Once upon a time I was pretty good at Halo. Back when Halo 3 came out I used to pump as many hours into it as possible. Actually, my gaming time was pretty much split between Halo and COD at that time. Playing FPS's non stop will eventually get you to a decent level but playing competitive multiplayer is not like riding a bike, you'll never forget how to ride that bike but my God you do forget how to play Halo.
I just starting playing Halo 5, I signed up to Xbox Game Pass just to give it a bash. I hadn't played a competitive online game in nearly 2 years prior to signing up and it certainly shows. I am officially rubbish at it. Time has eroded all my skills and the journey to getting good has to start all over again.
I knew I was going to be at a major disadvantage from the word go. Halo 5 has been out since October 2015 after all and most people on there have a very good knowledge of both the map layouts and weapon placements. But I was confident enough that I could hold my own. I had blasted through the campaign first to get a good feel for the controls again, I'm a bumber jumper player and after an hour or so of the campaign I was getting back into the Halo groove. Or so I thought anyway. I very much like the new mini dash, it adds a new dimension to gameplay.
Once the campaign was finished with I decided to take the plunge. I began with a game of Big Team Battle because I was always pretty good at medium to long range shooting with the Battle Rifle in Halo 3. Soon after the game began I knew I was screwed, the first player I faced off against must of thought that I was trying to play while falling down some stairs. I literally couldn't hit a stationary target, my aim was everywhere, I was missing by miles, it was shocking. I finished that first game with no kills or assists and 22 deaths, I turned the Xbox off and went and got a beer, I needed something to cry into, I was horrified.
Halo has always been a game that requires a heck of lot of skill to play online, getting a perfect 4 shot kill is damn hard, getting them consistently takes lots and lots of practice. I have spent the best part of two years playing single player or co-op games, it's not as if I hadn't picked up a controller in that time but Halo is not something you can take an extended holiday from and then expect to still kick ass at when you decide to make your return. Not for me anyway, I'm finding that out the hard way.
I've been playing Halo 5 online for about 20 hours or so now, it's starting to come back to me bit by bit but each and every game is still a struggle. I'm not about making excuses here either, learning the maps, weapon placements, lines of fire and spawn points will all come in time. The ranking system seems flawed to say the least buy my biggest problem still remains my aim. I'm missing 3 out of 4 shots a lot of the time, I still get the odd "Perfect" and "Double Kill" but I'm shocked at how bad I've become, how off my aim is.
Look, practice makes perfect, I was never a top Halo player, my ranking for Slayer was 35 in Halo 3, but in 8 out of 10 games I would still come out with a positive KD ratio. From that level of play to where I'm at now is a massive step down. It hurts, but it is not over, not by a long way.
On the plus side, Halo 5 is an utter joy to play online. The movement, speed, weapons and maps, they are all well balanced and that's important. You see, even though I'm taking a pasting in most matches, learning how to play Halo all over again has been a sobering but brilliant experience. It's a similar feeling to the one I had playing Halo 2 online for the first time all those years ago. Excitement, heightened levels of concentration, sweaty palms and most importantly joy, Halo 5 is a bloody great online shooter. Plain and simple.
I will continue my struggle to become competitive again in Halo, maybe I'll see you out there. I'll be the one missing a lot and falling off the map. Don't feel sorry for me because some day soon I'll be back to my Halo best and kicking your ass. Maybe……hopefully.
Picture From gadgets.ndtv.com