Halo 5: Guardians kicked off Microsoft's Xbox press conference this year, and while the gameplay shown was curiously brief, it builds on the Spartan Locke vs. Master Chief showdown that Microsoft and 343 Industries have been pushing so much over the past several months.
The Covenant -- or the "Storm" Covenant from Halo 4 -- appear to be weakened, helplessly slaughtered as Locke and his team of four Spartans move into an enemy base: a base that Master Chief has clearly already been through, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. The Prometheans, however, are stronger than ever, complete with new flying vehicles capable of annihilating Locke and his team with a barrage of machine gun-like light energy. On the ground, the Promethean Knights also appear to have undergone a redesign, streamlined and more reminiscent of Covenant Hunters.
But Master Chief and Locke have access to new gear, as well. The "Plasma Caster," which in its main mode fires a bouncing blast not unlike the Brute Shot, can be charged up to deliver a devastating explosion similar to a plasma grenade. A seemingly improved jetpack also allows Locke to move quickly between levels of the Covenant base, just seconds before it collapses from an enormous shockwave of energy. Through all the chaos, you can drop in and drop out of cooperative mode, although this will only be available via Xbox Live.
Of course, a Halo showcase wouldn't be complete without a look at multiplayer, and 343's Josh Holmes was onstage to give us a first look at a brand new mode: Warzone. Labeled as both player vs. player and player vs. "everything," the mode tasks 12 players with not only defeating the other team of 12 but, also defending against an onslaught of AI-controlled Covenant and Promethean enemies. Holmes notes that the environments for Warzone are four times larger than any previous Halo map.
Halo 5: Guardians launches exclusively for Xbox One on October 27.