The release of 343 Industries' Halo Wars 2 is fast approaching. While Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians were fine games, they weren't of the quality we've come to expect from a #Halo title.
Ahead of its release in 2012, Halo 4 had fans both excited and tentative about how the game would turn out. This was the first Halo game not developed by Bungie and no one had heard of #343industries. Initially the game looked promising. A new graphics engine was to be used, making it the best-looking Halo game yet. You had a variety of environments, cool weapons to play with and new enemies. A new threat had emerged and was looking to expand on the lore of the Halo universe.
Unfortunately, the gameplay did not improve much on previous installments and felt more like other #FPSs, such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. Furthermore, we were missing the signature Halo set piece moments. The multiplayer function did not add anything new to the mix, and again felt like other FPS games.
Don't get me wrong, there were some epic moments toward the end of the campaign and it finished on a tragic note, but overall it was one of the weakest campaigns in the series. However, the ending got me in the feels, and to the games credit, it create a really personal experience between Master Chief and Cortana that I appreciated.
Moving on to 2015's Halo 5, again it looked promising, thanks to some excellent ad campaigns and teaser trailers. It suggested a story in which Chief would be on the run from the UNSC, marked as a traitor. A new character in Locke, with a group of new Spartans, was introduced, tasked with bringing Chief and his Blue Team down. Although, it was never fully explained how the Blue Team came together and where they were all this time.
The campaign started off with an epic intro for both teams marked by music that was on point. I was buzzing already.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of the campaign was playing as Locke, who was not the most interesting character. It was nothing like what the ads suggested and the story ended on a Halo 2-worthy cliffhanger.
I liked Bucky more, the guy who was originally from Halo 3: ODST. Plus, there was an actual boss fight in the campaign. This was something new and I really got into it. I was expecting more boss fights that would get grander and more challenging.
However, you face the same boss every time. In fact, you fight him six times in total, and you defeat him in the same exact way. There is one fight, where he multiplies himself, which was the cheapest way to make a boss fight more challenging. It was just frustrating.
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The one highlight was the multiplayer. New game modes were introduced that were a whole lot of fun to play and very addictive and reminded us of the great Halo multiplayer games. Playing "Warzone" with my friend was a blast; I recorded so many great moments.
But Once Again, Another Drawback
The local multiplayer was removed! How in God's name do you remove split-screen multiplayer from a Halo title?! It is one of the fundamental elements of what makes Halo games so great, and 343 removed it!
Here We Are
Now we have #HaloWars2, and once again we have been given some excellent trailers and what looks to be a very promising title. It looks to have improved greatly on the previous game and shows heavy emphasis on multiplayer.
What was great about the previous title was that it gave us a deeper insight into the war between the UNSC and the Covenant, giving fans a new perspective on the war, and answering a few questions raised from the previous titles.
I will be expecting the same again from this title and hopefully something that is coherent with the beta that was released a couple weeks ago.
So What Do I want From 343?
A game that feels and plays like Halo. Unlike other FPS games, Halo is not coming out every year, so having that familiar feeling of Halo gameplay is not a bad thing. As for the previous two games, there have been one step forward but multiple steps back. That's not to say I do not want the gameplay to be improved and the franchise to move forward, but I want the studio to do it in the spirit of the Halo franchise. I am hoping Halo Wars 2 will be the first step in achieving that.
Halo Wars 2 will be released February 21. What are your hopes for this next release of the franchise? Sound off in the comments section below.