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Does "Halo 5" Miss the Mark?

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–“Halo” is a long-running first-person shooter video game series exclusively for Xbox consoles. The first game in the series, “Halo: Combat Evolved,” was released in the fall 2001 and was the start of my relationship with the Halo series. I have played every single “Halo” over the last fifteen years. It is definitely the one first-person shooter than I am best at, so when I heard of the upcoming release of “Halo 5” for the Xbox One, I was excited to say the least.
My first time playing “Halo 5,” I had high expectations. Initially, I was blown away by the incredible clarity and sharpness of the graphics. The look of the game was like the original “Halo” but on steroids, brought up to par with modern technologies. As I played through the game, however, the graphical clarity took a backseat as I noticed some annoying elements that I didn’t like.
First off, “Halo 5” offers no split screen play. This was a fundamental part of the original game, and it remained that way in every “Halo” to come after it until now. Microsoft’s explanation for eliminating this part of the game was silly.
According to an article on Gamespot, Microsoft spokesman Phil Spencer acknowledged the crucial role split screen played in every previous game, but maintained that times have changed and that today, no one plays together on the same console because everyone is too busy. This seems like a cop-out to me.

Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer
Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer

But this is not my only gripe with “Halo 5.” While the new 60 fps frame rate creates a beautifully smooth playing experience, it will not work correctly unless your Internet connection is consistently strong. Unfortunately, my wireless Internet cannot handle this.
The new frame rate also totally changed the feel of the game in terms of moving and aiming. This made getting headshots and successful melee attacks very difficult at first. I can honestly say that now, as I’ve gotten used to it, I like it. But be warned–this “Halo” feels much different than those of the past.
In online play, many changes have been made in “Halo 5.” The new Warzone game mode features epic, 24 player battles with bases to capture and AI enemies to eliminate. I like this game mode, but I feel that the game’s creators put lots of effort into this and very little into the classic online “Halo” playlists of the past. Perhaps that explains why there are only six other game mode playlists online.
In addition, the game no longer adds players to online games in which players have left. This means you can end up playing by yourself against an entire team.
I’m not done.
In online game modes like Slayer, the game now emphasizes power weapons and shows their location on-screen. This makes the game too predictable and one-sided if a team controls all power weapons and their spawn locations. The pistol has been made into a very powerful headshot machine, perhaps an homage to the original “Halo.” In the SWAT game mode, the majority of games now use only this pistol, a feature which I absolutely hate. On top of this, player respawning is subpar in all game modes. I cannot tell you how many times I have been killed almost immediately upon respawning.
The best part is that I am not the only player who thinks this way. Many of the elements of “Halo 5” that I think take away from the game are elements that other players have berated as well. Will Saulsky, a music major who picked up the game shortly after its release, sums it up perfectly.
“’Halo 5′ is a good game that could have been amazing. The makers tried to make the game more modern, which helped some areas, but destroyed others that long-standing Halo fans will definitely not like.”
Hopefully, the next game in the franchise remedies its current shortcomings and elevates itself from simply “good” to truly “amazing.”