‘Halo Infinite’ feels like a return to prior epics


After saving the galaxy yet again, what else is there to do? That’s the problem that has faced the “Halo” franchise ever since Bungie completed Master Chief’s original trilogy and Microsoft handed the reins to 343 Industries.

The developer had a big pair of shoes to fill and an even bigger conundrum when it comes to unfurling a tale worthy of the legendary Spartan’s past exploits. The 343 team has experimented with different concepts, introduced new characters and expanded the mythology. The results were mixed, but it was leading to a payoff.

That’s “Halo Infinite.” With its third stab at the main series, 343 finally crafts an adventure that’s fresh, distinct and uniquely its own. That success stems from deft storytelling and a new open-world approach. The game unexpectedly kicks off with Master Chief tasting defeat after an alien faction called the Banished destroyed the UNSC Infinity and scattered the remaining human forces.

The pilot of the Pelican ship Echo 216 rescues Master Chief, but instead of fleeing, the Spartan returns to the Zeta Halo ring that’s shattered. All of this is disorienting for returning players as they expected a confrontation with Cortana, who ended up being the villain of “Halo 5: Guardians.” They were expecting some sort of resolution, but 343 denies players that immediate gratification.

Halo Infinite
Master Chief must work with two new allies, the pilot of Echo 216, and Weapon a new AI construct, in “Halo Infinite.” (Microsoft) 


By telling the campaign in medias res, or in the midst of things, developers force players to work to find out why the Halo ring is destroyed, how Cortana died and the reason that the Banished are focused on this specific Halo installation. It’s a brilliant move, creating a narrative that’s welcoming to both newcomers and veterans.

It also sets up an organic path for exploration as players find themselves in an open-world “Halo.” Although the freedom can be overwhelming, 343 Industries sets up missions that guide players through the broken installation. The structure also introduces side missions that upgrade Master Chief’s abilities and equipment for battles ahead.

On the ring, Master Chief’s job is to rally the remaining UNSC troops by rescuing squads and taking down forward operating bases and Banished strongholds. They can also search for Spartan Cores that make the protagonist’s tools more powerful. Players discover a shield upgrade and four other abilities – Grappleshot, Threat Sensor, Drop Wall and Thrusters.

Halo Infinite
Familiar weapons such as an energy sword and some new ones are available for players in “Halo Infinite.” (Microsoft) 

Each power has its uses though switching among them is cumbersome. The Grappleshot is the most useful not only because of its offensive and defensive capabilities, but because it’s a key component players need to explore this larger world. The tool acts as fancy grappling hook that can help Master Chief scale mountains or travel to far-off areas much faster. At times, it can make players feel like Spider-Man. Meanwhile, the Threat Sensor is great for spotting cloaked enemies or scouting ahead.

The latter two, Drop Wall and Thrusters, focus on combat and become important later in the campaign when enemies swarm in and players need protection to destroy Banished assaults or make a quick escape from charging enemies.

Players will also discover several new weapons and the ability to grab explosive canisters to hurl them at foes. Think of it as an oversized grenade. All of this creates a playground feel to combat, one where players can experiment with abilities and weapons to find fresh tactics on the fly. Combine that with an open-world environment and it’s reminiscent of “Far Cry,” but “Halo Infinite” puts its fingerprints on this style of shooter with fun traversal and combat abilities that make encounters less tedious.

The campaign itself has a good progression up to the final two missions, which are bogged down with a parade of nonstop gunfights. The confrontations go on a little too long as players make their way to the final two bosses and the truth that sets up the next chapters.

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The “Halo Infinite” multiplayer is as fun as ever and stands out with its polish. (Microsoft) 

The satisfying experience shows that the delay was a good decision for “Halo Infinite” as 343 Industries polished and reworked the project. To no surprise, that effort also shows up in the multiplayer.

Unlike “Call of Duty Vanguard” or “Battlefield 2042,” the “Halo Infinite” online experience runs great at launch, and that high quality lets this part of the game stand out from the crowd. Whereas its peers can feel gritty or relentlessly chaotic, “Halo’s” online play is smooth and arcadelike. Players don’t have to worry about bullet drop or keeping up a killstreak, but instead, they can run and gun to their heart’s content.


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