With Halo Infinite, the main series goes into round 6 and once again focuses on one of the most famous video game characters of all time in the campaign. The Master Chief is back and has a few innovations in his luggage with a single-player open world and a free-2-play multiplayer.

Halo Infinite

What can you expect in Halo Infinite?

Behind Halo Infinite is again developer 343 Industries, who also provided the sixth part of the main series with a single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode. Unlike in Halo 5: Guardians, the campaign again focuses on John-117. What is new, however, is that this time the Master Chief is also in a Open World is allowed to pursue his trade.

There is also something new to report in multiplayer. This will not appear with the campaign on December 8th, but has been in one for several weeks free beta playable on PC and Xbox. Following the general shooter trend, the multiplayer gets a battle pass system with time-limited seasons.

The campaign

Halo Infinite marks the third part of the “Reclaimer Saga” and send yourselves to the halo ring Zeta. There you have to fight a new threat as Master Chief who, how could it be otherwise, wants to have control of the ring-shaped weapon of mass destruction. In addition to saving humanity, the mainspring of the story is again the digitally amorous relationship between the Master Chief and Cortana. The Spartan’s AI companion went mad in Halo 5 and had to be stopped, but the story doesn’t end there. Not only does John-117 have to deal with his past mistakes, he also faces a new enemy. The Spartan also notes that other female programmers also have beautiful AIs.

If you are not a lore expert, it is actually advisable to refresh the story a little in text or video form, otherwise you will be a little too clueless in a few places in Halo Infinite.

Open World in Halo: does it work?

The answer, surprisingly, is both yes and no. While the main plot takes place to a large extent in linear levels, these are all connected to an open world. Various activities await you in this open world, all of which are related to the progression systems in Halo Infinite. These activities include mini-bosses, freeing trapped NPCs, or conquering outposts, which then serve as high-speed travel destinations. Through the activities you collect bravery points and gradually unlock weapons, vehicles and NPC companions in a level system, which you can then request at the outpost. You will also find boxes with cosmetics for multiplayer and so-called Spartan cores with which you can improve your skills in the world.

In Halo Infinite there is an open world to travel for the first time.
For the first time ever, Halo Infinite is offering an open world to explore. (Image: Xbox Game Studios)

Why is the open world not working? The problem that every open world brings with it is the fragmentation of history. The story of Halo has always had a high narrative speed, the threats are urgent in Part 6 and don’t give the feeling that you have time to do ten hours of open-world stuff first. The open world just doesn’t work in conjunction with the fast-paced history.

Then why does the open world work? Halo Infinite only partially forces you to participate in the activities in order to move forward with the story and almost decouples it from the open world. The introduction to the possibilities and mechanics of the open world is meaningfully incorporated into the story and at the end there is only one mission in which you are really forced to cover longer distances through the game world. Since you got through with the main story, you can continue to conquer outposts and look for cosmetics.

In theory, you can play the entire story in one go with just a single excursion into the open world. The only problem is the Spartan cores to upgrade the skills. You can find a few during the story, but you can make far fewer upgrades than you might want. This optionality ensures that the open world does not interfere, but makes it through the no co-op mode until May 2022, also a bit redundant.

The skills of a Spartan

You use the already mentioned cores to upgrade a total of five skillsthat you will automatically receive as the story progresses. You already have that at the beginning Grappling hook and he’s your best friend for the entire campaign. You can not only climb higher positions and swing over abysses, you can also pull yourself up to opponents and bring you weapons that are lying around. The second best friend is him improved shield and being able to get more hits until the protection breaks down is always helpful. You also get another one Location sensorto find cloaked enemies, one temporary protective wall for situations without cover and Thrusters for quick evasive maneuvers.

As a small role-play element in Halo Infinite, there are upgrades for the skills of the Master Chief.
Halo Infinite gives you the opportunity to purchase upgrades for your skills. (Image: Xbox Game Studios)

As always, your arsenal spans a wide variety of human and alien weapons. If you have found a combination that you like, you can replenish the ammunition at refill stations, but you often switch weapons and use what is currently there. But that’s not bad, because all weapons have their strengths and weaknesses and there is plenty of choice.

Missions that take place in the open world also give you the opportunity to choose from many different approaches. You can first decimate the enemy from a distance with the sniper rifle or you have a tank at hand and knock directly on the front door. Thanks to your best friend, the grappling hook, you can also easily hijack enemy vehicles and even take over a low-flying banshee.

The multiplayer: the free beta

You have been able to watch Halo Infinite’s multiplayer for free for a few weeks now. The surprising release is a return to the classic arena shooter. Despite the return to the roots, there are modern shooter elements, also apart from the Monetization model “Battle Pass”who have favourited a fresh paint job on Halo Infinite.

A tutorial has been thought of for absolute newbies, and the Bot Bootcamp practiced in four on four with AI opponents. Playlists are used to play, so the map and mode are random. For fast-paced action and classic halo, there are 4-on-4 matches as well as Quick play as well as ranked list mode. In the Big-Team-Battles (12 against 12) the vehicles are then also at the start.

Due to the distribution of weapons and equipment on the battlefield, Halo Infinite is a bit old-school and doesn’t have as high a time-to-kill as modern shooters. Movement has a much more modern, i.e. high pace with fast sprints and slides. Throwing grenades can almost be elevated to an art form in Halo, the four different grenade types are essential for the gameplay. Infinite brings that classic halo feeling back, but does not have to shy away from comparison with the modern representatives of the FPS genre.

In multiplayer as in the campaign, the soundscape is extremely successful. The weapons all sound different and with a little practice you can assess what you are being shot at without even seeing the enemy. That rich sound of the hit marker alone is an extremely satisfying experience. Visually, Halo Infinite does not set any new standards, but it does conjure up a few visual highlights on the screen in the campaign. In the run-up, there were great fears about the graphics due to a trailer. Postponing it by one year was the right decision at that point.

Conclusion

I admit I was extremely skeptical about the open world in Halo. I am still of the opinion that the open game world would not have been needed. The way developer 343 Industries integrated it into the game worked for me after all. It’s just a shame that the co-op won’t be delivered for six months. Playing together would give the open world a whole new meaning. Without open-world excursions, the campaign lasts six to eight hours, you are diligently exploring Halo Zeta, but up to 20 hours of play are possible.

When it comes to gunplay, Halo is and will remain an absolute ace for me in what is so important for a shooter. The weapon feel is right, the selection is large and the hit feedback is fed up. The skills work fantastic in the campaign. I fly over the battlefield with grappling hooks, distribute headshots left and right, used the protective wall to briefly regenerate the shield and, thanks to my thrusters, press my fist in the face of the next Grunt. I’m just the damn Master Chief! Unlike John-117, however, I am sometimes overwhelmed with the operation. Between two weapons, four grenades, five skills and loads of enemies, I sometimes lose track of things. So it sometimes happened that an ambitious jump over an abyss turned into free fall and when I looked up I had to realize that I had just rammed the location sensor and not the grapple into the ceiling. Switching skills on the PC is sometimes a bit overwhelming.

Halo Infinite brings the arena shooter back to the big stage. (Image: Xbox Game Studios)

After all the Call of Dutys and Battlefields it is Halo Infinite is also a refreshing experience in multiplayer. I don’t have to unlock guns or watch YouTube videos for the best essays. Everyone will find the same weapons on the map and it depends on who can handle them better. The map design is clever and fair, and while the modes aren’t revolutionary, they all work very well.

There was justified criticism of the progress made with the Battle Pass, which was tenacious and constrained by very specific challenges. Although improvements have already been made here, it is still far from optimal. Speaking of criticism: Halo Infinite costs 70 euros for the Xbox Series X | S and at least 60 euros for the PC on Steam. Although the (co-op-less) campaign due to the Open World is significantly longer than in previous games in the series, the question of whether this is worth the full price for you is something you should definitely ask yourself. The multiplayer is free, but you can buy a Premium Battle Pass, this brings you more cosmetics, but no “real” game content. Unfortunately, Halo Infinite is already plagued by a cheater problem.

Overall, Halo Infinite turned out to be a great shooterwhich probably came at just the right time. The campaign maintains the high standard of the series and the multiplayer mode also has the potential to be a real hit. The lack of co-op mode should not please many fans, however, switching the multiplayer to a Free2Play model is good for the mode itself, but leaves a bland aftertaste at the full price for the campaign.

The Halo Infinite campaign will be released on December 8, 2021 for PC and Xbox Series X | S. The multiplayer mode is already playable for free in a beta on both platforms.

Quiz: Which game character does this weapon belong to?

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8/10

“Halo Infinite is not only the successful return of the Master Chief, but also the arena shooter. 343 Industries shows the strengths of the series well and has not only created an exciting campaign, but also an extremely fun multiplayer mode. The lack of co-op mode and the poorly thought-out Battle Pass system, however, tarnish the joy. ”