Today, nearly 20 years ago, Microsoft and junior developer Bungie Studios teamed up to create one of the most ambitious, multimedia launch titles in existence. Created an entire Sci-Fi universe from space dust, the result was an unimaginable success – making Microsoft a major player in the industry and Halo is one of the great game players. In addition to the launch window of both Xbox Series X and S, maybe Halo Infinite meet those sky-high expectations?
Thankfully, I feel like I don’t need to be so determined. A few weeks before the official launch Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries passed multiplayer into Open Beta, reactivating a squad-based multiplayer shooter scene that hasn’t been unduly shaken up by other competitors like Battlefield or Call of Duty. Even better, while the broader gaming community has sharpen their knives In the months following its missed release date, compelling trailers, and fundamental rethinking of the game, 343 blew expectations.
I would go as far as to say that it is truly astounding the amount of meditation and reflection that 343 Industries has put into place. Halo Infinite since debut Halo 5. Some of the most insightful feedback on core developments in the series – whether we’re talking soundtracks, art design, color schemes – have been overhauled to match the lofty expectations of the world. new consoles.
Most interest resonance with a large community is an outstandingly developed system that helps to lock cosmetics. While Bungie has repeatedly stated that they are on track to address the Battle Pass situation, it’s hard not to see it as a broader issue for the state of the game as a whole. And yes, it’s a bit more painful as it’s being rolled out and adopted by a series that pioneered the online multiplayer shooter space.
But if you want a multiplayer impression, you don’t need this review – it’s been available for weeks as a free-to-play option to wet the palate for the full experience. After investing several dozen hours into the campaign with a few difficulty levels, I can easily say that Halo Infinite is what Xbox Series X has been waiting for.
Takes place right after the events of Halo 5: Guardian, Master Chief and the players are opened to a mystery of their own – what happened in the past few months, how was Cortana defeated, and why is Weapon (a fake Cortana AI) still around? Master Chief is constantly recording past messages and dreamy messages from his AI companion from beyond the grave… but with little explanation other than that it’s leftover data. With the entire playing field of Zeta Halo at your disposal (with some parts of it already fragmented), you start with more questions than answers.
Not going into story spoilers, but Halo Infinite feels like a real return to the game’s story. Thanks to the focus on Master Chief and a lot of uncertainty about… well… much of the story at this point, there’s an air of mystery that I haven’t really felt since then. Combat has evolved. If you were worried that Guardians is ushering in a post-Master Chief change in the universe, Halo Infinite immediately put the fear to rest.
While this entire series has become more accessible thanks to one of two punches of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Xbox Game Pass, Halo Infinite still do a lackluster job of attracting new entrants into the wider universe. While it provides a rich story for those who have followed and a great playground for those more interested in the action, it does expect a certain level of familiarity with the story so far. To some extent, it makes the game such an easy proposition for anyone looking to get into the series – even though it’s the best of the bunch.
Speaking of the best part of the team, it would be a sin not to mention how 343 Industries has enhanced both the open world and the flow of the game thanks to Zeta Halo’s dynamic structure. Specifically, the introduction of collectibles, bonuses, and smaller side quests broke the game from the more on-the-rails experience. Even better, it works – I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit struggling with clips to get aesthetic armor pieces or track down a small upgrade point. While it never eclipsed the setting and story of the main quests, being able to redirect and save UNSC members added an extra layer to the game to Halo Infinite that the series was missing a lot.
Some other minor points worth noting about my time with Master Chief:
- We tested the game exclusively on Xbox Series X, and it played at a decent level with great visuals, minimal frame rates, and load times. We expect performance to drop or increase as expected if you’re playing on a device with higher or lower specs.
- The difference curve makes the gambit of near-one-shot kills an annoying but rewarding challenge. With a special focus on accessibility and mouse/keyboard usability, all players will be able to take part in this.
- While I’ve spent 12 hours on a standard campaign, going from mission to mission can land this much more than in a 7-8 hour camping period. Still, it’s hard not to want to explore Zeta Halo
- 343 might call it a curated open world, but expect that arrangement to evolve as Halo Infinite do.
Celebrating 20 years of establishment, it feels almost poetic that Halo Infinite is the biggest, boldest, and most innovative debut since the series was released. Bringing form back to both campaign and multiplayer, the whole experience is one Halo tour de force for the Xbox brand. With the promise that Halo Infinite will be the launching pad for the future Halo experience, Master Chief is looking to a bright future ahead.
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