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by Stella Yan on Apr-09-16 13:52
Firefight. The word brings back intense memories for Halo players like me, who spent hours and hours fighting off wave after wave of Covenant forces when the mode was first introduced back in Halo 3: ODST. I was in college then, and much of what I remember about my nights and weekends were those times when, side by side with my roommates on the couch, we vigorously cursed the endless enemy AI or celebrated our momentary victories over the alien threat with high fives and an inordinate amount of yelling.
Firefight holds a special place in my heart. It’s tied so closely to a formative time in my life that hearing of its return is both exciting and unnerving – after all, what happens if it isn’t as cool as I remember it? But, after heading to 343 Industries’ headquarters in Redmond to go hands on with the mode, let me be the first to tell you: it’s a blast.
New and Improved
Warzone Firefight is Firefight, except with brand new objectives, mechanics, and a much bigger scope. Now an 8-player cooperative PVE mode, you and seven of your Spartan friends take on increasingly difficult waves of AI-controlled enemies over five rounds of objective-based mayhem. The goal is to complete each round’s objective within the five-minute time limit. That means no more life saving.
As you progress through the match the three objective variants get progressively harder. In one round you might have to destroy a couple of very difficult boss AI units like Hunters or Promethean Knights, in another you’ll have to defend your base against swarms of enemies as they try to capture it, and in yet another round you’ll have to scour the map to find and eliminate a certain number of a particular type of enemies -- all while fighting off the random spawns of aggressive enemies gunning for you and your team. If at any point you fail to achieve the round’s objective, your team loses the match right then and there.
The Spoils of War
Alternatively, each round completed grants you and your team experience points, requisition points, and requisition energy, in greater amounts depending how many rounds your team completed, how much time you took, and your final score. In this mode, efficiency is your goal: the faster you complete objectives and the more enemies you kill, the more requisition energy you get which allows for better weapons and vehicles, which helps you complete objectives faster and kill more enemies. It’s a very satisfying gameplay loop. After a few rounds, you’ll never want to waste a second.
Requisitions help you and your team deal with all this mayhem. Like in Warzone, players have access to their requisition library, which means that you can coordinate with your team to call in power weapons, armor boosts, and vehicles to help achieve your objectives. You definitely want to do this. Numerous times during my hands-on demo, I found myself waiting to see what objective would pop because it would directly inform how I decided to spend my requisition energy.
The objectives in this mode are difficult and time consuming, so the last thing you want is to be useless, and calling in the wrong weaponry or vehicle can render you just that. When I called in a Mantis on a defend-the-garage objective round and couldn’t get line of sight on any of the base’s top-floor enemies, I was useless. But I absolutely cleaned house on a seek-and-destroy round with a warthog and a ghost, because they’re highly mobile vehicles capable of high, sustained damage on strong targets and running over groups of smaller ones.
Speaking of Legendary…
The newest and most game-changing addition to Warzone Firefight is the introduction of Mythic bosses. Appearing only on the fifth round, they’re extraordinarily strong boss units with special abilities and a ridiculous amount of health requiring your entire team of Spartans to coordinate power weapons and vehicles in order to bring them down. And you still only have five minutes. To give you an example, the Warden Eternal can shoot multiple lasers at once, and as if that’s not bad enough, it also shoots black holes that kill you on contact. Mythic bosses are awesome to fight, even more awesome to kill, and stressful when your team is out of position with the timer running out.
In the End
Every second that you’re not actively contributing to your team puts them under the gun. Make no mistake, this mode makes communication and teamwork a requirement– it’ll be damn near impossible to “lone wolf” it and carry your team to victory by virtue of your legendary skill. Players who enjoy working collaboratively to maximize efficiency using a wide range of weapons and vehicles, you’ll find yourself right at home, while those who’d rather put the team on the back of their battle rifle, will find Warzone Firefight to be a tough and unforgiving road.