Halo Infinite – Game Review


Halo Infinite

(Available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC)
(Xbox Series X|S version used for review)

Halo Infinite was supposed to be a launch title for the Xbox Series X and S, however after large concerns over the state of the graphics during a gameplay demonstration in the summer of 2020 it was pushed back be development studio 343 to come out a year later. This did do damage to the momentum of the Series X and S but it seems to have done fine with good Game Pass deals. Microsoft also offered an excellent deal by not only offering cross saves between the PC and Xbox versions in the same way that the Master Chief collection did, but that the multiplayer would be free and the campaign would come to Game Pass. If you’ve played previous Halo games then you’ll know exactly what you’re in for, it’s still the innovative First Person Shooter you’re used to. The big difference in the campaign this time is that it’s an open world game with a quite a few side quests. The multiplayer is also the similar to previous games with the most notable features not at launch being Forge mode and co-op campaign

Pros

  • Graphics and frame rate: Halo was delayed by a year to improve it’s graphics and if that was the case then it was a year well spent. Infinite looks brilliant especially on the Series X where it really shines. While not quite as good looking as fellow exclusive Forza Horizon 5 (likely due to beginning life much sooner with Xbox One in mind) it is another good example of making the most of the Series X hardware. The frame rate is also well done as well. It hit 60fps consistently with minimal instances of frame rate drops and it surprises me given how much it has to render with the open world
  • Multiplayer gameplay: Now in recent memory I have not been one to really go nuts for the multiplayer in Halo with the excellent Master chief collection kind of bringing me back to a certain degree. Infinite is in my opinion a very well executed multiplayer experience. Most of the best modes are here (flood being the only notable one that was gone) and it mechanically feels like it is a little bit more accessible to new players which is a good thing given how many people will be picking this up with a game pass subscription. While I know some fans are not happy with the aim assist options, I do find a good entry point and is not a win button against a skilled player. The map designs are also excellent and really have a lot more personality and distinct features to give a real sense of locations on the map, something that felt lacking in Halo 4 and 5. It also ran well almost consistently, rarely was there lag or performance issues on my end and I tested on both PC and Xbox. The cross play and cross saves also work very well which was made evident when I took part in Good Vibes Gaming’s Executive Producer stream which involved several players from America and UK playing. This was a game involving about 12 players and while we did have issues in regards to setting on the Xbox console for cross play which hindered our experience initially once it got running it ran very smoothly at least on my end. If you’re having trouble getting a cross play game going, I would recommend checking the Xbox settings it did manage to work in our case.
  • Customisation options: While it sucks that most really require real money to get with a stupid crypto currency to pay to get them, the amount you can do to the suits this time really can allow you to inject some of your personality into it. Some of this has it’s own issues which mainly revolve around the way levelling up works which is required to get customisation gear for multiplayer and I’ll get into it later but I really think the team did a good job balancing badass qualities with a bit of humour in it’s selection. For example, there’s some excellent colour schemes like the Gold and Red one I got which makes my Spartan look close to Iron Man but I also put a teddy bear on his lapel and cat ears on his head for funny effect (the latter of which trending big on twitter when it was released in the store). Overall, I look forward to each option I can give to my suits and seeing it then in the games I play. It also was an excellent call to allow for multiple voices from the Spartan’s to allow them not to be confined to one gender. Everyone has the right to see themselves in their avatar no matter who they are and 343 went in a good direction with this.
  • The grappling hook: I know this is only one new feature of gameplay, but I love the grappling hook. It’s clear that a lot of the recent Doom Games influenced Halo Infinite, and this was a cool feature which added tons of strategy to taking on enemies and really allowed me to zip around the map with ease, which given the open world nature of it was welcome. It also is incredibly good fun to hook up an enemy with it the be drawn to them and finish them off with a melee hit. Got me killed a few times but was so worth it. Between this and Persona 5 The Royal, who knew you could improve games so much with a grappling hook.

Mixed

  • Story: The story in Halo Infinite is one of trust. Following the events of the previous 2 games and Cortana’s actions (which I’m still kind of pissed off about) with Master Chief landing on the new Ring and teaming up with a pilot and a new A.I. to re-establish the UNSC forces to fight back against the Banished. It does have some good character development on both the heroes and villains and when it got going, I actually really liked the story this time round. The 2 problems I have are that the story takes a bit of time to really get going and by the end it feels a bit too short. The campaign on average lasts about 10 hours currently and is a bit open ended by the time it’s finished with the main story. Now 343 studios have said that this is the last Halo game for a while so the campaign should get expansions in the future but know it’s a bit of a short story at this point in time.
  • Open world design and Campaign gameplay: Now I was sceptical of how an open world Halo game could work but to the credit of the developers, they have done something quite interesting with it. The strengths are that there is exploration and side missions though not many of too major consequence. The world however is not too varied in terms of environments just lush Greenland, Ruins or Banished bases. Given the variety of environments in the multiplayer maps I was hoping this would transfer to the campaign map but right now it’s not quite there. I also will reflect the opinion of Modern Vintage Gamer who said that he felt the map feels unfinished. There is not as many missions as you’d expect and there’s a lot of big portions with not much on the map. As for gameplay well I did like it for the most part and the controls are smooth and precise. Where I think it falls down a bit is the Doom influence there is a lot of times where I felt there were too many enemies onscreen and this is especially noticed given that the weapons in Halo are destructive as Doom and you don’t have the stylish executions that you get in Doom that buy you time and health. I did enjoy the boss fights even when one in particular was really hard though I found myself a bit overwhelmed at times when the Halo game I played in prep for this was the original trilogy on the Master Chief collection. That being said I, would not describe any section I took on unfair or even aggravating and I would consider doing a co-op campaign in the future if I have the time and friends willing to play it (more on that later).

Cons

  • The way experience points are handled for online multiplayer: I really hate this. The customisation options are locked behind this as well as the real-world money and you’d think your performance in multiplayer. However much more of your experience is delivered through daily challenges which, yes, can get you to try out other weapons and modes you wouldn’t normally try, but at the same time it’s also kind of annoying and it’s really inconvenient. You don’t even get a bonus for winning which is extra annoying.
  • Missing features at launch: It does feel a bit off that modes are missing most notably Forge and Co-op Campaign. Now it has been confirmed that these will be added down the line with an estimated arrival of 3-6 months after launch. When it comes to forge that’s not too big a deal, it is annoying it isn’t here but it will be there for the people that want it for multiplayer. The players that’ll benefit from that mode are the ones that are sticking with the game for the multiplayer anyway. As for the co-op campaign, that stings more given that I’m not sure I want to start a new campaign just to play co-op with my friends months down the line and I’m not sure they want to either. The player base for the campaign might not be on the game after that time and it feels like this feature being missing might’ve been worth a bit more of a delay.

Halo Infinite is a pretty good return to form for the series. The campaign has it’s issues but it has been one of the more enjoyable ones in recent memory and I have been particularly enjoying the multiplayer which with these maps has been my favourites since Halo 3. The graphics also really justify the year long delay since this game looks really good. I do have issues with features missing, the story needs expanding with updates and the way multiplayer experience points is handled does make me annoyed and is an indictment on the current state of the industry. That being said this is a good companion piece to the Master Chief collection and if you enjoy Halo I suspect that this might bring you back

Score: 8.4/10

It’s on game pass which you really should sign up for at this point if you have an Xbox or PC for sheer value for money. I would say even if you aren’t on game pass it is worth a purchase to get in now so you’re less overwhelmed by the number of updates in the future and I suspect this is going to become the premiere Xbox multiplayer game.
 
Calvin
Nerd Consultant

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