Welcome, Spartans. During E3 I took part in something called the “Halo 5: Guardians” E3 Experience which featured some hands-on with Halo 5 Guardians newest multiplayer mode, Warzone, along with a really cool Hololens demo which made me look to our augmented reality future.
As I entered a mock UNSC military facility inside of the massive Microsoft booth I was greeted by a handful scientists who addressed me as “Spartan Jorge.” They then fitted me with a wireless Hololens headset, After some small adjustments to accomodate my oddly shape head. I needed to look at a set of lights to calibrate my headset reminiscent of what Master Chief did in the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved and and Halo 2.
The idea was to have my headset mimic the heads up display you’d find in a Spartan’s helmet. This whole thing felt like the beginning of a universal Studios attraction. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more of these Hololens presentations at more Microsoft 1st party events.
A few moments after putting on my headset an objective marker appeared in my heads up display with a distance of ten meters which lead me down a narrow corridor. When I got close enough to my objective, an arrow appeared in front of eyes towards a briefing room with a large console in the center. In this room were other Spartans (aka E3 attendees) received our mission orders from Spartan Palmer, one of Halo 4’s protagonists, explained to to us how to new mode Warzone work via hologram that appeared on the console.
In real-time we were presented an overview of the map with various points of interest and objective. The maps came to life right before our eyes. It was a really impressive showcase of the sort of different ways Hololens could enhance the immersion your gameplay experience in the future.
343 Industries and Microsoft took something boring like a gameplay tutorial and made it feel like something out of your favorite sci-fi flick.
Here’s what I got see through my Hololens:
I was disappointed that after the briefing you had to give back our head sets before we were put in a room where we actually to to play some Halo. I would loved to see how else Microsoft can incorporate Hololens into the intense action of a first person shooter.
Warzone is a 12 v 12 objective mode duke it over territories on a giant map that make Big Team Battles look like child’s play.
There are two ways to win in Warzone, score a 1000 victory points by capturing bases, killing “boss” npcs and basically doing anything positive for your team or taking out the opposing team’s core at their home base. The core reveals itself once you nab all the all the neutral bases on the map.
If you find yourself getting hammered by the opposing team, you can try to going after one of these bases for big points. These bosses appear with a small vanguard throughout the map usually by a via dropship. A losing team can easily turn things around by hunting down as of these bosses as possible of all varying difficulties. These bosses aren’t pushovers though, especially the ones in vehicles. You often need a small group in order to take them out.
As you accumulate Victory points you can translate your hard work into unlocking some awesome toys at requisition stations inside your base. The more VP you have the better gear you have access too. You can even call down down vehicles like warthogs, banshees and the new promethean vehicle, the Phaeton, which is so powerfully badass you might as just head in the other direction once they show up on the battlefield.
Each successfully captured base gets populated with A.I marines that will defend your base as you push forward. If they get wiped out you only have a few moments to save your base.
In some ways Warzone feels like a Halo MOBA where your team is essentially farming creep kills in the form of angry alines as you try gain enough resources to unlock of the more powerful equipment like rocket launchers, sniper rifles and even vehicles.
My favorite moment from my demo was hopping into a mech and just obliterating everything my path until a pesky Phaeton got behind me with its stupidly powerful bomb ending my savage killing spree. A few shots from a teammates rocket launcher avenged my reckless death.
Warzone is a hectic big team mode with some interesting changes to the typical online shooter formula. I can’t wait to see what else 343 Industries has in store for us this fall.