I Tasted Halo's HoloLens Future, and I Want More

LOS ANGELES—I don’t know if we’ll ever get a Halo game built for Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, but I now know that I want one. Right before playing some Halo 5: Guardians at the Xbox E3 booth, I was given a short, yet awe-inspiring HoloLens mission briefing that made me feel like I was actually aboard Master Chief’s ship.

“Welcome, Spartan,” said one of several men in white lab coats, who stood in a room that simulated the look of one of Halo’s USNC carriers. After having my eyes measured by some sort of calibration device, a booth representative had me put on a HoloLens and proceed down the hall. That’s when things got nuts.

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As soon as I got up, I saw a holographic objective marker that looked exactly like the ones in the Halo games. After following the marker down the hallway, I looked outside at my ship’s hangar. In real life, I was simply looking at a wall, but with HoloLens on, that wall became a window that let me watch my fellow marines prepare for battle.

I eventually ended up in a mission briefing room, which felt like something out of The Avengers’ Helicarrier. The circular table in front of me provided a holographic look at our ship, and I was able to highlight different parts of the vehicle by controlling a reticle with my head. Soon after, a hologram of Spartan Sarah Palmer appeared to tell us about Warzone, Halo 5’s crazy new 12-on-12 multiplayer mode.  

We then got a virtual look at the map we were about to do battle on, as Palmer highlighted the arena’s key areas. Palmer explained the rules of Warzone, and showed us holograms of some of the threats to look out for, including an imposing Covenant Hunter enemy that swung its massive arm in my direction.

From there I got to play some Warzone, an exciting new addition to Halo 5’s multiplayer suite that has teams battle both each other and AI adversaries across sprawling maps. For more on Warzone, check out our detailed hands-on breakdown.

The HoloLens portion of my Halo 5 demo was brief, but I wound up fascinated by what could be done using Microsoft’s unique mixed-reality headset. I’ll always want to play the core Halo games with a good old controller, but I would love some sort of supplementary experience that turns my living room into a place to shoot up aliens. Microsoft already showed us that Minecraft is going to be pretty awesome with HoloLens, and Halo would be an obvious next step.

Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. When he's not writing about games, PCs and iOS, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter. Follow Mike at @MikeAndronico. Follow us@TomsGuide, onFacebook and onGoogle+.

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