Halo Infinite Review
Halo Infinite is the new long-awaited instalment in the prestigious franchise of Halo games. Halo Infinite is the shooter you’ve been waiting for, it doesn’t disappoint, cementing the franchise as one of the greats.
Halo is a huge part of Xbox’s history, a console exclusive series of games that sold millions of copies. The first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, was released on the original Xbox back in 2001. Since then, the Halo saga has brought unique storytelling, memorable characters and dynamic gameplay over its six games.
By 2015, the Halo games alone grossed almost $3.4 billion. By February 2021, the games had sold a combined total of 81 million copies. The huge fanbase and strong sales led to the franchise’s expansion to novels, comic books, TV & Film projects, as well as lots of merchandising. To put it into simpler terms, Halo has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. Therefore, a new Halo game is always gonna be a big deal.
Halo Infinite exceeds expectations, delivering thoroughly enjoyable gameplay that brings the nostalgia of the Original Halo Trilogy, but with new mechanics and stunning visuals.
This is a shooter. No puzzles or tedious slow-paced gameplay – it’s shooting, flying, killing and pure fun, across expansive alien territory. The new catalogue of weaponry is perfection, every gun has its own perks, and the classics are still there, of course. You will probably run out of ammo frequently, which can be a pain but it makes gameplay more challenging. This Halo chapter forces you to adapt your combat style, taking you out of your comfort zone, reducing repetitiveness.
In terms of the Story – it’s great and delivers the tone of the original Halo games. While there are definitely a few highlights, I don’t think its missions are as memorable as Infinite’s predecessors. This isn’t a major issue, I just wanted more even more scale and immersive storytelling. That being said, the cutscenes are particularly stunning in 4K and the Chief looks better than ever. From the outset, you’re hooked into a thrill ride, full of carnage and chaos. The Main Campaign itself is around 10 to 12 hours long, depending on how you play.
The beginning of the Campaign draws similarities with Halo: Combat Evolved. Human existence is on the verge of extinction again, but this story explores a new conflict – the Banished. The Banished are the enemies who broke off from the Covenant, led by the brutal war chief, Escharum, who Master Chief has his sights set on. In a slight change to the franchise, there is a wealth of emotional depth, which feels fresh and natural. This is explored through Master Chief still having a strong connection to his late AI companion, Cortana. This connection reignites as the Chief tracks another AI called ‘The Weapon’. The story is thrilling, captivating and pure Halo.
With this new release, it feels like 343 understand Halo more than they did with Halo 5: Guardians. They’re being faithful to the character and what Bungie originally developed. Halo Infinite definitely has a strong sense of familiarity, along with nostalgia and improved combat.
This new Halo chapter gives you the chance to have a more varied and open approach to how you play. The Grappling Hook is a useful and likeable new addition. At first, I didn’t like the idea of the grappling hook. It’s an overused mechanic in games, but in Halo, it works surprisingly well. Master Chief is able to attach himself onto any surface and scale across or upwards, almost as flexible as Spider-Man himself. The Hook is handy when you need to flee combat quickly, dodge explosions, regain health or travel around in a swift fashion. The grappling hook allows you to play the game tactically. As you progress through the story you can even upgrade the hook, allowing you to make stun attacks on impact etc.
Halo has often had vast landscapes and colossal maps, and they’re bigger than ever in Halo Infinite. This allows multiple opportunities for exploration and different combat techniques. For example, why not climb to higher ground to assassinate enemies from above, or get to a vantage point to scout the area.
In terms of performance, Halo Infinite performs exceptionally on the Series X. It’s great to play a Halo game that is made for Ultra HD. The loading times are impressively short and the transitions between cutscenes and gameplay are exemplary. Minimal frame rate issues/bugs were encountered while playing.
I, like many others, was concerned after this game suffered numerous delays, and their showcase of early gameplay wasn’t up to scratch at the time. However, 343 Industries have worked hard to produce a game that exceeds expectations, and a story that is captivating and faithful to its predecessors.
Release Date: 08th December 2021
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC
Review Conducted on Xbox Series X.