If there’s one controversial topic to rule them all when it comes to Halo, it’s the use of sprint. There are just as many people that are content with the feature and those that will yell their heads off about how it doesn’t belong and causes issues when it comes to engagements and running away. While we’re still more than a month away from the release of the multiplayer beta, 343 seems to be moving in the right direction when it comes to addressing the issue with sprint and keeping it fun for the whole community. Before you go cringe at the fact that there is now infinite sprint in Halo 5 for the multiplayer beta, there is a new balancing aspect to the game that, given my hands-on time with the game seems to actually address many of the community’s concerns.
Fictionally, there shouldn’t be anything keeping a Spartan from sprinting into and away from battle and we’ve seen it numerous times in cut scenes, novels, videos, etc. and while something may be fictionally accurate, it doesn’t mean it always translates to a balanced gameplay element for multiplayer. Strangely enough, the implementation of sprint in Halo 5: Guardians is already a lot better than it’s Halo: Reach and Halo 4 armor ability counterparts and the key difference behind this change is the fact that you cannot recharge shields at all while you sprint. In fact, there is now a Shield Stun bar just above the shield that is usually invisible to players but was introduced as this gameplay element was introduced. Every time you take fire or start sprinting, the shield stun timer resets, which is typically about five seconds. There is no more running away from battles without a careful consideration for risking to sprint away or hunkering down and recharging your shields.
Playing on Team Slayer on Truth and Empire, the effect of not having shields recharge after sprinting had almost immediate consequences. When I would normally be able to run from battle and find cover, now I had to change my tactics to walk to the nearest cover I could find so I know my shields would start recharging sooner. I ran into situations where I would sprint from one area of the map only to find more opponents lurking nearby to finish me off wherever I decided to stop. My tactics changed from using sprint all the time to using sprint only on the offensive or, if I knew I was far enough away from opponents, risking the additional delay in my shield’s recharging. While I don’t know if this the solution to the sprint issue, it seems the changes they have made so far addresses a lot of the community’s concerns, not to mention these have been tested by 343 Industry’s pro team.
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