What is up my friends! After getting some playtime with Strongholds, as well as trying out the new Forge maps, I wanted to share my thoughts on them! Let’s go!

First up, is Strongholds, the new objective game mode. It isn’t anything really that new or exciting. Basically, if you’ve played Territories from previous Halos, or Domination from Call of Duty, Strongholds is very similar to those. There are three “strongholds” on the map that can be captured for your team. The main difference between Strongholds and Territories or Domination is that in Strongholds, you must have at least two of the three strongholds captured in order for your team to score points. So, basically, it is Territories or Domination with a little bit of a twist. It is still quite fun, and there are a ton of momentum swings when one team takes two strongholds and then the other team takes two strongholds. I think Strongholds is a fun new game mode that will fit in nicely with Halo 5.

Now, onto the Forge maps. First, I’ll talk about Pegasus, the map that won the fan vote from last week. This is a screenshot of Pegasus.

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Pegasus

In my honest opinion, Pegasus sucks. It is downright awful. Each game comes down to whichever team can camp in the Upper Shelter portion of the map the longest. That area of the map, which is pictured above, is extremely well-fortified and it can be very difficult to get the enemy team out of there. It is also very easy to acquire both power weapons (Sniper Rifle and Rocket Launcher) from Upper Shelter.

Every game I’ve played on Pegasus went like this: One team gets to Upper Shelter and camps there until the other team gets them out, and that team then camps Upper Shelter until the other team gets them out, and so on. Most of the map isn’t even used at all. 95% of my time spent on this map was either in Upper Shelter, or trying to get to Upper Shelter. I did not enjoy anything about Pegasus, and I would not be upset if it didn’t appear in Halo 5.

Well, now that that’s out of the way, onto the next map, Orion. In a move that probably surprised no one, 343i decided to add the other Forge map into matchmaking anyway. It can’t be worse than Pegasus, right? Right?!?!?!

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Orion

I actually think Orion could be a decent map, but it still has a few glaring flaws. The first one being, the sun is too damn bright! This seems to be a common problem with the Halo 5 Beta. The maps are either too dark (Truth and Eden), or they’re too bright (Orion). Someone at 343i needs to tone down the lens flare, pronto.

The map layout can be a bit confusing at times. The amount of ramps and stairs, coupled with the bland forge textures, makes navigating the map a bit of a struggle. I mean, once I learned the basic layout of the map, I didn’t have much trouble navigating it, but still.

Another issue I have with Orion is the amount of power weapons it has. Currently, there are three power weapons on the map, a Sniper Rifle, an Energy Sword, and a Hydra Launcher. For a small(ish) sized map, I think three power weapons are a bit much. If Orion had one or two power weapons, then I think the map would play much better.

My guess is that these maps aren’t necessarily going to be included in the final game. Their purpose was more to just show the capabilities of Halo 5’s Forge mode, which by the way, has potential to be amazing. The landscape that these maps takes place on looks enormous, and even though I am certain that not all of it will be playable, it still looks like a lot of it will be. That’s what I loved about Halo: Reach’s Forge World. It was just a giant, open map with various terrains to build on. I’m hoping we get something like that with Halo 5’s Forge.

Well, that about covers it for today. Be sure to get some time in on the beta. This is the last week it will be available! I’ll be sure to post my final thoughts on the beta soon after it ends. Until then, stay classy.

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