Published on December 6th, 2021 | by Andrew Bistak
Halo Infinite Review #XSX
Summary: Halo Infinite on the Xbox Series X is classic Halo fun that has received a true next-gen makeover that really upgrades our favourite Spartan, the Master Chief himself!
Master Chief is having a bad day … a really really bad day! …
One of the most anticipated game of the Xbox Series X has finally arrived and while the sixth game of the Halo series was intended to be a launch release to coincide with Microsoft’s next-gen console in November 2020, its creatives were forced to delay the title. Even Head of Xbox Phil Spencer discussed their regret but in-spite of this negativity surrounding the title and the hope of a next-gen launch, Halo Infinite has finally arrived and the game starts like a true blockbuster film. The game is set over a year since the events of Halo 5: Guardians as we’re re-introduced to John-117, aka Master Chief in Halo Infinite.
[ *** SPOILERS *** ]
Like the initial delay of the game, our hero and favourite Spartan, Master Chief is having a really bad day as we’re reintroduced to him and his enemy Atriox, a cruel and powerful Jiralhana Warmaster who leads the Banished and his delusions of grandeur may be his only weakness in his search for power. Like an insignificant space bug, Atriox defeats Master Chief and rather than finishing him off (first mistake Atroix), he leaves our Spartan for dead as he is thrown into space to die. However hope is alive and well for the Chief and he is rescued by a fellow human named Echo-216 who is also stranded in the vastness of space and while he wants to return home to his family, Master Chief needs to first find a way to stop Atriox and his army of the Banished.
[ *** END OF SPOILERS *** ]
The game is set on “Installation 07” which is Zeta Halo that is steeped in lore from this gaming franchise that sees the Master Chief and the player exploring this ringworld and its surroundings that delivers an engaging campaign for fans as you uncover secrets and find a way to defeat the brutality of Atroix who has his own plans of annihilation courtesy of the Banished and where does the forerunner tech fit into this? With a plethora of existing (MA5C Assault Rifle, Gravity Hammer) and new weapons such as the Stalker Rifle, including your grappleshot that can be used on both enemies (including in some unexpected ways) and the environment like hijacking banshees, 343 Industries delivers another exciting and memorable Halo game from start to finish with plenty of twists and surprises to be found along the way… including “Cortana”.
While the campaign is linear with its mission structure, the developers successfully create this vast world to explore, including plenty of revelations to be found along the way such as what happened to the UNSW and course, your confident and friend, the AI sentient being known as Cortana. Speaking of AI, the enemies of Halo Infinite can be quite brutal at the higher level of difficulty which is great as it makes the combat more challenging and rewardig. However in order to liberate Zeta HAlo from the Banished, you need to recapture Forward Operation Bases (FOBs) that gives you a new base of operations, including equipment, vehicles such as Warthogs and Scorpion Tanks plus additional support from UNSC Marines.
While the gameplay of Halo has been very sturdy since its launch way back on 15 November 2001, it has evolved to become an even better first person shooter, including a thoroughly enjoyable multiplayer component which was actually “free” in this game. The combat also flows extremely well and all the weapons feel quite different as you blow your enemies to smithereens. So as you block, dodge, jump, defend, fight (including melee attacks), Halo Infinite is a very entertaining game from start to finish as Master Chief again saves the universe from impending doom.
Another highlight of the campaign was exploration and if you find yourself away from the main mission, there are side missions and new gear to be found that adds to the overall immersion factor plus using Spartan Cores that upgrades your equipment. Additionally as you progress, you are awarded “valor” which can be used to unlock new resources from your FOBs. The game also supports four different modes of difficulty that include easy, normal, heroic and legendary, however you can change the level if the challenge is not enough or you’re getting defeated too often. Add in all-sorts of vehicles plus more challenging boss battles and there’s plenty of excitement to be found in the single-player for Halo Infinite.
Once you have finished the campaign or want to take on other human players, the multiplayer component of Halo Infinite is great and offers an excellent customisation option as you create your very own Spartan warrior. 343 Industries have really fleshed out what a multiplayer game is in the Halo universe and if it’s been awhile since you played with others, there is an area called Spartan Academy. It is here where you can go through tutorials, drills and training modes to help fine-hone your skills with some very realistic human-like bots. There’s also quite a bit of customisation available in the Spartan Academy as you tweak the match settings in preparation for real-players.
When you do start the multiplayer aspect of the game which was already available prior to the launch of the main game, it really feels like you are part of the Halo universe and part of something big as you (sometimes) work together to take down your enemies with a variety of different multiplayer modes such as “Slayer” (Deathmatch) and “Capture the Flag”. Even though the modes don’t add anything new to the world of multiplayer, they are tried and tested and work fantastically with the backdrop of Halo Infinite.
Needless to say, all the multiplayer gameplay modes translate well and my favourites are Strongholds and Capture the Flag. There’s also some clever multiplayer modes that add to the overall mythology of Halo and add something unique, opposed to just the Zeta Halo and best of all the maps are flawlessly created to maximise that multiplayer experience, whether 4×4 or 12×12 (aka Big Team Battles) matches. Lastly, the grapplehook is a great strategy to help get you out of dicey situation as you fly away. One thing that is missing is co-op that has been a staple to the Halo series, however 343 Industries have promised this to be available from May 2022.
Graphically, Halo Infinite looks amazing on the Xbox Series X and obviously is the best looking and playing game in the franchise courtesy of the next-gen power of this console. While Halo (for me anyway) has always felt a little “square”, the 3D worlds created by 343 Industries are exceptionally detailed with excellent lighting and special effects to help bring it to life. So whether you’re battling your way through an indoor corridor, exploring the alien Zeta Halo ring or engaging with the Banished or other USNC marines, environment and character detail is outstanding, particularly the detail of the Banished. Supporting the graphics is the excellent soundtrack that channels the soul of the franchise, particularly when the action heats up with the iconic Halo theme. Voice acting is superb as are the sound effects which go hand-in-hand with the graphics.
So was the wait worth it for Halo Infinite? Undeniable it was and although it is a year late with a few bugs here and there, It’s definitely going to be a winner for Microsoft as this is easily one of the best Halo games in the franchise and really expands the story surrounding Master Chief, the USNC and of course Cortana, including the myriad of villainous aliens that you face along the way. With perfect controls on the Xbox Series X controller and equally impressive graphics plus sound effects, Halo Infinite is a love letter to fans from 343 Industries and delivers a very satisfying experience from start to finish and while it may have started as a bad day for Master Chief, it quickly improves as he gets his Spartan groove back. Then you have the already competent multiplayer that just adds to the overall experience of Halo Infinite.
“I AM SPARTAn!”