Halo 5’s new Warzone multiplayer mode wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if it suffered from the sort of connection issues that plagued The Master Chief Collection months after launch. So far, so good.
Earlier this week Stephen Totilo posted his early impressions of Halo 5: Guardians, subtitled “Mediocre Campaign, Promising Multiplayer.” The “promising multiplayer” bit he was referring to was Warzone, a competitive mode for up to 24 players. It’s a combination of base defending and objective capturing, with some AI enemy targets to take down in case you weren’t busy doing something else.
Now that Halo 5 is in the hands of the general populace, any number of things could go wrong—server stress, lag, disconnects, spontaneous combustion—but so far we’re so good. I’ve been playing the 24-player Warzone competitive mode on and off since late last night, and the experience is still just as enjoyable.
I managed to capture an entire match, and it definitely was not the third match I played this morning after losing the first two. That would be silly.
It’s a slightly different experience, playing against real players with real skill instead of members of the gaming press. That’s not to say members of the gaming press do not have real skill. They’re just a bit more gentle about it.
But that’s fine. With 18 to 24 players running about there’s a good chance no one will notice the one guy racing circles around the map alone in his Warthog while others attempt to capture key locations or defeat AI enemies for points. Especially if your team is the first to 1,000 points or destroying the other side’s base. Winning is forgiving.
The experience, as seen in the video above, is still silky smooth and relatively lag free. The only place I really noticed significant slowdown was opening card packs—not exactly an action that requires a steady 60 frames per second. Those cards are used to unleash special weapons, vehicles and power-ups during the match based on how many points your side accrues, and that part works flawlessly.
I brought in a couple of Ghosts and Warthogs using my collected cards, on top of using one pre-match to boost my experience points. The end result of all of this is a win screen...
...a promotion with the accompanying new set of requisition cards...
...and a player eager to get back into the action. Thank goodness there aren’t any other big-name competitive first-person shooters coming out this fall.