“It was dark. I knew I should be sweating, but my armor was working overtime to keep me cool. The armor wore heavily on me, but I had grown used to the feel. Felt weird without it, by then. I checked my ammo. Status: yellow. Enough to do more work, but not enough to be happy about. The other ODST’s reported similar statuses. Two were wounded from taking spiker rounds to their legs. We gave them a quick patch up, but they’d carry the scars for the rest of their lives. However long that might last. No telling when that damn Covenant onslaught would come to an end.
It was a Firefight if I’d ever seen one.”
Fast forward five years. We now fill the fabled Mjolnir suits instead of rough ODST armor, but our mission remains the same: stop the enemy, drive them back, and save Humanity.
The announcement of Warzone during the 2015 E3 Microsoft press conference was more than most expected. For those of you just joining the Halo 5 community, Warzone is a 12 vs 12 large-scale experience that blends combat against enemy AI such as the Covenant and Prometheans and the enemy Spartans, while injecting a mix of objectives to earn additional points throughout the match.
Since that announcement, which heralded the first time Halo multiplayer would feature AI enemies outside of the traditional Firefight modes from Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, the community has been pining for the return of a pure Firefight experience. One team of Spartans against wave after wave of enemy AI, until the match finished or the Spartans ran out of lives. Finally, after months of suspense and hopeful anticipation, our first publicly playable version is here.
The new Warzone Firefight brings a mixture of old and new. Each match consists of five rounds and each round is given a time limit. While the 8 players are gifted with infinite respawns, the match will come to an early end if the objective in each round is not completed within the allotted time. Players are offered a 30-second break in between each round to restock on ammo and call in REQ’s from their inventory. The time limits are set rather competitively, and I quickly realized that Firefight teams would need to work efficiently to handle the objectives within that time.
Experience on the battlefield quickly taught me that tearing through the weaker enemies such as the Grunts, Jackals, and Crawlers offered a quick increase in REQ levels, and by the time I had reached round 3 of any match, I was well-equipped to handle anything Firefight wanted to throw my way. My personal favorite is calling in a Banshee during the early rounds to provide air support for the players on the ground, which gave us a strong battlefield presence no matter the scenario. There is certainly a place for warthogs, rocket launchers, tanks, and the rest of the REQ inventory as well. The more punch you can pack, the quicker you’ll find your Firefight matches move along.
Each full match runs about as long as a regular Warzone match, if not a little faster. The REQ point payout is similar in size to a regular Warzone match as well, which could mean good news for those looking for an alternative way to grind out those prized REQ packs when Warzone Assault is becoming repetitive. Many feel as though the REQ payout should be higher to compensate for the encouraged use of REQ items during Warzone Firefight, but I’m happy with where the REQ payout is currently at.
Overall, I really feel like 343 Industries has put in the due diligence to bring Firefight back in a big way. The game mode definitely brings back the fun of using big guns to fight lots of aliens, and allowing this all to happen next to the customized Spartans of your friends and allies adds a new spice to that old, familiar flavor. I’m already planning a Firefight night with my friends, and I can’t wait to bust out that ONI Scorpion I’ve been too afraid to use in regular Warzone.
“Here I am again, enjoying the brief respite between waves of enemy forces. This time, though, my armor is weightless. It’s a part of me. My teammate is circling the air above with a Promethean Phaeton and the Spartan next to me is wielding a Gravity Hammer that’s almost bigger than she is.
I feel good. Refreshed. My tank is ready, the next wave of Covenant is landing, and I only have one question. How does 90 millimeters of tungsten strike you?”