If the new update for Destiny and DLC for Fallout 4 wasn’t enough to keep gamers occupied, several companies took it upon themselves to open up their digital doors to allow gamers to have a glimpse of some exciting new features and titles. 343, Gearbox, and Bethesda all converged on this mid-April weekend to unload beta content for Halo 5, Battleborn, and Doom.
With too much content for one article, I opted instead to pen a 3-part series to delve into the good, the bad, and overall, the main areas I felt needed TLC in this Beta Bonanza.
Fore note: As this game mode and the other games in this series are simply in Beta, please keep in mind this is not a review of a final product but rather a summary of my thoughts and feelings on the games and how they played.
343’s contribution came in the form of a playlist/game mode first introduced back on the Xbox 360 in Halo: ODST. Firefight took a new approach on the Halo series shifting the focus from multiplayer mayhem to coordinated survival based co-op against waves of computer-controlled enemy forces. This mode was also present in Halo: Reach with upgraded enemy movements and improved AI. Firefight in many ways was just about as close as you can get to Nazi Zombies in the Halo universe and was perfect for jumping in with your friends when you were beleaguered from the heat of multiplayer.
Before we begin, let me start by saying I was an avid fan of both O.D.S.T‘s take on this game mode as well as Halo:Reach and was beyond thrilled to see what 343 had cooked up in this vein.
In my previous article and review of Halo 5 , I briefly touched base on the Warzone playlist and its new transition on large scale combat. This is mirrored in several ways in the Open Firefight Beta.
Let’s start off with the good. Immediately upon entering the match, you are accosted by heavy enemy forces. The entrance mirrored the regular Warzone entrance of a pelican dropping you directly into battle at some relay location or base. Enemies are in abundance and seem much more difficult to kill. Packs of grunts surround you, Promethean crawlers charge in packs swarming around your team while elites and Promethean Soldiers ravage you and the other Spartans with storm rifle and light rifle rounds. The initial experience lives up to the thoughts on the title. It truly is a firefight in every sense of the word.
Enemies seem to me to be more intelligent (or maybe I was just less?) and even somewhat bloodthirsty. I saw enemies retreating and throwing grenades more tactically than I experienced prior the campaign. The difficulty is also fairly intense. I found myself often in a lack of cover and had to be very conscious of my shields and cover.
The game plays out as you battle 5 ways of enemy forces with Mini/Sub-Bosses in each wave leading up to a final Boss in round 5. Each round lasts about 5 minutes. If you fail to complete the round and kill the boss of each round the playlist ends and you lost the match. This led to some intense moments battling down the final boss against the clock as you get closer and closer to a hail Mary kill before the buzzer.
The enemies presented in each match varied and had different bosses associated with them. One game you will face Promethean forces and may have to take on 3, yes 3, (count them) Warden Eternals simultaneously. The next you may find yourself facing off with elite covenant forces.
Moving to the Bad, this variant of Firefight took some pretty heavy shifts from the prior versions that I wasn’t expecting. In prior versions, you were awarded multiplayer medals for Multi-Kills such as double and triple kills though in 343’s take you only receive the standardized NPC kill medals you would get for killing an enemy in warzone. Part of the fun of Firefight was picking up a fuel rod cannon and blasting away entire groups of enemies while the medals sprayed across the screen.
For this beta, there was only one map which was predominantly used which was a pre-existing Warzone map. This is, of course, not to be expected from the final product but I was hoping they would have an exclusive environment they would use similar to the prior variants.
After playing the game for a few hours, it felt pretty dull and repetitive. It seemed like this was more so a stress test than a test of actual gameplay or features. Its purpose seemed to center around having a crazy amount of enemies on the field with a ton of action. Though it was good to have this, I got bored easily and was tempted to jump into the other playlists.
Spawns were, in some cases, pretty far away especially if you call in vehicles. I called in a mantis to take on some of the final bosses and had to waltz across the entire map before I was able to join up with the rest of the players while they killed everything and got all the credit/points.
Some small issues, like not being able to hijack enemy vehicles also played a role in adding frustration but such is the purpose of a beta. I am not sure if this was intentionally or simply a glitch but it confused me and caused me to get splattered by elites in ghosts one too many times.
As a whole, there were some positives and some negatives but I highly recommend trying out the playlist for yourself and seeing if you like it. In any case, I hope 343 can take the feedback received in this Beta and improve upon the playlist to add it to its array of game modes in the future.
Feature image courtesy of polygon.com