Okay, okay, I know most of you will catch my poor attempt at a pun. So I will promise that this will be my one and only Beyoncé Knowles reference in this article (hopefully). Over the last month, I’ve let loose over $120 to pick up the newest installments of Bungie Inc.’s Destiny: The Taken King (DTTK) and 343 Industries Halo 5: Guardians. I game with a couple of guys who are diehard fans of both. I also monitored the fanboy chatrooms for general comments. For both games, most of the fanboys were gushing like they had just watched Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Well I sat down for hours and played them both. My thanks to the Knights of the Nerd (Bunneh3000 and EdJohnsonNERD) and Dirtyhelmet (don’t ask) for great Halo 5 sessions.
For a lot of games you shell out for the game and if you think you’re going to play the multiplayer for a while, you get the season pass, which can cost almost as much as the game, so you can save on the bimonthly expansion packs. At this point, you’ve paid so much for one game you can’t play it, because you need to take on extra hours so you can still play your rent. Well hopefully this will help you determine whether you should work one or two extra shifts to pay for one or both of October’s video game offerings.
If you’re not familiar with the Destiny universe, you may want to hold off on buying this, that way me and the other 20+ million players won’t be able to whoop up on your posterior until you cry like my 3-year old niece. Just kidding…sort of. While the original and DTTK are sometimes marketed as a first person shooter, the appeal for me has and continues to be the open world mode. I enjoy roaming the solar system collecting materials to upgrade my armor and weapons and to practice my timing of my power moves, so I don’t die every 7 seconds in the multiplayer arena known as the Crucible. Like most multiplayer games the Crucible has several modes, essentially there are three of four, capture something, eliminate the other team, or Rambo-mode (i.e. you’re on your own against the world). There are various restraints to level things in game, but the truth is the better the weapon the more likely you are to survive, which is all you should do. The Crucible is the quickest way to level up and that may be necessary depending on the difficulty of the adventure you choose to undertake.
In the open world, each planet has several options – patrol, story, strike, and raid. The patrol mode is where you can get you’re hunting and gathering on. It’s also where you and whoever is nearby can engage in an Event, which can be the simple protection of a satellite from hordes of increasingly difficult foes or search and destroy a boss. The events can be difficult to complete alone, but it is doable. Another good solo opportunity is any of the story modes, which is a short adventure with a boss finale. The strike is similar to the story are designed to require cooperative play (usually 2-3), so you will enter matchmaking if you don’t bring your own fire team. Raids require full commitment and although you can go with less than 6 players, don’t do it unless you have several players at the highest level with legendary stuff.
I’m not sure why DTTK is not an expansion pack as it really only adds a mission or two on each planet, so some are not considering purchasing. But it is supposed to address complaints related to the reward system and the means to level up. Allegedly, it is also supposed to have a better story. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the original story or the new one proposed, but given all the game offers, I’m not sure it matters.
On the other hand if we’re talking story, the Master Chief is absent without leave (AWOL) to “rescue” his artificial intelligence (AI) construct Cortana. This version of Halo has a great premise, with a weak campaign. It’s short and relatively simple. The hardest part for me so far is my illogical desire to find all the hidden Intel in each mission. The campaign sort of reminds me of the Call of Duty campaigns, which are really intended to just teach you how to use the gear and weapons in the multiplayer. Speaking of the multiplayer, it has a new gimmick. In the Arena the teams are large 18 or more I think and you are awarded points that you can trade in for requisition (Req) packs. If you’ve played Titanfall or Battlefield 4 it is a similar concept. The Req packs contain upgrades to your avatar, your ID, and allows you to add to the basic load out, if your team has sufficiently leveled up. This is a great add-on in my opinion, because it prevents sniper camping the entire match, by requiring team success to determine weapon availability. In match, you can go to Req stations to redeem the cards you’ve obtain, provided your team has reached the right level and the cooldown period is over. Initially, I found the Req concept frustratingly complicated and not user-friendly. I even viewed the help video, but found it clever, but real helpful in understanding how to use Req in game. The other multiplayer modes are small team modes that you are familiar with and don’t use the Req stations, but are loads of fun with a well-balanced team.
My first experience with the first Halo was with some friends. I spent the entire first few matches in constant epic fail as I kept confusing the stick layout with that era’s Call of Duty. Apparently, in Halo 5 they have an alternate layout so for those of us who are playing all of the big games recently released at the same time, you don’t end up in the middle of the map in a crouch like you need to go #2 when you’re trying to sprint – not that something like that has ever happened to me. I miss the story-campaign mode that really advanced the story and allowed cooperative space alien homicide. However, if you’re a Halo enthusiast or just looking for a good game to play over the holidays, Halo 5 is a good choice. If I had to choose one over the other Halo 5 is still a solid classic, but 3 months from now, I’ll probably be pursuing my destiny with the Taken King.
E. Angel is an engineer and holds a BS in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. She’s a real nerd who loves all things Star Wars and Star Trek, and is an avid gamer. E.Angel can be reached email@example.com or on either game platform as Bunnehs Sister.