When it was first conceived, Halo 3: ODST's Firefight mode drew some obvious comparisons between it and Gears of War's Horde mode. At its core, it's just a mode where you fight off increasingly harder waves of enemies until you perish; hardly a revolutionary concept but one that is fun to play through once in a while. By the time Halo: Reach had released, Firefight had become much more fleshed out, offering all sorts of modifiers and parameters to customize your Firefight experience.
Unfortunately, Firefight was absent at the initial release of Halo 5: Guardians, but 343 Industries has since reintroduced the mode (albeit in a beta stage, as of now). Naturally, this means that Firefight had to undergo some tweaks.
No holding back now...
The first of many changes that should be obvious the moment you select the mode is that you will be fighting with seven other players. Needless to say, this makes Halo 5's version of Firefight much easier compared to previous versions of the gametype. Throw in the fact that you can use your entire arsenal of sniper rifles, Scorpion tanks, and pretty much everything else that you can get from the REQ system and you've got what may be the easiest form of Firefight ever.
There isn't really a penalty for dying. You don't share a pool of lives, Skulls do not activate after every round, and there's only five rounds, so it's definitely not a challenge by any stretch of the imagination. The only stipulation is that you do have a time limit for each round, and each round has an objective you must complete that ranges from killing a certain number of Crawlers, to defending a certain point, to wiping out all of the bosses in an area.
In theory, it may sound like you can just call in a horde of tanks and steamroll the objectives, but at least the enemies don't always spawn in locations that are vehicle accessible. Plus, your enemies aren't always just a bunch of Crawlers and Jackals. While earlier waves may have some Knights or Elites to back up your standard assortment of cannon fodder enemies, later waves (especially boss waves) may include Incineration Cannon wielding Knights or even the Warden Eternal (again). Needless to say, even though you can beat the whole match by just standing there and letting your teammates do all the work, you can actually die from getting overwhelmed by numbers or simply catching an Incineration Cannon round with your face.
It's raining XP!
On the bright side, this does make it almost trivial to complete some of the Commendations for killing certain enemies. Both Covenant and Forerunner enemies make an appearance, and there are plenty of enemies for eight people to share. Plus, it's a fairly safe place to test out some of the REQ cards that you have an abundance of.
As you can probably expect, the fact that this new version of Firefight is so easy (at least until 343 decides to change it) makes it great for people who just want to have a casual match with their friends or people who want to slowly ease into the more competitive multiplayer side of Halo 5 by getting acquainted with how all the weapons feel. Unfortunately, it's not going to give you the same memories of being the last one alive and hiding in a room, hoping that a Hunter doesn't show up to ruin your day, but it's a nice reminder nonetheless.
Fortunately, you have until the 20th to try out Firefight for yourself, so you can see whether or not it is actually one of the easiest fights of all time. Who knows, maybe 343 will make it significantly harder after the beta period is over, or maybe the difficulty is just right for a matchmade activity that is intended to last 10-15 minutes.
Are you going to be diving into Halo 5's version of Firefight during its beta period? What are you favorite Firefight memories? Answer these questions in the comments below!