Big Team Battle has always been a staple of the Halo experience right from the very start and it was rather odd to see it being completely left out at the launch of Halo 5. I understand they were trying to push the new Warzone experience which offers larger scales of battle and Big Team Battle would get in the way though I'm not sure everyone loves Warzone. While I did find the mode alright for playing a bunch of matches in it really wasn't something I really ever fully loved to play. It only made be long for BTB and sent me back to The Master Chief Collection. Big Team Battle is a mode I've just always enjoyed playing whether that be by myself or with others and if you follow the statistics for the playlists it's usually the top played mode. Which is why I'm really glad that it has returned and thought it would be good to write about this first offering of the mode since it wasn't around to be part of my review.
When Big Team Battle was first announced just a couple weeks back at this time I was personally quite worried as were many other people with the choice of screenshots presented. The screenshots in question really didn't do the levels they were showing off any justice and made it look rather awful. They were giving off a crappy plastic vibe with what looked like small arenas of battle which made me almost write off the mode entirely. While it's impressive they were able to create content so quickly in regards to making BTB happen I still am not perfectly satisfied with the offering since it's something that has been a part of every Halo title in the past. Thankfully the maps were presented much better than their images and I've added some other screenshots into this article that hopefully present these forged maps in a better light in comparison of those original images. With the launch we're presented with four forged maps from well known and respected forgers within the community so I knew these must be better than how they announced them. Luckily that was the case and for the most part these maps bring the best elements of Halo forward while still having a great environmental feel to them.
The first map is "Deadlock" which was inspired by Halo 3's Standoff which in my opinion is possibly one of the best maps in Halo if not the best. It pits two bases on opposite ends while having a bit of a creased in pathway across the middle that divides them. This map captures Standoff well enough and preserves many of the lanes despite having a wider, more open feeling to the already empty spaces. The second map was "Basin" which is inspired by Halo 3's Valhalla though it doesn't quite capture the spirit of the original map and goes off on its own. I actually thought this map was decent enough, but didn't like that it was compared to Valhalla which is a better map and it stands on its own quite well. The third map is "Guillotine" inspired by Halo 2's Headlong which somehow manages to perfectly capture the spirit of the original map. In regards of remaking the experience I was thoroughly impressed as it still has the same lanes, designs and feel of the original in just a more open atmosphere in terms of the movement present. The final map is "Recurve" inspired by Halo 4's Longbow which was the large and popular snow map. It brings a similar cold feeling taking place within the mountains though this map doesn't capture that original spirit and honestly wasn't a very good map in general. Things feel cramped with the lanes being tiny and the teams just clash awkwardly in these small spaces.
Overall I have enjoyed the many matches I've played thus far within the Halo 5: Guardians Arena matchmaking and it generally works well. Personally I think Halo 5 is a tad awkward for BTB as it doesn't seem to flow as well compared to past titles. It might be the speed, movement or generally that the maps weren't large enough being forge maps to accommodate the mode. I still had fun while playing, but at this point it just doesn't have the same spark as in past titles. I hope with the free future DLC that we see some proper maps created, but at this point it doesn't provide the same feeling as the past titles. It's also worth noting that many interesting forge aspects are shown in these maps so I look forward to seeing the full release of Forge into Halo as well whenever that releases.
Impressions Made on Halo 5: Guardians in November 2015
Halo 5: Guardians Review