It has unfortunately taken a little longer than originally planned, but the release of Halo Infinite is finally imminent. After missing the launch last year, the extra time has certainly had a positive effect on the quality of the game. In an extensive play session of a few days we were allowed to go through a large part of the campaign.
A little bit of background
Halo Infinite takes place about fifteen years after the story of Halo 5: Guardians. Master Chief is found floating in space and the UNSC appears to have been largely wiped out. Throughout the story, Master Chief must find out exactly what happened to his former AI Cortana and how humanity lost the battle against the Banished. To find out more you will first find a replacement AI called The Weapon. Upon arrival at the indicated location, The Weapon appears to have quite a cheerful, curious and optimistic personality. The contrast with Master Chief, who after all the previous stories can be considered a real veteran, is especially strong during the missions. It’s a bit like a cheerful kid hooking up with a grumpy veteran.
After some introductory missions, Master Chief lands on the newest ring called Zeta Halo. Here you will quickly become acquainted with the mini sandbox structure of Halo Infinite. Upon arrival at Zeta Halo, several points of interest will be marked on your map. One of those elements are the so-called FOBs, also known as Forward Operating Base. Here you will find several units of Banished that you must exterminate in order to recapture the base for the UNSC. If you manage to do that, you will earn several extras. This way you get Valor points that serve as a kind of general progression. You can use these points to call in new troops, have vehicles delivered and put together loadouts of your weapons.
Another plus is that a captured FOB also marks multiple elements such as High Value Targets, new buildings to explore, and UNSC soldiers scattered across the map. For example, you can save the latter so that your total number of UNSC troops on the map slowly increases. You can also collect multiple collectibles by zooming in on the map. By using a ping in the environment you can detect various hidden objects. They light up bright orange in the area. For example, you will find audio files that give you more background about the story. But there are also several Spartan Cores in the area.
These special items give you the chance to improve your Master Chief in various areas. From thrusters to the new grappling shot, all items can be improved. In the case of the grappling shot, for example, you can lower the cooldown that way and therefore use it more often. It also gives you a little more freedom to create your own version of Master Chief. The cool thing about the grappling shot is that you have a lot more freedom to move through the world. But also when you come across a Jackal armed with a shield, for example, you can use the grappling shot to bypass the shield and break through the defenses.
Discover the Halo
Although it seems that every area is immediately accessible, there are indeed conditions to progress. Fortunately, it does not alter the fact that the maps offer a lot of freedom of movement. It’s a bit like Halo has chosen to go a little more in the direction of the sandbox games. But the story so far has been mostly more personal and intimate with a focus on the bond between Master Chief and Cortana. During my playing sessions on Zeta Halo I also had the strong impression that the gunplay in combination with the sound effects is a bit stronger than it was in Guardians.
And when it lands on Zeta Halo, the unmistakable soundtrack is of course also present. The sound is in any case very strong in terms of music, weapons and voice acting. When you encounter grunts in your path, they will often make funny comments or run away in panic. It remains a real pleasure to fight like a true killing machine. The fact that some people may not know much about The Banished is because they were introduced as a separate faction from The Covenant in Halo Wars 2. But there’s no question that they are formidable opponents for Master Chief. All in all, the Halo Infinite Campaign definitely leaves you wanting more. Unfortunately, it will be some time before the cooperative mode for the Campaign becomes available, as it is currently only planned for Season 2 of the DLC.
Looking forward to the release
It doesn’t take away that Halo Infinite looks fantastic, sounds wonderful and plays wonderfully. And with a story that finally revolves around Master Chief again, 343 Studios has already corrected the slight misstep of Halo 5: Guardians. Anyway, I can’t wait for the final release.