Halo 5 Guardians Arena Multiplayer
Yup, that’s right, Halo 5 Guardians has a demo-able multiplayer and I got to play it. And guess what? I’m still as bad as I remember.
In this version of multiplayer, you’re playing 5v5 last man standing with the magnum pistol and assault rifle/battle rifle. Essentially, the rifle is full auto when you’re not aiming with the scope, but burst fire when aiming, which is a nice settlement to the age old question of which rifle was better, Halo 1’s or Halo 2’s .
The map was rather boring and looked more like an American Gladiators map than Halo. Glassy polygons with ramps and a few hallways punctuated by laser edges in space doesn’t really scream Spartan to me. That aside, the combat feels better than it did in Halo 4, but still a little slow. The controls are the same millenium-era FPS controls of B for grenade, but that’s for sake of legacy and kind of gives it a nostalgic feel. Speaking of nostalgia, this game mode didn’t let you select your starting weapons and there were no loadouts. I’m not sure if that’s how the rest of the multiplayer will be, but that was almost a welcome restriction. The last thing I need is Call of Duty in space.
Overall, it seems Halo multiplayer is still intact. A little different than before, but then again it always is. What I really want to see more of is Master Chief in the desert with that chip necklace that makes me tear up. You know the one.
Platforms: Xbox One
Release Date: 2015
One of the most exciting new IPs coming to Wii U is the competitive third person shooter title Splatoon. The objective is simple — over a map with more of your team’s paint color than the other’s. It’s a third person shooter featuring humans/squids.
That’s a weird sentence.
Your human form has your ink gun, which you use to splatter the field and shoot your enemies, and your squid form can travel quickly through your ink color and recharge your ink gun. Since you’re hidden inside the ink while in squid form, this adds another layer of strategy so you can lie in wait to surprise the enemy. Your squid form can also traverse ink that’s on walls, and go under barriers, allowing for more maneuverability and varied terrain play.
The concept and ideas behind this game are great, but I found myself getting killed a lot. And I mean a lot. It was only toward the end of my second round that I realized why — I kept screwing up my aim. The demo I got to play set up aiming with the gyro controls on the Wii U gamepad, with the second joystick acting like a slow camera. This strange waggle motion was incredibly disorienting for someone who’s used to camera being on the second joystick and having it be responsive. I’m kind of a panicky Pete in games like this, so when the fighting starts, I lose all thoughts and just try to shoot as much at the other person as possible. Accuracy is not my forte. As a result, I was pointing down with the gamepad, but moving the joystick around so I could focus on the top screen instead of the map on the bottom and I ended up dying almost every time (or at least that’s what I tell myself).
Overall, the game is incredibly fun and fast paced. The sneaking elements on it, surprise attacks, power ups, and quick gameplay make it an awesome game to play with friends either online or in the same room. I just hope they realize some of us are very disoriented by gyro aim so I can go back to flailing about and shooting wildly a little better.
Platforms: Wii U
Release Date: May 2015
Local multiplayer puzzlers seem to be making a bit of a resurgence, diversity also seems to be growing as the internet understands what it means to be an inherently global community and its members request more representation in all media.
Together is the story of a mother and child on a quest through the mysterious forest to find the cure for an illness that has befallen one of their loved ones. The story of the game was written by Arab-American author Saladin Ahmed, known most recently for his novel The Crescent Moon Kingdom.
The game features an overworld system kind of like Super Mario World in that you walk around a world map, choose a puzzle to solve, and are warped to the puzzle. Once inside, your objective is to collect all the white, glowy butterflies in each level to proceed onward. The transition between world map and puzzle is a little jarring, and the game’s style of narrative delivery, standing on a circle on the world map and reading text, also leaves something to be desired. Unlike Chariot, there’s no real flow between levels or areas, and everything seems pretty well separated.
The puzzles themselves are pretty interesting, featuring standard mechanics like pushing something to one area or pressing a button to allow another, but there’s also things like poison projectile immunity for both mother and son if they are standing together. It’s a bit like Goof Troop on the SNES or Legend of Zelda Four Swords in that both players have to work together to enable the way for each of them.
Together is an interesting game that offers up to five hours of gameplay and provides perspective of a culture not often explored in this medium.
Release Date: TBD