Halo Infinite - Single-player Campaign Review
The Halo infinite single-player campaign, like a new generation of master chiefs, Mjolnir armor powers up a 20-year old series by both returning to its roots and blazing new trails to build off of. By shifting to an open world map while retaining the classic gameplay both on foot and in its iconic vehicles, it offers a level of freedom in combat not seen in any prior Halo game.
There's a lot to do in this expansive playground, and completing its never dull or overwhelming list of activities earns more combat options and, ultimately, more fun. It doesn't quite recapture the environmental variety or memorable story of the original trilogy, but it's still a thrilling return to form for one of gaming's most beloved series and for Master Chief himself.
The change from the traditional linear series of combat arenas to letting you freely explore the zeta halo ring where infinity takes place marks the first time developer 343 has broken from the blueprint that Bungie drew 20 years ago. All of that space proves to be a natural fit for what's always been a sort of sandbox style shooter at heart, where unexpected things happen in an infinite space.
That same thing is true on a grander scale, but you aren't dropped straight onto the ring and set loose instead. The first couple of the 25 hours I spent completing it on heroic difficulty take place indoors, and that intro works well as a way to get acquainted with Halo's literal new gameplay hook, the grapple shot, as well as the first of many delightfully challenging bosses.
And sure, the grapple shot might feel quite familiar if you've played games like Just Cause or Titanfall, but it feels right at home in Halo. It's a natural extension of the equipment idea introduced in Halo 3, and that's part of why Infinite's moment-to-moment gameplay feels most like a cross between Halo 1 and Halo 3, which is very much a good thing.
Meanwhile, the bosses make up many of Infinite's best encounters, excluding those that you organically create for yourself in Zeta Halo's sandbox. The first is a battle against the banished brute lieutenant Tremonius, and it showcases extra challenging ai that will require you to keep your wits about you, not just extra ammo in your back pocket.
Between his jetpack and his lightning quick ground pound attack, he'll rock you if you're not ready for it, and again, he's just the first of many who each have their own style. It's Halo's best implementation of boss fights yet. That warm-up serves as ample prep for what's next, and when you get out there in the open world, that's when the halo effect kicks in.
You'll encounter all sorts of opportunities to get into trouble on Zeta Halo, from rescuing groups of captured marines to letting's get out there, chief. I'm ready to take down propaganda radio towers, infiltrating massive banished strongholds and reclaiming unsc, forward operating bases, also known as fobs.
While there's nothing that feels wholly original, here Whether relative to games like Far Cry or just because the template fits Master Chief's style of jumping in and out of vehicles in a very natural way, the tasks are both varied enough and not so frequently repeated as to ever feel monotonous or annoying.
One thing that keeps Zeta Halo from feeling overwhelming is that the map unlocks section by section with key story missions, opening up new lands to explore. I do wish those new areas had a bit more variety, though, or really any variety at all. There's no snowy area like in Halo 1, no urban area like in Halo 2, or anything other than the same mix of forest and stone monoliths.
It's as if 343 only took inspiration from the silent cartographer and ignored the rest of Halo 1. That's a bit disappointing. While Infinite is a very nice looking game, I wanted more from one of Microsoft's biggest names. Forza Horizon 5 remains the best looking Xbox One series x game in my book.
Speaking of previous Halo games, of the concerns I had heading into Halo Infinite, the only one, it turns out, I really had to worry about was the story. Halo 5's mess of a plot dug a deep hole for infinity to try and climb out of. In particular, given that infinite tries to both tie up five's loose ends and keep the existing storyline going while also serving as a spiritual reboot meant to welcome in new fans, in the end, it's too tall a task.
What does that mean? What could be worse than the flood? For one thing, this sixth halo should have come with a story so cinematic that it rolls before you start playing, like Microsoft's own Psychonauts 2 did just a few months ago, but even with that infinite story, it still would have sunk under its own weight for a long time.
Fans never really get any major new revelations. While the new players infinite is trying to bring in will be left scratching their heads at a lot of its references to the lore, like say, who the covenant even are not the type to waste any time. There are really good aspects of the story though, namely the relationship between the master chief and his new AI companion, who we know only as the weapon.
She's voiced by Jen Taylor, who also stars as Cortana and pulls triple duty as Spartan program creator Dr. Catherine Halsey what I am about to show you will help turn the tide of war. You don't need to be a hardcore halo fan to recognize Taylor's nuanced performances in playing three similar but distinct roles.
She effortlessly separates them, playing brilliantly off of the fact that the weapon doesn't know the chief at all. We get to watch their partnership be born, then get strained, and later strengthened. They get sarcastic with each other, they argue, and they build an unsteady alliance. The missions change.
They always do. Are you sure? Steve Downs, meanwhile, is fantastic in his sixth turn as a master chief who psychologically struggles through eternity as an emotionally broken and lost man who blames himself for the sad state of humanity. The details of which are made painfully clear over the course of the campaign.
I truly hope 343 never recasts either of these two wonderful voice actors. We need to go like now, immediate extraction, by location. Capture them and your map will populate with many of the open world activities, along with other notable map icons like Spartan core locations. Those cores are how you upgrade your equipment, from augmenting the grapple shot with a paralyzing electric shock to slapping an invisibility device onto your thruster to beefing up the size and protection of the drop wall.
Not only did each piece of equipment add variety to how I handled the banished, but many of the key boss fights cried out for one of them or another. Completing the open world activities earns you valor points, which do you the big favor of unlocking additional weapons and vehicles you can instantly summon from reclaimed fobs.