Five Reasons To Get Excited About The 'Halo 5: Guardians' Multiplayer Beta

November 12, 2014

In just a few weeks Halo fans everywhere will get their first taste of Halo 5: Guardians, in the form of a three-week long multiplayer beta. When it's released at the end of December, players who have access via The Master Chief Collection will get a sampling of what the final game will have to offer, but even that comes with an abundance of updates and new features to look forward to. After spending some hands on time with the beta, we put together a list of our favorite things ... you know, aside from the obvious fact that players will get to dig into seven maps and three game modes in the brand new Halo multiplayer months before the game is released.

1. Community Voting

343 Industries truly want to incorporate fan feedback into the beta, and they are making a concerted effort to guarantee that players will have a voice in how everything plays out. In weeks two and three of the beta, the community will be able to vote on aspects of the beta that will influence the remaining weeks of play. While it will obviously be restricted only to content that is ready to test as part of the testing, the changing landscape of the game will offer incentive for fans to keep coming back to put the game through its paces.

2. Mobility Upgrades

Playing Halo 5 multiplayer is going to feel a lot different from previous games, as 343 have put a lot of work into making the Spartans more mobile on the field. For example, they can now sprint indefinitely around the board, or clamber up ledges. While running they can slide into cover at the touch of a button, or use their jetpacks to charge into foes for instakills. There's even a ground pound that can take out opponents from above. Each of these new upgrades incorporates balance components that help keep the matches fair. Whether it's not allowing your shield to recharge while you're sprinting, or making you a sitting duck while you're hovering to line up your ground pound, players will be forced to weigh the risk versus reward for their actions on the battlefield.

3. Smart Scoping

You may already know it as "iron sights," but in Halo 5 it's called "Smart Scope." Beta players will be able to use the left trigger to assist your aiming for every weapon in the game - even the energy swords. One nice touch is that you can use your Smart Scope in conjunction with your thrusters to pick off players from the air. Bringing up your Smart Scope while jumping will initiate a stabilizer that slows you down, and allows you to get your bearings in midair. From there, it's really up to you as to whether or not you're able to take out that guy across the map.

4. Unlocks Carry Over

It's a small feature that every beta and game demo should include, but frequently lack; unlocks from the Halo 5 beta will carry over into the final release. Whether it's body armor or helmets, if you get it while playing in January, it'll be waiting for you when Guardians hits store shelves. As a nice little bonus, additional unlocks for Halo 5 can also be found throughout The Master Chief Collection and the Halo channel.

5. Breakout

In a move that is sure to delight fans, the beta will feature the new mode, Breakout. It's a competitive, team-based, four-versus-four match, where the last man standing wins the round. The first team to win five rounds takes the match. While it may sound pretty straight forward, the difference is in the design of the map and the expeditious gameplay. Breakout is designed for small boards to keep the rounds fast and exciting, with players that are handicapped with lower shield strength to keep the pace up. Fundamentally, it feels very different than most traditional Halo modes, so it brings something really fresh to the table, and it really puts an emphasis on all of the new mobility features.

This is just a sample of the goodies that players have to look forward to when the beta starts on December 29. There are even more big (60 fps, dedicated servers) and little (a new energy sword, the Prophet's Bane, better match intros) things for beta players to appreciate while they put the beta through it's paces. If you're a Halo fan, and you have an Xbox One, there really isn't any better way to start off 2015 than sprinting your way through the new Breakout mode, sharpening your skills for when the game officially launches later in the year.