Microsoft's big 7GB free update to Halo 5 recently gave the game a new PvE mode called Warzone Firefight. You can watch a full match in the video above. Initial impressions: mixed, leaning positive. There's pros and cons.
You join up to seven other players for what will hopefully be five rounds of escalating action. Enemy waves drop in. You have a timer and a goal of which enemies to take out.
On the pro side, the game's signature REQ system works nicely. It works in Firefight the same way it does in the game's PvP Warzone mode. As you do well and as your team does well, you rank up in REQ level. At any moment during the match, you can go to a REQ terminal in the map and play any REQ cards that are are equal to or lesser in value than your rank.
So, for example, once I was REQ level five during the match in the video, I played a three-point card and was able to spawn in with this vehicle:
You collect cards by playing matches, by levelling up in the metagame and even just as a result of various Microsoft promotions. They even let you spend money on packs of random cards, but, really, if you've had the game and haven't touched it in a while, you'll find that you have a ton of free packs to open.
I hadn't touched the game in months and this was what was awaiting me last night:
The con is that, because the maps are scaled to allow for vehicle combat, they feel really empty when the Firefight mission starts. In the first couple of rounds, most players won't be able to spawn any vehicles, so you can't get around that quickly. Enemies will still drop in, though, and you need to clear them out before the round's timer expires. The problem is that sometimes the enemies drop really far away, and so you spend a lot of travel time getting to them.
That said, the progression of this kind of combat in the early rounds...
...to this kind of combat in the later rounds...
...is pretty cool. I'll be playing at least a little more Firefight to get more of that.
It might be possible to cut down on the slow parts of the early Firefight rounds if it turns out that enemies spawn in predictable locations. The slow start to Firefight matches could also be ameliorated by an extension of the late round action. Five rounds feels a bit short. Maybe they will extend that at some point.
Halo 5 is free right now on Xbox One, so if this intrigues you, give it a shot. Open your REQ packs before you start playing.