It is safe to say that 343 Industries as the developer of Halo is controversial among fans to this day. I liked the Halo 4 campaign, despite the silly quick time events, but I never found the multiplayer there convincing and the first part was never really at Bungie level under the new studio. In Part 5, the multiplayer scored points with me, especially with the expansions over time, but the campaign was half-baked at best and not everyone liked the lootbox-like REQ system. With Infinite everything should get better now, even if only a year after the planned release and in fact not yet with all features. Did that work?
Roll back, roll forward
What is immediately noticeable within the first mission, our Spartan Abilities from the direct predecessor are a thing of the past. So whole? Not directly. We can find and equip Spartan cores that equip us with the grappling hook from the trailers, a shield wall, a short dashboost or the like. However, you can only ever use one property or you have to choose between the individual variants using the control pad. The grappling hook is a cool feature that can not only get us quickly through any terrain, but is also more than helpful when boarding vehicles.
Incidentally, we also encounter the individual skills in multiplayer, but there as consumables. And unlike in multiplayer, the new features in the campaign can be upgraded.
In connection with sprinting, scoping and gunplay that feels much more like the Bungie era, Infinite creates a perfect bridge between old and new. The gunplay just fits. But does it also fit in an open world?
Because, unlike before, Infinite provides us with an open playground. Although we can follow the main story fairly strictly and linearly, we can also liberate marine troops, take outposts, take propaganda towers and storm exile fortresses. And this is exactly where a problem can lurk. Because the very good pacing of the main story does not exist in the open world. No sidequests with a story either. Item search and sandbox shooting, however, do. It can be fun, but it can also be annoying. The world is not too full, even if there are one or two surprises and cool Easter eggs.
In fact, the open game world is likely to be either love or hate at first (or second) sight for many. Personally, I had a lot of fun with it, but I can also understand when you’re annoyed.
Really successful, within the main story, but not only there, we face special opponents, in short, Infinite offers us boss fights, and they are really good.
By the way, the campaign offers ideal opportunities to get to know the new weapons. Anyone who has complained to the two predecessors about the unexciting Promethean creaking should be much happier with the blood fathers of shooters and exile weapons.
Exiles, weapon, Cortana, Infiniwiebitte?
A double-edged sword could be the story for many. Because Halo Infinite is absolutely not a reboot, but a continuation. On top of that, one with certain gaps, which by no means have all been closed. Infinite just plays two years after Part 5, also draws on the events of Halo Wars 2 and on top of that, the UNSC Infinity staff also play an important role in audiologs. We don’t want to reveal too much here, but while some series fans should be happy that it continues without too many explanations and introductions, one or the other newcomer might be overwhelmed. Infinite doesn’t just build on Halo Lore, it also brings something new. Even more, the Cortana problem is in fact already resolved with our debut in the game, as we find out. Whereby the point is definitely useful for one or the other story trick.
In the end, you can’t please everyone with a franchise like Halo anyway. At least not in terms of story. Series connoisseurs have a clear advantage here. Even the story trick of anticipating quite a bit here may not please everyone, but for the duo of Master Chief and the new AI it has many narrative advantages.
Free to play but full yay!
Does it belong to it or not, the multiplayer? After all, it is free to play. For me I have to say, yes, he is one of them and on top of that he is damn good. First of all, we come to the negative points, especially for buyers of the main game there should be at least one free armor set, the prices for some armor in the store are pretty off in my opinion and if you want to have significant customization at all, you get at least 10, – € for the Battle Pass not over.
In addition, the Forge and modes a la Warzone or Firefight are currently missing. As of now there is only PvP in the form of ranked matches, classic arena mode, big team battle and, most recently, everyone against every showdown (classic deathmatch), SWAT (no shields, no radar) and fiesta, i.e. team deathmatch with changing random weapons.
The Halo multiplayer primarily offers classic arena combat, high time to kill and also classic modes. Team Deathmatch (called Showdown here), Capture the Flag, Fortresses or even Oddball are not only known to Halo fans but mostly old friends from the past. Halo simply offers classic arena shooter fare, but console games are now in short supply. Map knowledge, weapon knowledge and above all skill are the be-all and end-all here. If you are looking for easy kills, you should look for another shooter.
In fact, the 343i has delivered its best multiplayer so far here, the question of long-term support is now particularly exciting. In terms of support and new maps, however, Halo 5 was by no means bad, so I’m accordingly optimistic here.
That looks pretty round
At least on Xbox Series, Halo Infinite can be seen. It’s not an incredibly impressive game and the multiplayer is designed to run smoothly anyway. Still, Infinite looks good. The texture quality, especially on the Series X, is completely convincing and there are significant LoD jumps primarily with Banshee or Wasp high in the air. The look is clearly reminiscent of Halo under Bungie, including the color palette. What is a little missing is more variety in the outdoor areas, a snowy landscape, for example, is nil, everything is strikingly reminiscent of the Master Chief’s first steps on the first halo. While Infinite runs perfectly in the campaign on the new consoles and even offers 120fps as an option on the Series X, the very old guard in the form of the One (S) is probably struggling with some problems. I can currently no longer test it myself.
Somehow stupid, the almost stop-motion-like animation effect in the cutscenes, because the cutscenes run at 60fps, but the animations only run at 30. Here 343i apparently wants to improve, but one wonders why they chose this path in the first place.
Acoustically, however, Infinite is beyond any doubt. This applies to both speakers and sound effects as well as to the music of the now three composers who, although they keep going back to old themes, also offer more than enough new things. The overall musical package is extremely harmonious.
Am I completely satisfied with Infinite? In fact not. The co-op as an integral part of the series is currently still missing, the bottom line is that the open world feels as if it were only a small part of the planned scope and whether I always find the influence on pacing so good? I don’t really know. Ironically, at the same time, I had a lot of fun exploring the area freely. And yes, the subject of customizations for multiplayer is still a bit difficult, especially for buyers of the full version. From my point of view, the 343i still needs to be readjusted here. From my point of view, there should have at least been a completely unlockable armor
On the other hand, Infinite is doing a hell of a lot right too. The multiplayer just plays extremely well, on top of that the customizations are really only cosmetic and have no influence whatsoever in terms of play. The modes have also been improved since the end of the beta. The actual campaign was really successful and, as already mentioned, I also had fun with the Open World part. The bottom line is that I can only give my thumbs up and hope that the 343i will continue on the same level.
The actual campaign is classic Halo fare and modern at the same time
The best boss fights in series history
Open World breaks pacing a bit
The game world could be graphically more varied
Co-op and blacksmiths are still missing