By Nader Hussien
Fans of the “Halo” series of video games were rewarded for their patience when the latest in the series, “Halo 5: Guardians,” was released on Oct. 27. This is the first “Halo” game to be released in almost three years, since the release of “Halo 4” in 2012.
“Halo 4” was the first game in the series to be developed by 343 Industries following the split between the original developer, Bungie, and Microsoft. There have been many changes to the gameplay of “Guardians” compared to previous games in the series. Most notably, 343 Industries did away with the split-screen campaign mode, which allowed multiple players to complete the game’s storyline on the same screen. Instead, cooperative campaign play has to be done online on different systems and televisions.
“I miss split-screen a lot,” said junior business administration major Daniel Hillgren, who is a former professional player of games in the “Halo” series.
Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D, a professor at the Byrd School of Business who does significant research in the fields of video games and electronic sports (Esports), echoed the nostalgia for the split-screen mode.
“One of the great things about all the other ‘Halo’ games that have come out is that you could play split-screen with someone else in your house,” said Gawrysiak, Ph.D, who is also an avid gamer and Halo fan. “It was very much a social experience.”
From the research point of view, Gawrysiak noticed that the newest “Halo” game is more popular with established fans of the series, with the storyline and gameplay too advanced for many new players.
“The more serious gamers tend to like it. The ones that play more casually, they don’t like it as much compared to the other ‘Halo’ games,” he said.
Gawrysiak demonstrated the strong following of the “Halo” series by referencing the great turnout at a tournament celebrating the release of the game at Press Start Video Games, a store with a branch in Winchester.
Probably the most positive feature of “Guardians” is the improved graphics, which is considered by many to be the best in the series.
“The graphics are incomparable to the other games in the series,” praised Hillgren. “It’s probably the best shooter I’ve played.”
With “Halo 5: Guardians” having just been released, opinions of the game are sure to change as players gain more experience, but will it ever reach the level of fandom as some of the earlier games in the series?