343 Industries have done an excellent job at keeping Halo 5: Guardians’ multiplayer feeling fresh and relevant, with the numerous free expansion packs adding new maps, weapons and armour. Warzone Firefight looks to continue this trend, and marks the return of Halo’s own take on a Horde mode made famous in ODST and Reach.
More Map Variety
The beta was only ever intended to include one playable map, so this isn’t where my complaint lies. My worry is that Warzone maps may be too big. There were times during matches on Escape from ARC where the action became a little spread out, and it was often too easy to end up separated from other players and the objective.
Warzone maps are specifically designed for large lobbies and for players to be able to use their vehicle REQs, and so need to be vast enough to incorporate Scorpion tanks and Banshees, but it would be nice to see some smaller maps where the action is more focussed.
For me, the defining point of any Horde mode is to pick your spot and defend it. A perfect example of this is ODST’s Alpha Site map.
The small map had a particularly defendable position where the enemy could only attack from the front, and my brother and I could spend hours playing co-op Firefight on this map, with wave after wave of covenant breaking against us, and it was bloody good fun.
It would be great to see more maps like this included in Halo 5’s Firefight and not just Warzone variants, either as classic maps returning to the game mode, such as Alpha Site, or even some specially designed ones with heavily defendable positions. Something as simple as a fortified room with a REQ station and only one way in or out would make for some excellent Firefight action.
Choose Your Enemy
Halo certainly has a vast array of enemies to pick from, and I’m sure everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to series’ baddies. Personally I enjoy fighting the Covenant, whose Elite’s, Jackals, Grunts and Hunters create the perfect mix of cannon fodder and deadly foes, and are a defining feature of the franchise.
However, I am not so fond of Prometheans, and as such would welcome the option to omit them from Firefight matches. This may be a hard sell seeing as they are very much 343’s baby with the developer keen to push them as Halo’s main enemy.
There are some aspects about them I do appreciate, such as the teamwork required to take down the hulking Knights and popping the heads of Crawlers with well-placed shots, but teleporting Soldiers and shield giving Watchers are just irritating. Combine them all together and it can become a bit of a gruelling experience.
This can be easily resolved. Give players the option to pick who they want to fight, whether it’s only Covenant, Prometheans or, as was the case with the beta, a grab bag of both. This way everyone’s tastes are well catered for and players won’t have to sit through waves of enemies they don’t enjoy fighting.
Firefight could even give 343 the chance to bring back some of Halo’s more forgotten species such as Brutes, Engineers, Drones (remember them?) and even the Flood. Or, if 343 really wanted to go left-field, they could even send us up against UNSC forces. We already go toe-to-toe with Spartans in Arena and Warzone, why not Firefight too? Being able to mix it up when it comes to enemies would go a long way in keeping Firefight feeling fresh.
More Match Types
The Warzone Firefight beta featured five rounds in which players had to complete a variety of objectives against a ticking clock. This is all well and good, but it didn’t truly feel like a Horde mode.
As I mentioned above, my idea of a Horde mode is to survive as long as possible in one spot against wave after wave of enemies until your overrun, and it’s a mode I would like to see included in Warzone Firefight, alongside a few other variations.
Rather than just completing a series of objectives in five minute windows, give us the option to decide how long each round will last for, or to do away with the timer altogether in favour of limited lives and score attack modes.
343 could even look to Reach’s Firefight mode for inspiration, where players could take on waves of Grunts in Gruntpocalypse and also included the brilliant RocketFight, which allowed players to go crazy with infinite ammo Rocket Launchers in a Firefight setting. The return of this mode or one similar would be most welcome, and could be even better with REQ variants adding new twists to Rocket Launchers like extended magazines and rockets that explode in all directions after impact.
Choosing Firefight’s difficulty would also be nice to see. The difficulty during the beta seemed to fluctuate between incredibly easy and frustratingly hard depending on the objective location and which type of enemy you were facing. One example being Hunters holed up in a building and defended by Covenant troops, who were very tough to break through.
Allowing people to choose how arduous they want their Firefight experience from the classic Halo options of Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary would appeal to players of all abilities, from those looking for some casual Covenant slaughter to others who want to face off against Legendary AI.
Those were just a few of my thoughts on how 343 could improve the Warzone Firefight experience upon full release. Do you agree with my ideas, or was there something I missed? What would you like to see included in Firefight when it returns?
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