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Halo Infinite Review

Halo Infinite Review

Ever since 343i took the helm of making the Halo games, they have failed to live up to the very high bar set by Bungie. While Halo 4 had a decent campaign, it paled in comparison to Bungie’s trilogy and the multiplayer was quite bad and don’t even get me started about Halo 5. Now, after 10 years or so, I can finally say that 343i has managed to reignite the franchise’s spark with a stellar campaign and arguably the best multiplayer in any Halo to date.

Due to the feeble reception of the last two Halos, Infinite feels like a reboot in some ways and also manages to continue 343i’s trilogy. Since there is a gap between Halo 5’s and Infinite’s events, it feels like something fresh. Halo Infinite takes place in 2561, about three years after Cortana’s takeover. UNSC has fought and lost to the Banished (new enemy faction led by Atriox), and Chief has been AWOL for some time.

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Echo 216 or ‘the Pilot’ finds and awakens the Chief floating in space and right away, Master Chief sets off to fight through a set of beautiful Combat Evolve-esque corridors full of the Banished. Right away, the game has you glued to the screen thanks to its opening cutscene, level design, and gameplay. Soon you are introduced to The Weapon or as I like to call her — baby Cortana (not like Cortana in attitude) — and then you are set to explore the open-world of the Zeta Halo ring to save humanity once again.

To be quite honest, I am tired of the open-world formula with thousands of meaningless things to do but thankfully, 343i did not go overboard with the side content available and even better — all of it is optional. Arguably, what makes Halo Infinite so much better — especially the open world — is the addition of the grappling hook that Chief has. Traversing has never felt any better and it fits perfectly with Halo’s gameplay. Besides using grapple to move around Zeta Halo, you can use it to interrupt a jackal while he’s wielding a shield, grab weapons, and — my personal favourite — grabbing the coils and yeeting enemies.

I don’t necessarily enjoy side missions in open-world games, but Halo Infinite’s side missions are quite engaging and rewarding. The side missions reward you with new weapons and valor. Valor is an in-game currency-esque system that gives Chief access to new weapon variants, marines with badass weapons, and new exciting vehicles. Other rewards scattered around Zeta Halo include armour lockers which give you armour to use in multiplayer, and spartan cores that allow you to upgrade your equipment (grappling hook, threat sensor etc).

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While equipment is a great addition in Halo Infinite’s sandbox, the grappling hook is excessively perfect and makes the balancing in the types of equipment feel uneven. Even in Heroic difficulty, I only switched to using the threat sensor here and there but for the most part, I always found myself using the grapple hook and this is my only complaint when it comes to balancing. At times it felt like they didn't want you to use any of the other equipment available. It was the contrary when it comes to weapons however, with each of them being extremely well-balanced and having a purpose in different missions throughout the campaign.

Overall, I think the open-world is widely welcomed into the Halo franchise. Especially since even with the open world, the game manages to stay intact to its roots; offering you the same linear missions with a very well executed narrative. Having said that, the lack of biomes in Zeta Halo was kind of disappointing and whilst I did not miss co-op during my first playthrough, I can’t help but imagine how much more fun exploring Zeta Halo could be with friends. Although, I’d recommend you to play it solo at least once to feel what the Chief is feeling. Alone and stranded while all of humanity’s weight is resting on your shoulders, it really helps you connect and feel for the Chief.

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Other than the visually pleasing forerunner structures and Banished ships, the enemies are highly detailed and have the best dialogues (especially the grunts) in any game to date. The Elites taunt the Chief if he misses a few shots by saying ‘Do not worry, he cannot shoot’, and I can go on forever about the grunts. But my favourite grunt dialogue has to be when they mock Master Chief by saying ‘sucks that your blue lady (Cortana) blew up’ or they’d make fun of the Halo theme song (blasphemy). 

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If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with OSTs in games. I think Halo Infinite has by far the best soundtrack in the franchise’s history. Curtis Schweitzer, Gareth Coker, and Joel Corelitz have brilliantly composed an original soundtrack for the game by taking some inspiration from the classic Halos and taking exciting new risks with the music. Similarly, the voice acting is also exemplary. Nicholas Roye has done a great job as the Pilot and it really helps you understand the position he’s in. Similarly, Darin De Paul knocked it out of the park as Escharum, easily making him one of the most iconic antagonists of the franchise. Jen Taylor and Steve Downes reprise their roles as the Weapon and Master Chief; doing a phenomenal job once again, leaving you with many memorable dialogues.

Halo Infinite’s story-telling is top-notch. The dynamic between the Pilot, the Weapon, and Chief feels awesome. Pilot is scared shitless knowing he’s among the only humans alive, Weapon is Chief’s new replacement for Cortana (but extremely non-serious), and Chief just wants to kill everything in his way to save humanity. There were times in the campaign where I teared up and there were also other times where I laughed; it was exactly what I was looking for when I booted up the campaign initially.

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This blend of remaining intact to the original trilogy’s core while also making new additions makes for a near-perfect Halo. Halo Infinite is on par with Halo 3 and Halo 2 and I think that speaks a lot for the game itself. Infinite’s story gives you many answers but also leaves you with even more questions and wanting more.

Talking about the multiplayer, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer (at the core) is the best the franchise has ever seen. It has only improved since my initial preview of it, and 343i is actively working on it to make it even better. There are around 10 maps to play from and at the time of writing this, 343i has added four new matchmaking playlists into the game and have tweaked the battle pass progression system (my biggest and only complaint about the MP) even more. I think the multiplayer is ever-evolving and will only continue to get better, I’m just really glad that they have managed to nail the core gameplay and made it extremely fun to play. I continue to put hours into it every day and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

9.50/10 9½

Halo Infinite (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

343i had failed to live up to the high bar set by Bungie — until now. It was worth the wait to see Master Chief return in such an impressive manner and I am once again excited for the future of this franchise. The multiplayer and campaign combine to make a stellar experience.

This game was purchased at retail for the purpose of this review
Ibrahim K

Ibrahim K

Staff Writer

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