After another galaxy rescue, what else to do? This is a problem the Halo franchise has faced since Bungie completed the original Master Chief trilogy and Microsoft handed over the reins to 343 Industries.
The developer had a large pair of shoes to fill in and an even bigger puzzle when it came to uncovering a story worthy of the legendary Spartan’s past exploits. Team 343 experimented with different concepts, introduced new characters, and expanded the mythology. The results were mixed, but it paid off.
This is Halo Infinite. Taking the third hit in the main episode, 343 finally creates a new, unique and unique adventure. This success stems from skillful storytelling and a fresh approach to the open world. The game unexpectedly begins with the Master Chief being defeated after the Exiled alien faction destroyed the UNSC Infinity and scattered the remaining human forces.
The pilot of the Pelican ship Echo 216 rescues the Master Chief, but instead of fleeing, the Spartan returns to the shattered ring of the Zeta Halo. All of this disorientates returning players as they anticipated an encounter with Cortana, who would eventually become the villain of Halo 5: Guardians. They expected some kind of decision, but 343 are denying the players this immediate satisfaction.
By talking about the campaign in medias res or in the midst of things, the developers put players to work to figure out why the Halo ring was destroyed, how Cortana died, and why the exiles were focusing on this particular Halo setup. It’s a brilliant move, creating a storytelling that welcomes both newbies and veterans.
It also creates an organic path to explore as players enter the open world of Halo. While freedom can be overwhelming, 343 Industries sets up missions that guide players through a broken facility. The structure also features side missions that improve the Master Chief’s abilities and equipment for the upcoming battles.
In the ring, the Master Chief’s task is to rally the remaining UNSC troops, rescuing troops and destroying the exiles’ forward base of operations and strongholds. They can also search for Spartan Cores, which make the main character’s tools more powerful. Players discover a shield upgrade and four other abilities – Grappleshot, Threat Sensor, Drop Wall, and Thrusters.
Each force has its own application, although switching between them is difficult. Grappleshot is most useful not only because of its offensive and defensive capabilities, but also because it is a key component that players need to explore this large world. The tool acts as a fancy grappling grapple that can help the Master Chief climb mountains or travel to remote areas much faster. This can sometimes make players feel like Spider-Man. Meanwhile, the threat sensor is great for detecting hidden enemies or scouting ahead.
The last two, Drop Wall and Thrusters, focus on combat and become important later in the campaign when enemies are gathering and players need protection in order to destroy the attacks of the exiled or quickly escape from attacking enemies.
Players will also discover several new weapons and the ability to grab canisters of explosives to hurl at enemies. Think of it as an oversized grenade. All of this creates the feeling of a playground of combat, where players can experiment with abilities and weapons to find new tactics on the fly. Throw in an open-world environment, and it’s like Far Cry, but Halo Infinite leaves its mark on this shooter style with fun movement and combat abilities that make encounters less tiring.
The campaign itself is making good progress until the last two missions, which are bogged down in a parade of incessant gunfights. The confrontations take too long as players make their way to the final two bosses and the truth that unlocks the following chapters.
POLISHED MULTIPLAYER GAME
Satisfactory experience shows that the postponement was a good decision for Halo Infinite as 343 Industries refined and redesigned the project. Unsurprisingly, this effort manifests itself in multiplayer play as well.
Unlike Call of Duty Vanguard or Battlefield 2042, the online game Halo Infinite works great at launch, and it’s high quality that makes this part of the game stand out from the crowd. While his peers may feel rude or mercilessly chaotic, Halo’s online play is fluid and arcade-like. Players don’t have to worry about dropping a bullet or maintaining a kill streak, instead they can run and shoot as much as they want.
Abilities play a role in competition, but their role is more limited due to competitive advantage. The tools are disposable, they end up after a few uses. In terms of modes, players can find quick play with a series of five sets of rules including Capture the Flag, Assassin, and Citadel. The game also features Big Team Battle, which is a 12v12 mode, complete with vehicles, which is more chaotic. If that wasn’t enough, players also have special rulesets that change with the season.
The only problem with multiplayer is that progress seems to be slow. After each match, players are rewarded with experience, which allows them to level up the Battle Pass. They won’t get better weapons or perks with more play, but they will unlock cosmetic enhancements that make their Spartans stand out in battle. The problem is that it takes a long time to get good armor or a new color if players don’t buy it directly from the market.
It’s tedious and complicated, but it shouldn’t degrade the quality of the game, which seems like a renaissance of the franchise.
4 stars out of 4
Platform: Xbox Series X | S, PC