Halo Infinite Review: A welcome addition to an iconic brand

In the sixth installment of Master Chief’s journey across the galaxy, he is back taking on a force of ex-Covenant aliens on the surface of yet another ancient alien Halo ring…

I have been playing the new Halo Infinite for a few weeks since its release in the Canadian market. As a lifelong fan of the series, I can safely say this entry did not disappoint me, especially in the two gameplay elements I was most excited to experience: Campaign and Multiplayer.

In summary, Halo: Infinite is a very welcome addition to the iconic brand we all know and love, and I hope that I do some justice to why you should pick up a copy or download Halo Infinite today.

I have been playing the Halo games since the first iteration of the Xbox, and have played through all of the classics including offshoots such as Halo Reach and Halo ODST.

Recent entries into the Halo franchise such as Halo 4 and Halo 5 missed the mark entirely for me and I’ve really sought a Halo entry that would return to the core of why I love this series. Infinite feels like a necessary return to content, feel, and gameplay that invokes nostalgia for earlier classics such as Halo 3. We are also treated to a superior Halo that creates an excellent dynamic between freeform play, immersive combat, and narrative.

Halo Infinite Review
Image credit: 343 Industries

This is the third entry into the core Halo series by 343 Industries, and while 343 did fairly average at providing gamers a multiplayer experience in Halo 4 and 5, the campaigns were short, confusing, lore-ridden, and honestly, at times, a snooze fest.

While I really did not care much for the previous installments in the series, Halo: Infinite’s campaign mode seems a deliberate attempt to return to how Halo once was with exciting narrative-based plots and refreshing gameplay. For example, how great is the hook shot or the fact we are now armed with anti-aircraft tech and kicking banshee pilots right in the face! What a tactical upgrade! I believe that with Halo Infinite, 343 is responding to player feedback and adjusting its product development accordingly.

A major aspect of what I enjoy about this game is the serious amount of time that can be spent in the Zeta Halo where you are able to free roam.

343 has reported that this is the largest map ever built. From the ability to explore secrets, take on challenges, discover upgrades, optional fights, and easter eggs from the wider Haloverse, there’s lots to see and do. Plan for many hours of down-time in the Zeta.

Halo Infinite Review
Image credit: 343 Industries

No review about a Halo game can exclude a segment about the soundtrack.

If you follow along with New Frontier’s content on Instagram, you know we value gaming soundtracks. Halo soundtracks sit atop the throne of gaming music. Halo Infinite’s soundtrack, composed by Gareth Coker, Curtis Schweitzer, and Joel Corelitz, immediately pays homage to classic tracks and captures the essence of Halo campaigns. It’s also well-executed with various tracks accompanying Master Chief when simply exploring, while others are timed to perfectly capture impactful moments and combat. If you can, experience the soundtrack through headphones!

In this age of open-world gaming, maps can be anxiety-inducing. I get it; however Halo Infinite launches you into a campaign of territory exploration, reclamation, and a gradual map progression that is common to games like Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, and Far Cry editions. It does not have the pure RPG feel as some have desired, but it’s got a nice sense of accomplishment to it, and every base comes with a free opportunity to do something insane during your assault.

Halo Infinite Review
Image credit: 343 Industries

As previously stated, 343 have done a phenomenal job on the campaign. It will be worth your time. Without spoiling too much of the lore and narrative for those who do want to play, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.

If you don’t mind spoilers, keep reading. The Halo Infinite adventure begins on the Starship Infinity orbiting above Zeta Halo with Master Chief on board when it’s suddenly attacked by the Banished, a splinter faction of Covenant aliens that were previously introduced in 2017’s Halo Wars 2.

During the fight, the Master Chief takes on the Banished’s leader Atriox and is promptly punched into a coma. Six months later, a human survivor finds the Chief floating unconscious in space, saved by the systems in his armor, and wakes him up.

A few minutes later we’re shown that the Infinity has been destroyed, both it and its remaining crew are scattered across Zeta Halo, and the Banished are in full control of the Halo’s surface. Since the Halo is a superweapon with a range of 25,000 light-years, the Banished now effectively have a gun pointed right at Earth. As usual, you assume the role of Master Chief and you head to Zeta Halo to fix that.

Halo Infinite Review
Image credit: 343 Industries

If you are familiar with the events of Halo 5, we are no longer with the fan-favorite A.I system Cortana.

Infinite on the other hand skips ahead to a new chapter without warning, throwing the Chief into a struggle against the Banished which doesn’t have an obvious connection to the events of Halo 5 at all. Now, this may be key for the fact that this game can be played as a stand-alone with no prior lore or knowledge from previous games, however, Halo enthusiasts should know that you will end up getting an early hint as to what’s happened to Cortana when you retrieve a new AI from Zeta Halo, the Weapon.

I should admit, it’s one of those complaints that only makes sense if you play a lot of video games. For normal people who only play a few games per year, this is a perfectly okay mechanic, but Infinite has a bizarre A.I opponent structure during campaigns.

Each enemy exists in two states: they either don’t know you’re there (Skyrim level of awareness if you know what I mean) or have an unbreakable radar lock on you. Even if you fire a shot at them from a maximum distance, every surviving enemy near the bullet impact will immediately know your exact location. It’s the kind of omniscient A.I that I haven’t seen in a shooter for a long time. I’ve seen a few others talk about this online too and I hope this will be fixed in an upcoming update.

Halo Infinite Review
Image credit: 343 Industries

On the other hand, the Multiplayer section is back and better than I can remember a multiplayer being.

I believe I have already clocked in around 40+ hours splattering enemies with Warthogs and Ghosts and striking them down with Skewers, SPNKRs, and BR headshots. And how about the improvement to the Sidekick pistol, I’m always pulling that out first each time I spawn. Each multiplayer encounter is filled with nostalgia.

I would be remiss to add that the customization process is a little lackluster but nonetheless it doesn’t affect the core aspect of the multiplayer experience. in the grand scope of what shooter-based multi-players should be, 343 hit the nail on the head. It is also refreshing to see that 343 is being very responsive to user feedback by continuously fixing challenges and adding new limited playlists.

Halo Infinite has bought great attention back to the Halo series that has been lacking for quite some time.

It’s gotten my attention and I’m here for it. 343 had a monumental task in front of them and while they will never be able to please all the fans of a franchise as big as Halo, they should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished with Infinite. As a spiritual reboot that maintains the current Halo timeline, it’s everything I had hoped for and more. I’m already excited to experience it again but perhaps this time on Legacy mode for a real challenge during the campaign.

When all factors are considered and the nostalgia goggles are removed, Halo Infinite has the broadest gameplay, a well-paced, well-written narrative, several moving moments, excellent new additions to the formula, a fantastic antagonist, and a stunning presentation.

It is the best of both old and new Halo and understands completely what makes Halo special.

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