Halo 5: Breaking Down Breakout

The Halo 5 Beta was available to owners of the Master Chief Collection and members of the press earlier this month, and I played it almost every day. Needless to say, I found it to be extremely fun.

The weapons were satisfying to use, the extra mobility made the game a joy to navigate, and the game modes present in the beta were solid. In this review, I’ll be talking about my favorite new game mode: “Breakout.”

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The clamber ability allows you to haul yourself onto platforms just barely out of reach. It is a GODSEND.

First made available during the second week of the Halo 5 Beta, Breakout is a new game mode that pits two teams of four players against each other in a competitive-style match. The rules are quite different from typical Halo multiplayer games:

  • Matches are a best-5-out-of-9 affair, and each round usually lasts 1-2 minutes.
  • There is no motion tracker (or “radar”) available.
  • Players always start with an SMG, a pistol, and one grenade (other weapons present on map).
  • Players that die don’t respawn until the next round begins.
  • The last team standing in each round is the winner of that round.
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The stages in Breakout look like futuristic paintball arenas, and are smartly designed with high risk/high reward areas.

Removing the motion trackers and the respawns are the key differences in Breakout, and what I found to make it so much fun.

Without motion trackers, the importance of communication gets turned up to 11. Teams must rely on each other to spot enemies. Even though the player avatars will automatically sound off on situations (also a godsend), they can’t keep up with a well-wielded headset.

Without the ability to respawn before the next round, players began to employ more methodical tactics. As each round began, I noticed that good teams settled into something of a battle line. Each team member watched each other’s flanks. This tactic counters any enemies that charge in recklessly because that attacker would almost certainly take fire from at least 2 defenders.

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To penetrate the lines, teams must flush their targets out of cover (explosives are great for this), or distract them while teammates go around to flank.

In real life, suppressing fire (keeping a target in cover by continuously shooting at them) is a very effective tactic. In FPS games suppressing fire doesn’t have the same effect since players do not face the threat of real death.

In Breakout, however, dying is the best way to make your team lose since a numerical advantage allows for easier flanking and superior map coverage. As a result, players almost never move out of cover until their shields are fully charged, and retaliation is difficult because being hit drops you out of the “aim-down-the-sights” feature.

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Technically, it’s called “Smart Scope.” In game lore, the helmet links to the weapon electronically to provide an aiming interface.

Halo 5 Breakout

Once I realized this, I began to experiment with suppressing fire tactics. It wasn’t very effective at pinning opponents, but it was good for distraction and flushing out players. Shooting at someone tends to grab their attention, and if they can’t effectively retaliate, they must choose to either stay under cover and be useless or reposition and take damage.

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Suppression like this only works if your opponent doesn’t have a superior weapon. For example, it’s almost impossible to use the pistol to suppress someone.

Breakout left me very excited for possible competitive Halo 5 events in the future. It looks fun to watch and fun to play. I can even imagine listening to teams communicating during matches and sounding like a movie.

“Move up, I’ll cover you!”

“Battle rifle, up high!”

“Grenade out!”

“Fall back!”

It would sound nerdier than a D&D game. Not that I would know anything about the nerdiness of D&D games.

Did you play the Halo 5 beta? What did you think of it? Are you hyped up for Halo 5? Do you hope the Spartan IV’s choke on their own douchiness too? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Halo 5: Breaking Down Breakout”

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