‘Halo 5 Guardians’ – A Result Of Compromise?

Joseph Bradford - Author
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Sep. 30 2015, Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Prepping for the upcoming release of Halo 5: Guardians, I’ve gone back to play the previous entries in the game’s storied history. As I play through the games thanks to Halo: The Master Chief Collection, I’m reminded of what I felt when I originally played them years ago when they were new. The exquisite use of motion blur and how it smoothed things for me in Halo 3 made the Master Chief’s first foray on the Xbox 360 feel like a legitimate jump in visuals and technology. The story threads of Halo 3 don’t exactly tie up everything from the abrupt end of Halo 2, and the game left many plot holes as well, but the fact was in terms of both gameplay and visuals, it was a markedly vast improvement over what the original Xbox could do.

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Couple this with what Bungie did with Halo: Reach later on, and finally, 343 Industries’ first excursion with Halo 4, and both games show a step forward in terms of storytelling and visual presentation. Which is why when I play Halo 5: Guardians at various conventions, I find myself conflicted with my own personal gaming preferences. This is only exacerbated when analysis proves just how much Halo 5 has had to shed in order to to make possible what is not playable.

Halo 4 was, until Grand Theft Auto V released a year or so later, the culmination of what a developer could do with the Xbox 360, with 343 Industries eking out every last ounce of technological juice it could muster; period. However, having played Halo 5 a few times at various events, and then seeing what I experienced repeated on trustworthy sites known for their critical eye at the “under-the-hood” aspects of video game tech, I can’t say that it’s an improvement over what 343 accomplished on the Xbox 360.

This by no means says that the game won’t be good or fun, but while Halo 4 was the magnum opus of what 343 Industries could do on the Xbox 360, Halo 5: Guardians, to those willing to look, is shaping up to be the poster-child of compromise on the Xbox One.

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