While my Xbox downloads the update for The Master Chief Collection, I figured it would be a good time to discuss the gameplay footage of the Halo 5 beta that was shown at HaloFest last night.

What was shown at HaloFest was a Team Slayer match on the remade version of Midship (I think it was called Truth). It was a match between Str8 Rippin and OpTic Gaming, so it was an intense match right to the finish, but that’s not the important part. The important part is all the new features that 343i added!

Before the match, 343i discussed what they thought it meant to be a Spartan. They described a Spartan as almost like a superhero, as someone who is big, powerful, but also very agile and quick on his/her feet. Sounds kind of like LeBron James, minus the flopping and the receding hairline, of course.

With that said, 343i added quite a few new abilities to your repertoire, and here are what these new Spartan Abilities are:

  • Thruster Pack: It is nearly identical to the Halo 4 Thruster Pack, so it provides quick movement when activated.
  • Ground Pound: Allows you to crush unsuspecting enemies below you while you are in the air.
  • Clamber: You can climb up a ledge if you need that extra boost up. Seems to replace the crouch jump.
  • Slide: Pressing the crouch button causes you to go into a slide, allowing you to get to cover more quickly.
  • Charge: A powerful melee that causes significant damage while you are sprinting.
  • Sprint: Pretty self-explanatory. You can run more quickly. However, sprinting causes your shields to not recharge, so sprint wisely.
  • Smart Scope: All weapons have a “zoom” feature now. It looks similar to traditional Aiming Down the Sights (ADS), but getting shot will descope you, and there are no movement penalties to zooming in. In addition, there is no accuracy penalty to hip-firing, so it just sounds like a revamped version of zooming in.

After watching the gameplay, I was really interested in these new abilities. They are all available to everyone, so they aren’t like Armor Abilities in that you can only choose one. Also, everyone will spawn with the same weapons as well. No more custom loadouts, at least in the beta. That being said, I am curious to try out the new Spartan Abilities. I’m not sure about the Smart Scope, especially since every weapon will have it, but I will reserve judgment until I try it out for myself.

Something else I noticed was that the weapons sounded weird. It may have been a hit indicator that tells you when your shots connected, but every time someone would shoot their gun, I would hear a “bleep” sound. It was pretty annoying, but I’m still not sure if that was the weapon itself, or a hit indicator. I noticed it more with the Battle Rifle and the DMR.

I am also curious about how the control scheme will work, since we will have a lot more abilities at our disposal. Hopefully, 343i has created a control scheme that is smooth, but also familiar.

To conclude, Halo 5’s beta looks really promising. 343i seems to have taken Halo’s core, which is even starts and arena gameplay, and built on it. I admit that I was a bit skeptical when I saw the leaked gameplay a few days ago, but seeing the actual gameplay and hearing 343i describe how they feel they balanced it has alleviated much of my skepticism. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m 100% on board with Halo 5’s changes. Again, I need to play the beta before I can really assess it fairly. However, rather than going into the beta with a pessimistic attitude, I’m going to go in with a much more optimistic attitude.

But remember: this will be a true beta in December. It is going to be out a year before the game’s release. This means that 343i will be looking for feedback of all kinds, rather than just stress-testing the servers and fixing any exploits or bugs. While you play the beta, be sure to give your feedback to 343i. Whether you go to the Waypoint forums, Reddit, Twitter, or anywhere that 343i will see it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will go back to sitting anxiously waiting for the MCC to finish updating. Waiting, waiting, waiting…

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