With the Halo 5 Beta, 343 gave us Breakout, an entirely new multiplayer type. The game is simple enough, a 4v4 death-match, but with a few small tweaks. First, the game is a race to win 5 rounds, each round lasting up to 2 minutes, though in my playtime the rounds were usually done in a minute or less. Second, each player is allotted one death per round, meaning if you die; you’re out until the next round. Once dead, you become a spectator for your team, allowing you to watch the match from a teammate’s POV.
Each round starts off with all 4 players sprinting into a small arena, with each team on opposite sides of the map. The starting load out is an SMG, pistol and standard grenade. Alternate weapons are limited on this map to a BR or assault rifle, and usually one per side. The map puts extra grenades in the middle, which causes some quick firefights or an easy kill for a cunning player.
So far, only two maps have been shown for Breakout, both with a Tron type of feel. The lack of aesthetic detail frees ups 343 to really have fun with the arena geometry, cover, and sight lines. Long elevated sight lines are pretty limited, and where they’re available, they provide almost no cover. Maps aren’t symmetrical, meaning each side feels unique and has its own sets of cover and paths.
This has been the highlight of the beta so far, giving 343 the chance to get creative with gameplay types. Here, mobility and teamwork are paramount, and I found myself using the dash, sprint, and slide mechanics constantly. Teamwork is essential, and intelligent gameplay prevails over grenade spamming or twitch reflexes. The weapon load out forces close quarters firefights, and the single death per round keeps the game taught. A few times I’ve been the “Last man standing” (last on your team with multiple enemies) or the round has gone down to a “Duel” (1 on 1), and these have been some of the most fun and heart-pounding moments of any Halo multiplayer type. The added feature of being watched when you’re one of the last surviving players on your team adds even more pressure to the match.
This game mode is fun, addictive, and the most enjoyable MP I’ve played since SWAT. 343 have been very open about getting the competitive community back into Halo multiplayer, and this game mode is a definitely a step in that direction.
Written by Jake Passot