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Age Of Ultron - Review

"Keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which" -Ultron

When the first Avengers movie came out, it was one of the greatest moments in a comic book fans life. Seeing all these iconic heroes come together, in a shared universe, on screen was one of the greatest cinematic spectacles ever. Sure, it was a heart-warming superhero film with some one-liners, but it understood what it was and what story it wanted to tell, and because of that, us fans got two and a half hours of pure fun and joy. However, what the first Avengers movie managed to accomplish was so great that it set a serious standard for not only superhero movies, but Blockbuster actions flicks in general. Now, I had no doubt that I'd love the second Avengers movie, but I was seriously skeptical if it could measure up to the first one, considering that it seemed jam-packed with a lot of different concepts, characters, plot-points and so on and on. Plus, some questionable decisions before the trailers were even unveiled which sort of discouraged me. Having said all that, I'm happy to say that AoU is not only better than the first Avengers in my personal opinion, but it's my favorite superhero movie to date (I consider the Nolan trilogy to be a bit beyond superhero movies at this point, so they don't count).

First and foremost, my biggest fear was that the Avengers movie would go down with the same formula, and while it does obviously maintain some familiar elements, it manages to evolve and learn from it's previous shortcomings, even if they were minor one's. For example, while in the previous films some characters like Clint were neglected for the most part, due to the larger focus placed on other characters, this time around almost every integral character receives some sort of development, despite the insane amount of content crammed into this movie. It never feels like one thing is being sacrificed for another. What I mean is that the movie is subtle in it's developments. The problem with a shared universe is that sometimes, writers know you don't understand certain stories you plan on telling, so they use other movies within this universe to explore certain elements and promote the stories they are about to tell. Whedon doesn't do this, instead, he carefully lays out the themes for the future that WORK contextually within the story currently being told. We know that there's soon to be a Civil War movie involving Iron Man and Captain America, but what sparks this, yet small, conflict between Tony and Steve is the reasons behind Ultrons creating, meaning that it not only hints future events, but it also develops the main story in Age Of Ultron.

And speaking of character evolution, as I said, almost every integral character gets a decent amount of screen time. Whedon found a very decent way to utilize every character in one way or the other. There's a certain moment in the movie where everything takes a turn for the better (for the viewers, that is). Lets just say there's something that happens, which basically jump starts individual character segments that both explore separate elements of the each protagonist, but also tie and coverage within the AoU plot perfectly. Thor, for one, is much more down to earth and "human. Instead of some foreign, alien being, he feels like a friend to the Avengers, not to mention that he is a lot wiser and helps move the plot forward instead of just standing there looking tough and "mighty", which, while cool on it's own, isn't enough anymore. I had my gripes with the direction they were taking with Natasha and Bruce, but after giving it some thought, it made a lot of sense, within the cinematic universe, of course. Since the movie has been out for a while, I don't see why it's too much to talk about why the relationship works. I see it this way, both characters have gone through some serious life-changing experiences that sort of inadvertently "unleashes" a very dangerous force. For Widow, it was her life as an assassin and emotionless killer, whereas for Bruce, it's his life as the Hulk. It seems like a "beauty and the beast" kind of ordeal, but it's more like two unwilling monsters meeting and understanding each other. Also, as a huge Hulk fan, I was immensely pleased with his portrayal. Bruce has adapted a more confident and determined personality, which I much enjoyed. Sure, most of the time he seems like a nervous dork who tries to keep to himself, but there are certain moments were you get a peak at an angry Bruce Banner, which seems quite intimidating. That's quite the compliment, given that this is the same man who can transform in to a 2 ton engine of destruction. I plan on discussing how Hulk was portrayed, but it feels more appropriate if we talk about him when discussing the action sequences. Also, I'd like to give a special shutout for Hawkeye and the Twins. While, as I said, Hawkeye was second fiddle in the first Avengers, he's kind of the conscious glue that holds everyone together. In many ways, he's the heart of the show, which I found to be both surprising and amazing. What makes his character development greater is that he sort of serves as gateway to explore the personality of the twins, since he is the one to have the most interaction with them.

As for now, lets get into the more "synthetic" aspect of the movie. Given that there have been many MCU films so far, we've had are fare share of colorful villains. However, not a lot of them really stood out for me. That's not to say that the actors portraying them are bad, nor does it mean that there were't any good villains, but sadly, most of the phase two bad guys like Ronin and Malekith weren't all that memorable, mostly because the lacked any layers. Loki may not have been powerful, but he was well developed and interesting. He was a developing characters just as much as Tony Stark, or Thor, per say, which made him stand out. He had charm, is what I'm trying to see. Same goes for Obediah Stane from Iron Man and Wilson Fisk from the Daredevil TV show. These guys were layered and complex, and were just as important as the main heroes. So I'm happy to say James Spader absolutely killed it as Ultron.

I'm not sure why people have a problem with how Ultron was portrayed.Was giving him a personality a bad idea? As far as I know, he's always been more human than machine, and given that he was essentially created by Stark, it's not all that shocking he'd mirror Tony's personality. Ultron was a character, and not some ominous monster who appeared here and there, did something "evil" and then took off. We got to see his side of the story. Ultron was the kind of villain you just enjoy watching, only unlike Loki, he can carry some serious presence. He was creepy, calculating, smart and sadistic, all of which was enforced by James Spaders terrific acting and fantastic voice. What I found particularly interesting was that Ultron was never a Stark villain, despite his origins and development. In fact, my fears that he would remain in Iron Man's shadow never came to fruition. Instead, he was kind of the nemesis of his own creation, Vision, who by the way is one of the coolest additions to the roster. Sure, he's new and doesn't get the same level of screen time, but when he does appear, he literally steals the show. He's so different and similar to Ultron that you can't help but like the guy. Ultron is the personification of human produced death and destruction, where as Vision represents life and prosperity. This dichotomy and opposition between two integral characters leads to some seriously memorable and beautiful moments.

My only true problem with Ultron, and this seems to be Whedons crutch, is that he wasn't all that powerful. He was though, sure, but having an iconic villain like that in a movie does kind of give a fan hope that there will be a huge brawl between all of the Avengers and the main bad guy. It was clear that Ultron wouldn't really last in that kind of fight. They gave him a different KIND of menacing power, which worked in it's own way, but still, I think the first option would have been better.

That's not to say that the action in this movie wasn't amazing, quite the contrary, it was fantastic. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster fight scene was, without a doubt, my favorite comic book movie fight scene, hands down, and there are quite a few reasons for that. First of all, the tone of the fight was balanced, and this extends to the whole movie to be quite honest. You knew the stakes and the seriousness of the threat. The writers never denied us the chance to laugh and have fun, but we knew when things got serious, and I liked that. It never felt that the movie was sacrificing story for the sake of delivering the punchline, and the Hulk vs Iron man fight was a testament to that. I loved the last battle in the first movie, but apparently, a lot of people died in that fight, and it never occurred to us because the tone was light-hearted and fun, which is fine, if it's consistent with the movie, but this time around you feel that there's some serious damage being done. Hulk lost control, and he was manipulated into hurting a lot of people. This is a good way to develop Hulks individual character, and the end of the fight showed us how the Jade giant truly thought of his actions. You can see the regret and sadness in his face, and as a huge Hulk fan, you can understand why I was personally touched by this scene. Hulk couldn't have gotten a lot of screen, but when he did show up, he had key moments of development and character evolution. Secondly, the choreography is absolutely brilliant. You can literally feel the weight and power of these two characters as the bash it out on each other. I wish Hulk would use more of his signature moves, but given his condition, it was a smart move to make him fight like a mindless monster, as having Hulk utilize other branches of his power would demean Iron Mans only true advantage, which was his intellect. And with that said, you can definitely feel who was stronger in the fight. No matter what Iron Man threw at the Hulk, the big guy kept coming back and nothing seemed to slow him down, which made me insanely happy. Tony did get more hits in, but he was still shown to be the underdog throughout the whole brawl.

But as much as I personally enjoyed this fight, the final battle was just as breathtaking. I can't say much without spoiling it, but know this. You can feel how serious the situation is, and it's a true wonder to see these avengers work so well with one another. You can tell that they have legitimately come a very long way after the events of the first film, and seeing them work so well in synch with one another not only brought forth some fantastic sequences, but also brought a genuine smile to my gloomy, angry face.

It feels like I should say a few words about the story, but I feel like I've spoiled a lot as it is, so without going into to much detail, the plot is very complicated but it works out very well. The plot is very character driven, and while it feels as if it's trying to tell individual stories, Whedon manages to balance it out by making it relevant to the main narrative, as well as subplots, which, by the way, is a pretty amazing feat given that there are so many things happening at the same time. Unfortunately, There is one huge glaring plot hole, or better Dues Ex Machina moment, which for some odd reason NO one has mentioned yet. I understand why they did it, but seriously, they could have gone with a completely different route that would have made much more sense both story and context wise. I mean, a SHIELD "spaceship" just pops up after SHIELD was successfully destroyed and no one notices this? Fury gives like a one word explanation for this and then it's literally never touched upon. They could have had the starkbots help or something along thous lines. It would have made more sense, since we've SEEN that Stark had been developing crowd control measures.

In conclusion, Age of Ultron had a lot to live up to, and if this were a test, I'd say it passed with flying colors. The second installment is well acted, written, directed, choreographed and balanced. Even if you don't like it more than the first one, it has enough action and fun that I'm sure at least the majority will enjoy it very much. I've seen the movie twice already, and I'm sure I'll probably see it a couple of more times as well. Yes, it was that good.

Score: 9.5/10

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The Evil Within DLC - The Assignment Review

Part One
Part One

You know, 2014 has really done some serious damage to me, in a sense that I'm a lot more skeptical about upcoming games and how they will turn out, which, given what happened with Unity, Destiny, MCC, etc, isn't at all a bad way to approach things, in fact, I think it worked out in my favor. Anyways, I expected The Assignment, in which we take control of Juli Kidman, a mysterious character in the original campaign. If I'm being completely honest here, I, for the most part, expected more of the same deal with this DLC, which, isn't bad, considering that The Evil Within was my favorite game of 2014. That said, I can't express how surprised and how happy I am that the DLC managed to provide a unique and slightly more tense experience.

The Evil Within wasn't exactly a scary game, but it was a very intense and taxing one, which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. Trudging through darkness on low health and ammo as I was hoping to god that I wouldn't encounter more of thous godforsaken doppelgängers was truly mind-wrenching. However, there is a very huge difference between the main game and the DLC. One, regardless of what people say, is a mix of survival horror and action, because you actually have a way of fighting back and directly killing your enemies, whereas the other, is completely stealth and strategy oriented. And yes, it's true that the Evil Within did have stealth mechanics, which I occasionally found useful, but the difference was that the game itself wasn't built on it. Outside of certain occasions, which only becomes apparent when played on harder difficulties, Sebastian could get through most of his enemies through force, even if he had to stay in the shadows here and there, whereas Kidman has to completely rely on stealth and sneaking around. Moreover, what I found interesting and quite refreshing was the fact that the switch from offensive to a defensive gameplay , which is a pretty radical change on it's own, didn't really compromise the core of the original campaign, since familiar elements such as using your environment to your advantage and luring enemies was maintained. Speaking of which, I think it's worthwhile to mention that most of the mechanics associated with covertness have been molded, or "upgraded" if you prefer, in order for it to fit in with the more stealth-like tone of the DLC, which means that everything Kidman has at her disposal is to help her avoid confrontation, since she isn't as tough as sebastian physically. As such, Kidman's main weapon, unlike Sebastian, is only a flashlight that she uses to keep a look out for her enemies, solve puzzles, etc. Also, the environment and level design in general, despite the absence of deadly traps and such contraptions(there was only a few If I remember correctly), serves to help the player to better manipulate his/her enemies. I wonder if such mechanics will later be incorporated into the main game if any sequels and such were to be released.

And much like everything else, boss battles had a distinct approach as well. I wouldn't call them real boss battles, but as far as immersing the player goes, the game did a find job of getting you invested in what was going on. This is because most of confrontations were basically tests to force the player to utilize everything they had learned beforehand, which included sneaking around, luring your enemies, moving quietly about the environment, and quickly vanishing when spotted. And, on that point, what I find pretty interesting is that this stealthy approach managed to intensify the game even further. I mean, the main campaign was taxing before, but in the Assignment, your options of survival are severely limited and completely depended upon your patience and planning, which, in my personal opinion, makes the experience all the more unnerving.

Now on to the best thing about this expansion. The Evil Within, no matter how much I liked it for it's creative designs, was pretty much ambiguous in terms of storytelling. It's true that I attributed this as a strength, but now that I've played the assignment, I'm a bit pissed off that hey'd hold this off as a DLC. Look I'm not gonna change my stance on the fact that I enjoyed the mystery in the Evil Within, and it's potential for sequels, but seriously, if they had distributed Kidman's parts( we'll still have to see how the second part of the DLC fairs) throughout the original campaign, the story would have been absolutely fantastic, considering that the Assignment already filled in some much needed gaps about what had happened in The Evil Within. Furthermore, I enjoyed Jennifer Carpenters performance( voice of Juli), more so than that of Anson Mount( Voice of Sebastian). Don't get me wrong, I liked how ridiculously cheesy Sebastian was, but Juli actually felt more interesting to me, which is probably a result of the fact that the game gives her a greater exposition and actually tries to develop her as a character. I think Sebastian's diary should have been audio recordings since it would have given Anson Mount a better chance to present his character, but since we had to read all of them, we really couldn't get behind his character. To us, he was just a typical badass detective who didn't really say much. Juli's characterization, while not stellar, is pretty good IMO, since most of her background is presented throughout her own audio interviews. Plus, the game itself takes us to a few places familiar to Juli, which would have, or could have helped improve Sebastian as a protagonist, but oh well.

And last but not least, I'm happy with some of the creative designs. Some familiar faces make a comeback, but I'm glad that Juli is given her own antagonist and set of few new characters. I was worried for a while that the same monsters would have been recycled, which wouldn't have been bad, since, as I mentioned above, the approach to how you deal with your foes is different from the previous iteration. Regardless, I'm glad that we get some more creative and interesting designs.

All in all, I'd say the Assignment is definitely worth it's price. It's a great game that not only expands and sheds more the Evil Within universe, but also manages to craft a unique experience without alienating some of the people who enjoyed the previous style by maintaining familiar gameplay elements and atmosphere.

Score : 9.5/10


Halo: Fall Of Reach - Review

Halo: Fall of Reach

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I'll be honest here, when I'm reading, after I get past a few chapters, I seriously need to mentally recharge. It's not that I can't keep going, but I really like to savor the content I consider good, which is something I can't do when I get tired. That said, there are moments when I'm so drawn into something that I stop really noticing what is going around me, which, is pretty rare since I usually keep track of everything due to a busy schedule. Reading Halo: Fall of Reach was one of the few cases where I got past 7-8 chapters without realizing that I had been reading for quite some time. I think the rough estimate of time was about 2 AM by the time I was done (I started reading late.)

It's also worth noting that in my personal opinion, spin-offs that take a step outside of the selected medium, like when video games are based on movies, or when books/comics are based on video games, the final product, most often than not, turns out to be mediocre or turns out to be a bit out of place. That's not an accurate assumption, obviously, but I'm sure many know what I'm talking about. Luckily, this is not the case, in fact, it's in a certain way, quite the opposite.

When one looks at the vast universe Halo encompasses, it's hard to fathom how we reached this point. Well, I'm quite certain that the instigator for the creation for such a vast world was Eric Nylund, and since we're on the topic of lore, I think it's a good way to start exploring why is Halo: Fall of Reach awesome.

Back in Halo Combat Evolved, you had all the necessary details you needed to know to play the game, and as many of you are familiar, CE blew everyones minds. But with the created universe, there were some details we still required, which weren't exactly provided in the single player campaign. Fall of Reachprovides the much needed background on who the Spartan IIss are, and for what purpose were the originally created. What will probably strike most fans right away is the vivid and world building descriptions Nylund provides. From the super power MAC guns to the covenant destroyer ships, everything is described in such vivid detail that I could almost make an argument that if anyone hadn't played the game, they'd still have a pretty good idea on what the world looks like. Sadly, I've not only played Halo games, but I've spend hundreds of hours exploring the maps in the multiplayer, as well as played through the campaign more than once, so I was quite aware of what the areas looked like.

So having my experience with Halo in mind, I'm about to say something even I didn't anticipate. The covenant are seriously menacing. I know that sounds were, and any Halo fan would think to themselves "Well OF COURSE they are menacing, they are an intergalactic group of alien species who nearly brought the human race to extinction."

However, be honest, which brings about more tension, experiencing something first hand in first person perspective, or listening to someone describe the whole scene through words. While this is subjective, in the end, most people would probably chose the former, since video games make it so much more personal. Having said that, I was baffled at how well Nylund captured the presence of these alien creatures. The introduction of the hunters is particularly vivid in my mind. Hell,I can still remember biting my lip from the tension and excitement I felt as I was putting certain clues together, and this is coming from someone who frequently watches horror movies.

Moreover, what solidified the books experience, or better yet, what made the book truly stand out in my personal opinion was the brilliant characterization. I think most casual games are familiar with John-117, better known as Master Chief. What they don't know, that when it comes to the games, Chief has a very basic character. Though that's not to say it's a bad thing, since the developers, Bungie, found a good way to maintain the main protagonists personally while allowing the player to integrate themselves into the game by cutting back on Johns characterization, but when it comes to video games, it's best to showcases a fully developed protagonist, even if in the end, Master Chiefs badass attitude worked out for the best. Anyways, Eric Nylund paints a very interesting picture of the main hero without eliminating his cool reputation, but most importantly, Nylund creates layers by which we can define 117. John is determined, brave, tough, absolutely adores to win, and cares deeply for him fellow men; however, due to the indoctrination had had gone through due to the SPARTAN II program, he does not have a good grasp on reality, and is restricted within the codex all soldiers are ordered to follow. I won't spoil how all of these qualities are developed, but I will say how I wish I had read this book earlier, since it would make me appreciate the major developments 343 tried to execute In Halo 4's campaign.

Furthermore, when I said that the character portrayal was "good", I wasn't only referring to John 117, in fact, throughout the course of the book we get to see the progression of the plot through multiple perspectives, minor and major characters included, who all play into the big picture at one point or another. Speaking of which, the general story, or better yet synopsis is pretty easy to follow, but the journey itself is intricate, interesting and very well developed. There are multiple twists and turns, as well as some breathtaking moments.

And on that note, what would a Halo book be without great and detailed action sequences? It's pretty fun to blow through and mow down alien hordes in video games, but books require a more subtle angle, which, I'm happy to say, is provided with flying colors. In it's very diverse too, I might add. Space Battles, close quarter combat, mowing down cannon fodder, you name it, it's all here. Personally, my favorite fights still consisted of the ones that took place on solid ground, but that's all due to preference and it in no way undermines the rest of the great spectacles.

In conclusion, Fall of Reach is a bestseller for reason, and that reason is that it's a sci-fi epic brought to life. It has descriptive and detailed locations which draw you into the Halo universe, great characterization which explores and creates multiple layers for established Halo characters, epic battles, and tons of lore. Literally anyone who is even remotely interested can pick this book up. If you have never played a Halo game before, you will not get lost for a second, in fact, this is where it all started, so you have nothing to worry about.

Recommendation: Yes!


Halo 5: Guardians BETA Impressions

Awww yis!
Awww yis!

As soon as I heard that the BETA release was coming up, I went through the entire Halo saga (Excluding only ODST and Reach) in order to prep myself for this moment. I wanted to accurately recall the old style of Halo gameplay to more accurately review and asses the BETA version. So without further yammering, lets get to it.

Right of the bat, the first thing I've noticed is that 343 has taken into account what the fans have been telling them, but they still try to make the gameplay fresh with some interesting tweaks. If you ask me, 343 is trying to find the perfect balance to the fairness the old halo games provided, while simultaneously appealing to the modern, fast paced shooter fans. However, before I proceed, I'd like to mention a few things. The previous Halo games, if you are unaware, were much more methodical and fair in comparison to Reach and Halo 4 (that's not to say that Halo 4 or Reach were bad games, because I absolutely love both). But around Halo 3, we were already departing to the more fast-paced style of gameplay, but that was all well and good, since you never really felt that someone had some sort of advantage over you. However, what really kind of put the gameplay evolution on a hiatus was the elimination of this "fairness" and balance. Personally, I feel like the addition of loudouts and armor perks is what essentially alienated the fans, because some, as I just said, may have felt that other players gained unfair advantages. Now that's not to say that these perks were bad, but they were huge departures from made Halo...well, Halo. I don't want to make it sound as if these changes broke the game, but they were just sudden and big changes.

Anyways, back to the matter at hand. After playing the BETA for hours, I personally feel that 343 has done a wonderful job. They have found what looks to be the perfect way to appeal to both halo fans and newcomers. Everyone, from start to finish, is on equal grounds, and who wins and loses is dependent on how you play the game, and there is no perk or ability that allows you to one-up other players. The loudouts and armor abilities have been completely removed (well..kind of, but I'll get to that in a bit). From start to finish, all the players have the similar abilities and weaponry. Not to worry though, you can, of course, find and discover new weapons as you explore the map, but essentially, whether you kill someone or not depends on well you can play, and not what weapon you have. I wanted to make extra sure that there weren't many cheap shots, so I watched a few other people play the game (in live, I mean). My friend, who's a huge Halo fan and a great FPS player, came over to day and played several matches. Suffice to say, He basically demolished every other player on the majority of the matches. During my time with the BETA I did pretty okay, and every time I died, it was my own fault. If I made a fluke, I paid for it. Same goes for my cousin, who did slightly better than I did. (Yeah yeah, I know, but I'm out of practice, okay?)

So suffice to say, the gameplay is pretty damn balanced and fair, no arguments there. Now on to the more interesting parts...

343 has added a plethora of new tweaks that changes how you approach the gameplay, but the beauty of is that these abilities are neither unique or overpowered:

New Abilities

  • Sprint/Shield Regeneration- Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 343 has decided to keep the sprit as a common ability. However, they found a good way to counter-balance this ability in order to force players into using their wit. In halo 4, despite the fun and good gameplay, what really bothered me was the fact that I had the option to really weasel out of trouble. If I realized in time that I had that someone was owning me in a confrontation, I had the option to run off. You cannot imagine how many times this saved me. This is pretty common in shooters, but it's now something Halo should have IMO, since it gives you the choice to run off,instead of out-skilling your opponent. So this time around, you can't really do that since your amour doesn't regenerate during the time you sprint. So, at best, you can quickly take cover to catch your breath and think of some way to fight back, but try to run of and you'll be exposed and defenseless against pretty much everyone else in the game. I would know, I tried running, and I died...a lot.
  • Zoom/Iron-Sights(?) - Hey, wow wow cowboy! Chill! Let me finish first! This isn't what you think, honest. Sure, it may look like Halo has incorporated Iron sights, but it really hasn't. Sure, visually it looks that way, but the mechanic is pretty damn similar to what it use to be. You zoom in, and you lose your sight just as soon as you are shot, much like every other Halo game, so it's basically a re-skin, nothing more. But the way you zoom in has changed, however. Instead of using the lower/ right analog stick(or in older games, the analog stick in general), you can only activate zoom through LT button, which, despite being different, is understandable, since both analog sticks have taken up different functions. Speaking of which...
  • Ground Pound - Remember that Titan ability from Destiny? Where you basically can kill 6 people at the same time once you activate this ability? You do? Well, this is totally not like that. The idea is sort of the same, but unlike Destiny, Halo doesn't overpower this ability. In fact, it's very difficult to use. Basically, you can't just press one button and expect everything to explode. For starters, you have to be a certain distance from the ground once you jump of a platform. When in air, you have to press the lower analog stick and try to mark a SPECIFIC guy to attack, and the just let go. I've played the game some time, and I have only been able to use this ability once. Yeah, if that isn't fair man, I don't know what is. it takes extra damn skill to the this right.
  • Slide - Another use for the analog stick is that it allows you to slide. If you are sprinting, all you have to do is bush the left stick and that's about it. Seems like a simple change but it actually allows you more mobility and opportunities to fight off your opponents. Since running is not longer a valid option, you gotta find new ways to attack right?
  • Spartan Charge - Here's interesting tweak that involves sprinting. Have an unexpected foe appear out of nowhere? Not to worry, just press that melee button and charge away! But seriously though, this is kind of a personal favorite, and it kind of fits in well with the fast paced combat. Though I can't wrap my head around this one. There were times where I managed to quickly kill my enemies with this one, and there were times when they didn't die from one hit. The hit makes a big bang so it's hard to tell sometimes I've you've actually hit your enemy or not. Can't say for sure, but it seems just a matter of precision, but I guess we'll see in the final result. In either case, I wouldn't mind if this was a one hit kill, since actually hitting someone with this charge attack is difficult enough, and if you do hit them and they don't die, then basically say goodbye since they will most likely kill you right there on the spot.
  • Dash - Don't confuse this with the super dash you had in Reach where you could cover 5 km in a second, twice. The dash is actually a very useful and LIMITED ability. You can use it once, and when you do, it takes a few second( something you don't have) to recharge. This, yet again, changes how you approach the battlefield. It's fine to keep track of when and how to use this ability. You can use it reach a far away platform, quickly take over, or get out of the line of fire to to gain a momentary advantage. (Plus, it's nice to have another way around getting impaled by a energy swords.)
  • Climbing platforms -Now this is more a personal reflection rather than an analysis, but I am soooooo glad they added this. If there is ONE thing I disliked about halo, it's the fact that every time I made a SMALL mis-step I fell, even if I was VERY close to the platform, which resulted in many unfortunate deaths. And since that's out of the way, lets talk about how this changes the game. For better or worse, this makes you way more attentive whether you like it or not, because instead of two designated entrances, there are multiple ways some jackass may approach you. I actually like this, since it always keeps you alert and on your toes.

Breakout Mode

I'm actually enjoying this mode more than the slayer to be quite honest, not because it's better, but because it's more unforgivable. Breakout is completely oriented around skill, and I think it actually helps the player improve a lot, since it's far more focused and slow. That's not to say that the Slayer is any less focused on the players ability to play the game, but when you first view the slayer it's easy to misjudge it for being "twitch-shooter" like COD or Destiny, but with slayer it's easier to see how slow things can really get.

For thous who don't know, Breakout is a new mode where 4 players are pitted in arena like maps, where they only get one chance to show how useful they are. Yes, that means that if you die once, you won't be able to respwan until an new match begins. This led to some extremely intense moments. Imagine all of your teammate getting killed off and being left alone against two other players. Did I mention that you don't have a map here? Yeah, that's important too, since you won't be able to see where the attack is coming from.

I personally feel like this will lead to a lot of collaborative matches. I can imagine myself chatting with my friends and giving them tips on where the enemy player is residing or attacking from, since, you'll be able to monitor your team members once you die.

All in all, I'm having a blast with this.


What can I say that I haven't said up until this point? Halo 5 seems to be the bridge between Halo fans and thous who enjoy the more fast-paced/modern day shooters, which, if you ask me, is actually a fantastic thing. They kept the elements that made Halo so fair and unique, but didn't forget thous newcomers who have the desire to give Halo a shot. I personally believe that a series should evolve and build new things on the very ground it has established, and after playing the BETA myself, I have to say that it seems as if 343 are making all the right steps.

Can't wait for more Halo 5 news! thanks for reading!