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halo 5 guardians launches big team battle free update

Halo 5: Guardians

If you’ve been clamoring for Big Team Battle in Halo 5: Guardians, clamor no longer. Four new Forge-made remakes of classic Big Team Halo maps return in the Battle of Shadow and Light, a free update that brings large-scale, 8v8 multiplayer across Slayer, Capture the Flag, and Strongholds. 48 new REQs have also been added, with new items being gradually added to the drop tables over time, rather than all 48 being immediately available in REQ packs. There’s some tweaks to SWAT as well, with an increased spawn timer and friendly fire disabled, to ease some of the more frustrating aspects of the mode; namely, spawn-killing and team-killing.

The four maps are the main star of the show here, with each of the four being a recreation (or tribute) of a classic Halo Big Team Battle map in Halo 5: Guardians‘ expanded Forge toolset. While partially here to give folks Big Team Battle, they’re also meant to demonstrate the capabilities of 343 Industries’ new Forge tools by bringing together three “Master Forgers” (Nokyard, The Psycho Duck, and The Fated Fire) to design these maps from the ground up using Forge assets. In a sense, they’re here to motivate you to experiment and create truly incredible maps in Forge when the mode debuts in next month’s content update. And since you’re probably curious to hear about the maps while you download the rather large update, here’s my personal assessment of the four maps, now available in the Big Team Battle playlist in Arena.

Halo 5: Guardians

Basin is a tribute to maps like Halo: Combat Evolved‘s Blood Gulch and Halo 3‘s Valhalla, with two bases on opposite sides of a box canyon (in the middle of nowhere, naturally), each facing a tower in the center of the map that provides a decent vantage point for either team. Craggy terrain makes navigation a bit of a pain, but there’s a strong emphasis on vehicles here while infantry flanks through the caves on the left or right sides of the map. Man cannons help infantry reach the tower almost immediately after spawning, causing some intense clashes around the center of the map. Cloak spawns in the cave left of Red spawn, and either team starts with a sniper rifle. There’s good symmetrical design, though the generous blast radius of Halo 5’s grenades tends to lead to pushing the caves more trouble than it’s worth. The Rocket Hog also seems like an odd choice, as it often makes travel from one side of the map to the other a cinch if the enemy doesn’t immediately focus on your vehicle. Its ability to clear out waves of infantry and vehicles is also alarming, especially considering the map isn’t actually very big for such a mobile vehicle. That said, Basin is an excellent map for fans of classic Halo CTF matches, and it plays pretty well in Strongholds, too.

Halo 5: Guardians

Deadlock is a remake of Standoff from Halo 3, and it’s without a doubt my least favorite map in the update. The first problem will become immediately evident upon walking outside your base: there’s barely any cover at all, meaning the enemy team probably already has sights on you. Because players start with an assault rifle and battle rifle in Big Team Battle modes, being shot from across the map by an enemy still camping at their base is extremely common. The reason Deadlock doesn’t work as a map for BTB is because of the nature of Halo 5: Guardians‘ battle rifle versus Halo 3‘s. In Halo 3, the battle rifle fired projectiles, meaning you had to lead your shots in order to hit your target. In addition, the BR had random spread after the first bullet, resulting in long-range bursts doing little more than an initial poke before whiffing the other two bullets. Halo 5‘s BR doesn’t have that problem, as it’s both hitscan (bullets hit instantly) and barely recoils at range. It’s simply too easy for one (or both) teams to park on either side of the map in Big Team Slayer or Big Team CTF and pick each other off, leading to””ironically enough””a deadlock between the teams.

Halo 5: Guardians

Guillotine is a remake of Halo 2‘s Headlong, a large map set in the sprawling metropolis of New Mombasa. While Halo 5: Guardians certainly doesn’t have the forge assets to bring back the visual flair of Halo 2‘s map (and definitely the previous remake of the map, Breakneck, in Halo: Reach), Guillotine is by far the most faithful recreation of a map in Battle of Shadow and Light. In fact, because Guillotine sticks so closely to its roots, I actually enjoyed it the most. A Spartan Laser parked at the highest point in the map provides a means of deftly taking out the single banshee available on the map, and a ghost parked in the back is easily accessed to cause destruction on the streets below. That said, the addition of the ground pound means a more defensive, slow-going ghost driver may want to stick to more open areas in order to avoid being smashed into little bits by Spartans doing their best War Boy impression (witness him!).

Halo 5: Guardians

Recurve, otherwise known as “does anyone actually have any nostalgia for this map?”, is a re-imagining of Halo 4‘s Longbow (it’s a bow pun, because of course it is), and the odd one out in Battle of Shadow and Light. Recurve is by no means a bad map, rather a very strange re-imagining of a Halo 4 map that wasn’t terrible, but certainly not memorable. Recurve is essentially Longbow designed in a way that encourages engagements are close-to-medium ranges, with power weapons like the Spartan Laser and Rocket Turret proving competent means of dispatching enemy vehicles. Recurve isn’t a fantastic map, but if you’re looking for a more traditional Big Team Battle experience, it’s the way to go. My biggest issue with it is that Recurve is aesthetically a tie-dyer’s nightmare. Each base is toned with deep blues or reds, and the pink sky on top of the plastic-y looking metal along the walls of each base winds up making everything stick out like a sore thumb. And while it’s not bad for navigation, it’s definitely extremely distracting””this map is garish as hell. Guillotine isn’t a looker, but Recurve was the only map that had me taking a break after a single match, not because it wasn’t fun (it was!), but because my eyes hurt.

And that concludes that overview. You’ll find a full list of additions and changes on Halo Waypoint. When you boot up Halo 5: Guardians, you’ll be prompted to download the update. In other words, don’t fret if you don’t see any DLC in your games library, because that’s not where it’ll be found.

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