Arguably one of the biggest games of the year, Halo 5: Guardians, has finally arrived. The game is undoubtedly going to be a massive seller for Microsoft, but whether the game experience itself lives up to the hype is a different story. The big-name gaming publications are weighing in on Master Chief’s latest adventure, and it looks like there’s some things to rejoice for and some things to be concerned about..
Over on Metacritic, Halo 5: Guardians has a score of 86 based on 38 reviews. There is one incredibly important aspect of the game that’s made reviewers hesitant to give a definitive review: the multiplayer. Some critics are still sussing out how it all fits together and if this is the definitive online experience.
Nonetheless, here is what critics are saying:
Polygon – 9/10 (provisional)
“Halo 5 feels like it knows its obligations. The campaign’s narrative is likely to prove controversial, though its biggest sin may be its familiarity. Otherwise, Halo 5 excels under the pressure, providing one of the most welcoming, competitive, balanced and fun games of the year — and providing my personal favorite Halo multiplayer since the series began.”
Giant Bomb – 4/5
“You’ll spot some rough edges and notice some omissions, but Halo 5 looks great, plays well, and has enough options to keep you coming back.”
Trusted Reviews – 8/10
“It’s superbly paced, endlessly spectacular and has some of the best set-pieces and moments of any Halo game. Yet for me it doesn’t reach the same dramatic heights of Halo 3 or Halo 4, and I can’t help feeling that the storyline doesn’t 100 per cent convince. It’s a game of immense shock and awe, laced with real humanity and humour, yet it can be clumsy and lacking in soul.
“The exceptional high points and brilliant multiplayer make it a must-play for just about anyone with an Xbox One, but it’s going to be a long time before we’ll know if 343 has made the right choices here or taken Halo down a path that’s best not travelled.”
Destructoid – 7/10
“If it weren’t for Warzone, Halo 5: Guardians would probably be somewhere on the lower end of the franchise spectrum for me. It’s still a fantastic and well-oiled machine, but the story falls flat, and the shift in gameplay mechanics result in the loss of some elements that made the series so unique in the first place. Still, if you’re looking to shoot some dudes online, Guardians is your huckleberry.”
IGN – Review in progress
“Where single-player has its successes and failures, Halo 5’s multiplayer is one big, sustained high point. The new headliner mode is Warzone, and what I’ve played so far has been so much fun and full of heaps of exciting tension that I could ignore the rest of the modes and be satisfied with Halo 5.”
Eurogamer – Review in progress
“Perhaps the most important thing to say about Halo 5’s campaign is it’s a substantial improvement on Halo 4’s campaign, which I’ve always maintained was a decent first effort from a new developer still finding its feet. Halo 5’s missions do not revolutionise the FPS genre, or even the Halo series, but they are a welcome return to form. For me, that’s good enough.”
Videogamer – Score pending
“As much as I couldn’t believe Microsoft would allow Halo to dwindle into mid-level exclusive territory, a near incessant noise from naysayers had got me slightly worried about Halo 5. I needn’t have been. Halo 5 Guardians is as slick and bombastic as an exclusive should be, hitting all the right notes in a campaign that is thrilling from end to end. Maybe I am a Halo fanboy. Maybe you should be too.”
Gamesradar – Campaign review only
“Halo 5 then. Not a bad game, but frustratingly one that succeeds despite its innovations, not because of them. An enjoyable campaign, but not a truly convincing one.”
God is a Geek – Score pending
“Halo 5 boasts the best campaign since Reach, mixing enormous, beautifully detailed environments with fast-paced, exciting combat across some of the most interesting and colourful locales 343 has ever produced. While the multiplayer needs to ferment a little to bring out its true flavours and the necessities of storytelling rob the campaign of some potentially stand-out set-pieces, this is still a huge, satisfying package that ticks every box on the list.”
Ars Technica – Come for the multiplayer, stay for the multiplayer.
“Currently, there’s still a lot of Halo 5 to love—and just about as much to raise our eyebrows at—but the multiplayer is the winner here. Even Warzone’s card-collecting gimmick hasn’t stopped us from loving the series’ biggest battles yet, while our experiences in Arena have ranged from solid, standard Spartan blasting to some of the most eye-bulging fun we’ve had dueling on Xbox Live in years.”