– James Orr
After a few weeks of anticipation, the beta for Halo 5’s incoming gamemode, ‘Warzone Firefight’ is out. While I enjoyed the introduction of Firefight in Halo 3: ODST, I wasn’t a huge fan of Halo: Reach’s firefight and loathed Halo 4’s version, Spartan Ops; but surprisingly, 343 Industries seems to have brought firefight back with all new bells and whistles.
Warzone Firefight doesn’t pit you against endless waves of enemies; rather you have five rounds that require your team to complete an objective within a time limit. These objectives can be hunting down a specific enemy type, defending a base, or defeating bosses. Only one map is currently available, Escape From ARC, with the other Warzone maps to follow upon the full release.
It’s fairly obvious that ARC weren’t really designed for Firefight, as once you move away from your seven team-mates the map feels too large and empty, even with the AI running around. Vehicle spawns can also be annoying. I once spawned a tank during the last round, only to be forced to drive it across the entire map to reach the objective. By the time I reached the destination, we were already fighting the final wave of enemies.
It seems 343i was aware of this when they designed the latest Warzone map, Skirmish at Darkstar. It’s a much more confined map and though I don’t particularly like that map for Warzone, I’m expecting it to be one of the better Firefight maps. If the mode had staggered zones, like in Warzone Assault, where a new part is unlocked as the round progresses, the maps might have a better flow on ARC. But at least the current method allows for a more dynamic game as you race through the map to complete your objectives.
Every match is a little different, with random spawns for enemies, as well as different objectives and bosses. One round I played ended with a battle against three Wardens out in the open, while another ended against a horde of Covenant within a base. It was interesting, and I would wait by a req station in anticipation to see what the next round would be, and what reqs I should call in to complete the match as fast as possible.
The Requisition system is another interesting addition to the Firefight formula, and one that seems to work quite well. Choosing a loadout gives players the flexibility to go with their own playstyle. Of course, the main downside is whoever the winner is will be whoever uses the best reqs. I know this because I’ve used a tank every match I’ve played and I have a 100% win ratio, even if I’m third or fourth for most of the match. But I can’t help it; it just feels great to ‘splode hordes of enemies with the Scorpion. I find tanks are actually a little too vulnerable against other players, so being able to use its full potential in Firefight is a welcome change. But like most players, I will likely save my rarest reqs for use in regular Warzone, where they can be used to gain the greatest advantage. There ain’t no way I’m using an Ultra Banshee to take out a few Jackals.
In the scale of things, my criticisms are very small. Warzone Firefight is fun and I’m looking forward to being able to play with the full map rotation. I have to commend 343i on their use of microtransactions to fund free DLC like this. My only real concern is whether Halo 5’s low population will have enough players to support a consistent experience in the full release. Maybe 343i will create a solo version. All you’d need is a tank.
The Warzone Firefight beta runs until Wednesday the 22nd of April at 3am AEST.