LifeisXbox’s Halo Infinite review | 20 years ago Halo: Combat Evolved fundamentally changed console gaming. The beloved Halo franchise is one of the big pillars of Xbox and with Halo Infinite it returns in a big way. Master Chief’s journey was started by Bungie and Microsoft created 343 Industries when Bungie split from Microsoft in 2009. 343 not only creates experiences but also oversees everything related to Halo, examples are Halo Wars and the TV series from Halo on Paramount+, can’t wait for that one! A lot is riding on Halo Infinite, a brand-new in-house engine called the Slipspace Engine and for the first time, Halo has a free-to-play multiplayer.
Let that sink in for a moment, a completely free-to-play multiplayer with Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and pc players. That alone makes Halo Infinite remarkable and ready for a completely new era for legacy players and many newcomers. Halo Infinite’s first reveal impression might not have been the best, remember the Craig memes? So after a year delay, Halo Infinite is finally ready for the public, the time has come to play as a Spartan. The time has come to play one of the best games that’s available on Xbox. Halo evolved, Halo will inspire again, Halo has returned and is the new FPS king. Halo is back, baby!
The entire game feels like Halo’s most popular franchise level ‘Halo’
Before we continue with our Halo Infinite review I want to honor Craig. Without him, Halo Infinite would never be this good. In all seriousness, I want to give a special shout to all developers from 343 as the weight of the Halo franchise on your shoulders must have been hard to carry. You can be proud and I can’t wait to see what is next in Halo’s journey.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- Online multiplayer | There is nothing like that feeling when you earn a multi-kill in Halo. It is been since Socom on Playstation that I was so invested in an online multiplayer game. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is a magical addictive experience that is hard to quit. Main reason of that is the incredible and satisfying gunplay. Cautiones play is important here, as it is near impossible to win a gunfight if you don’t have the initiative. Here a fight against an opponent can feel like it lasts a lifetime. That particular sweet moment between reloading assault or switchen to your side-pistol is such an adrenaline moment that no other game manages to reproduce.
- (Online) Theatre Mode | You can watch earlier played matches in the theatre mode. People who love a photo mode feature will absolutely adore this option. You can freely move the camera around and capture epic moment so you can share it with friends and social media strangers. Want to look up how an enemy Spartan got the better of you or want to rewatch how you managed to stick your grappling hook to a Banshee? All of that is possible with Theatre Mode. It must be quite the undertaking to store all those clips from millions of players, so I really appreciate that 343 and Microsoft want to do these lengths.
- Superb story and memorable characters | Arguably the story from Halo 5 was a bit all over the place, 343 realised this and went great lengths to change this with Halo Infinite. There’s a two year break between the ending of Halo 5 and this new adventure, Master Chief is found in space by ‘the pilot’ and a newly introduced AI ‘The Weapon’ and things go forward from there. What I specifically liked was that newcomers won’t be lost, as the two decades of story material is nicely explained. It doesn’t matter when you started playing Halo, the cinematic and emotional experience will grab everyone by the throat. That’s mainly because of a strong cast of characters, Master Chief is undeniably the main focus. But another familiar star was my favorite character, you all know them if you played Halo Wars 2… ring a bell yet? War chief Escharum, his battle experience matches Master Chief and quickly became one of my favorite villains in the Halo universe. The relationship between Chief and his new AI, called The Weapon is another interesting reason why the story works. I love the sarcastic dialogue between them, it is hard to beat the legendary Chief and Cortana duo but it comes really close to be even more memorable.
- Master Chief is different | John is still the same kick-ass soldier who isn’t afraid of anything but… John’s also a bit broken about what happened and for the very first time Master Chief seems vulnerable. While he’s still shooting aliens in the face I was very surprised to hear some of the dialogue. I think 343 portraits Chief in a way that will be recognizable for many people.
- Jen Taylor, we love your work! | Voice performances are excellent. With fantastic work by Jen Taylor who is voicing not one, not two but three characters in Halo Infinite. All with recognisable little differences that show the talent of Jen. Master Chief and other voiced work is very good too and really manage to uplift the cinematics and audio collectibles. Honestly iconic work has been done by the audio team, from the soundtrack, voice actors and sound effects.
- We had strong soundtracks this year but Halo Infinite stands out the most | Forza Horizon and Guardians of the Galaxy’s soundtrack was brilliant this year but the blend between Halo’s known sound and completely new sounds might be the biggest accomplishment in gaming’s audio work. The composers clearly took inspiration of all previous Halo games and made some bold and risky choices that turned out overwhelmingly great. It gives the cinematics more punch, makes the fights in the sandbox gameplay more epic and regularly touches the right spots.
- Halo Infinite’s art direction is the strenght of the entire campaign | This isn’t the greatest visual experience on Xbox Series X|S but no other game nails the art direction so well. The alien structures and vistas are incredible, to the point that you’ll be using the screenshot function every few minutes. Did I expect more visual polish from Xbox’s key franchise? Maybe. At the same time, Zeta Halo gives the player an open-world sandbox with so many visual setpieces that it makes it the most memorable visual experience. Yeah, even more than Forza Horizon’s beautiful world. Where Halo Infinite excels in is lighting and reflection effects, with inside environments this really comes forward. Banished bases especially are a feast for the eyes with the combination of materials and lighting. As a benefit the constant change between Zeta’s large open spaces and the interior areas gives enough variation. And I haven’t even spoken about Halo Infinite’s coolest visual trick, Zeta’s ring. The always present skyline of this massive ring has a constant effect on shadows and other lighting effects, making everything in the world look freaking fantastic.
- Zeta Halo is the perfect open world | This might come as a surprise for readers that know me, as I frequently admit that I’m a bit tired of large open world games. Main reason is always the overwhelming things to do. Here’s where Halo Infinite’s gradual progression comes in. The world slowly opens and doesn’t overwhelm the player with hundreds of waypoints, better yet it is completely optional. Infinite’s story is a pretty linear undertaking. However, if you decide to commit yourself fully you have lots of activities to complete and collectibles to find. I personally had a great time exploring Zeta’s dark caves and high mountain tops. Again, all optional as story missions are only a few moments away with a Warthog.
- Opening up the game to an open world approach highlights the vehicles more | Ask a Halo player about favorite franchise moments and more than half will mention the Halo level in the first Halo. The little freedom you have on that level was great and this translates exactly in the open world gameplay. You have much more reason to use Halo’s fun to control vehicles. I have always been in love with the Ghost vehicles and now I can use them all the time. Or I can take a Warthog and drive around to explore.
- Exhilarating combat | Halo’s combat has always been a fun sandbox, with Halo Infinite things are more expansive with choice and combat tactics. One major new ability comes with the grapple hook, this brand-new equipement is an essential part of the experience now. And damn, I can’t imagine Halo without now. Sometimes I felt like Spider-Man with a heavy combat suit! Scaling buildings and sniping enemies has never been more satisfying, or simply rushing in with melee attacks. Highlights happen frequently with Halo’s combat as the freedom opens so many possibilities and many Game DVR videos on Xbox Live.
- Every weapon feels great to use | Gunning in Halo, campaign or multiplayer never felt this good! Plasma, shocking, kinetic or normal bullets all of them have a special place in the armory from Master Chief. The feel, sound and tactics from each weapon is perfectly balanced and extremely fun to use. That’s also why the open world sub-missions never got tiresome or repetitive, the large arsenal of weapons, 22 to be precise keep things entertaining.
- (Online) Academy | Mostly created to give newcomers a breathing space, learning how to play Halo’s multiplayer. Each weapon has drills and earning enough points will earn you up to three stars. Not only is it fun for newcomers but those who played Halo for years now have a neat challenging way of trying to get all stars.
- (Online) Perfect designed online maps | Seven 4vs4 maps and three 12vs12 maps reads like it could use more content but the maps are simply perfectly designed. Meaning you can replay them constantly without becoming bored of them. Especially the big team battle maps are so well designed that every type of player can play it how they want. Close combat, ranged shooter or with vehicles. What really shines here is how balanced everything is, power weapons are always nicely placed at spots that are easily defended. Making the high risk versus reward extremely satisfying
- Online multiplayer progression | 343 has done some big changes into making progression better since the beta release. Before the changes things were so damn slow and now I feel that you are earning too much experience and fly through the battle pass. We’ll have to realize here that by making Halo free-to-play, 343 had to make other mechanics to earn money from players. Nothing wrong with that, that’s just how business works. Balancing that out isn’t easy but I feel that the game is good enough to get passed slow or fast progression. I quite like the online tasks for extra experience, like killing a few enemies with specific weapons. There is a big issue with challenges that require the player to play a specific way though, as this translates in annoying online players who don’t play for the game mode mission but for selfish challenges for experience.
- Boss fights | Hit and miss are the boss fights in Halo Infinite. Most are brilliant but there’s one specific moment that I hated with all my heart. Boss fights are basically enemies who take a million bullets before they finally die and will take some effort. All of them require a tactic that makes them fun. Weird enough these fights literally beg to be played in co-op as some mechanics totally make sense to do with a friend.
What we disliked
- Co-op features are promised to come but there is no excuse for this typical missing Halo-experience | Halo always had the option to play the campaign co-op and the fact that this feature isn’t in the initial release, players will have to wait for May 2022 or longer, is an unforgivable crime. Co-op play is the heart and soul of many Halo fans, I don’t understand why 343 skipped this major part of the typical Halo experience. I personally never played the previous Halo games with another player but so many friends of mine did. Seeing the disappointing reactions to this news is totally understandable.
How long to beat the story | 18 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 25 hours (not including online achievements)
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