling like more than a simple addition, Warzone has substance to it and left me wanting more.
In Warzone, you have but one objective, win the match by racking up a set number of points. The way you go about earning those points for your team is completely up to you.
You earn points by eliminating members of the other team, taking control over critical points on the map, and killing “bosses” that spawn throughout the area.
It’s really up to you, and Warzone tries to incentivize whatever route you feel best for the team, be it the good ol’ Battlefield “Conquest” approach of killing as many enemies and controlling as many points as possible, or by unlocking your opponent’s core and ultimate destroying it.
The core, by the way, is unlocked by controlling all of the required control points; this is where the Node mode distinction comes in. And much like Node, it instantly wins you the match.
That said, there’s more to Warzone than that.
As you play through a match, you’ll level up your rank by killing opponents or slaying spawned bosses and earning experience in return.
Experience is used to level up your team’s overall rank; the rank system being perhaps the most crucial aspect of Halo 5: Guardians’ Warzone, as it will allow you to obtain better REQ cards.
REQ cards can be redeemed at REQ stations. Each REQ represents a certain weapon, stats boost or vehicle. The higher the REQ ability, the more REQ points you will need to use it.
You gain more REQ points by levelling up your rank, i.e. killing bosses and other players. And there are a number of them to earn too, from common to rare and even ultra-rare REQ cards.
Like with much of 343 Industries’ efforts, they’re shooting for balance and competitive play, so don’t expect to keep earned vehicles and weapons between matches. You can buy REQs after matches, but they’re only good for a single use.
At the start of each match, you’ll find yourself using the same weapons as everyone else, but that will change as you progress or use earned REQs.
Near the end of an average match, for example, I found myself in a missile and Gatling cannon equipped walker tank.
Some of the more effective weapons and vehicles are certainly worth saving up points for, but be careful about how you use them as it will take an effort to re-earn those points should you lose it without making a contribution to your team.
And that’s what makes Warzone so enjoyable; it’s all about risk/reward and offers a number of routes to accomplish your goals. In fact, even if you’re no good at PvP, accuracy and twitch shooting not really being your thing, you can capture objectives and defeat bosses instead.
These bosses are really powerful Covenant and Promethean neutrals that spawn at certain times. Sometimes there will be a few of them in one spot, and sometimes there will be one big boss that needs more than one player to take down.
Often, both teams will end up trying to kill the same boss, and it’ll be up to you whether you take on the opposing team or attempt to capture objectives while they’re distracted.
It’s up to you and your team how you approach each match. The perfect example of this comes from a particular match where we sucked the big one.
My team and I were struggling to take anyone down, so we opted for the boss route. After farming as many bosses as we could, we eventually won the match thanks to points earned.
Again it all comes down to your REQ collection. As you gain credits after each match, you can purchase packs with them that rank in different quantities. The most expensive pack will contain more cards, and you have a chance to get rare and ultra-rare REQs.
Keep in mind that REQ cards are good for a single use, so I advise only using them when you really require, particularly the rarer cards.
As a result of everything employed in the mode, I really enjoyed Warzone. It was about more than just slaying the other team and offered a lot of depth.
I know many of you are going to cringe at the thought, but Warzone feels a little like a MOBA inspired Halo.
My only major issue I had was that this mode is meant to be played with friends, so if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck with an uncooperative team, you are going to get trashed. Actually, it’s starting to sound a lot more like a MOBA.
Nevertheless, I love it. If anything, Warzone will be the main reason I go back to Halo 5: Guardians after I’ve the completed the campaign.
It’s a refreshing take on the traditional PvP we all know, and it merges a number of well implemented elements and ideas into something new and enjoyable.