With Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries aims to shake up the franchise’s classic FPS formula with a host of new Spartan abilities.
343i wants Halo 5 to be different. They want the highly anticipated continuation of Master Chief’s mysterious adventures to stand apart from the other Halo games.
Traditionally the series’ many entrants have done this by way of innovative new features–take ODST‘s VISR mode, or Reach‘s superpower-esque classes–that all push the bar and reinvent the battlefield as we know it.
Now the studio introduces seven new Spartan abilities such as sprinting, jump thrusts, ledge grapples and other features that really make players feel like a true super soldier.
“In typical Halo you have the already awesome [three-layered] sandbox of the weapon, the melee and the grenade,” 343i said in a new behind the scenes video for the Halo 5 beta. “We wanted to add the Spartan abilities in as a fourth layer [to the game].”
Halo 5‘s new abilities won’t be specific add-ons or perks you unlock via Call of Duty-style progression; 343i affirms that these are “baseline traits”, and that everyone has them from the start to ensure “equal footing”.
Below we have a list of Halo 5‘s new Spartan abilities and a breakdown of what they do:
- Thruster Pack – This is just like the exo thrust ability in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, allowing players to juke and boost in all directions. They can also be used in mid-air, and provide a speed boost while running.
- Ground Pound – Similar to the Fists of Havoc finisher for Destiny Titans, the ground pound can be executed while in mid-air to smash opponents and send a sort of shockwave around impact.
- Clamber – Ledges can now be seamlessly and fluidly grabbed onto, allowing you to save those perfect jumps. This also avoids embarrassing deaths caused by missing a jump.
- Slide – Used in tandem with Sprint, allows players to slide across the ground to reach cover or deliver killing blows while below headshot level.
- Charge – Also used in tandem with Sprint. When hitting terminal velocity, users can hit the melee button and launch a destructive blow against their foes, but it’s worth noting that only either Slide or Charge can be used when reaching required speed.
- Sprint – Get around quickly, but at a cost: shields don’t regenerate, and you can’t fire while you’re running.
- Smart Scope – Remember pressing the zoom button in Halo 2 when you had a SMG equipped, and the little binoculars-style scope helped you scout enemies? That’s essentially what Smart Scope is; it gives a scope to any weapon, especially those that don’t come with scopes by default, like the Assault Rifle. You can get knocked out of Smart Scope at any time by getting shot, and 343i affirms that hip-fire isn’t penalized in any way.
Honestly by the look and feel of these abilities in action, Halo 5 looks like it brings the most accurate and true realization of a Spartan in any Halo game. As someone who’s read the books and knows about a Spartan’s superhuman feats of derring-do and mayhem, these abilities are spot-on and truly bring a sense of awe and strength to the warrior.
Coupled with these new additions the fast-paced gameplay looks like a whole new breed of shooter altogether, affording gamers with a whole new level of strategic and tactical execution.
I personally hope that these new abilities prove to be beneficial to the series–they look absolutely amazing–and we’ll have to wait until the Halo 5: Guardians beta kicks off next month to find out for sure.
Halo 5‘s multiplayer beta test will run from Dec. 29 to Jan. 18, with owners of the newly released Halo: The Master Chief Collection guaranteed entry. Halo 5 itself is scheduled to release sometime in 2015 exclusively on the Xbox One.