Saturday, 20 December 2014


As of 10pm GMT yesterday, Gamertroll has been engrossed in 343 Studio's surprise one day only 'early access'  to the multiplayer Beta, still due to start properly on the 29th of December and continuing through to mid January, available to all those lucky gamers who bought Halo: The Master Chief Collection. 

There's two maps to start, with additional maps to follow each week of the Beta reportedly reaching a total of 7. The two initial offerings are 'Truth' and 'Empire'. Whilst Gamertroll doesn't recognise 'Empire', it is clear that 'Truth' is a reworking of the classic 'midships' map of old.

Apart from the rousing musical score the title screen so far provides little more than a hub for superficial customisation and stat viewing. Press start is the way to go.

Despite some waits and troublesome premature ejections from game lobbies, Gamertroll is happy to report Halo 5 beta is running fairly comfortably at this early stage. You'll hardly have to wait more than 5 minutes to matchmake which is far better than the 20 minute shenanigans found getting into the recent 'Evolve big Alpha' test.

It's very early doors for this game, with the final release still many months off, but already big changes can be seen to gameplay from previous Halo titles. An immediately obvious difference comes with the added mobility functions. There's a dash which can be employed in a variety of innovative ways by the more cunning of players. The sprint is also a big game changer which also adds another layer of strategy: should you sacrifice your shield energy recharge to boost an attempt to flee an overwhelming assault or find a place nearby to recharge and push back on the offensive?

Other notable modifications to
movement include a combat slide and a surprising jump mantle which allows you to scale higher platforms than previously, much like a far easier version of crouch-jumping but with a proper animation.

Scarred armour options.. Me like.
More controversial perhaps is that 343 have opted to overhaul the initial control layout. The swap around is causing havoc amongst Halo veterans at this stage because gamers are just hurled into the Beta with no idea where their grenade button is! After much swearing and gnashing of teeth, Gamertroll found that grenade throw is now mapped to LB button, LT trigger now functions as your standard zoom-aim, X is reload, RB is melee attack and B button now manages your Boost, evades and strikes. (*A friend has since pointed out that if you go to the control options screen 'swap out' from default to 'Halo 4' layout you get a far more classic Halo control scheme. Gamertroll tried, tested and liked).

In regards to the ranking system, 343 are choosing to stay with the Halo 2-centric approach of Dynamic Ranking. Hammer your foes and your online rank will soar, play like a tit or have a bad run and your rank will actually retreat. Brutal. 

Judging by this Beta and today's welcome announcement that Halo: ODST will be gifted next year to early adopters of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, It's clear 343 are trying to make amends for the very public gaffs made with HMCC's multiplayer service. 
Sounds great.. Give us those Freebies and roll on Halo 5 Guardians because it's looking good so far.

Here's a short clip of Gameplay from earlier today capturing a Gamertroll Killing Spree!

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