Reviewed on a RTX 3080 with a 3440×1440, 120Hz Ultra Wide Monitor
I am part of the minority who actually love 343 Studio’s attempt at revitalizing Halo to new heights – although both Halo 4 and Halo 5 Guardians were developed with COD fanbase in mind, and missed a lot of what made Halo a great franchise, for the most part were excellent games. This didn’t stop the Halo Community from basically rummaging the franchise to the ground with displeasure. Sure, Halo 4’s campaign wasn’t as large in terms of level design, but it hit all the hallmarks of an excellent story and surprising gameplay elements. Halo 5 Guardians may have had a bit too much exposition, and the writers relied heavily on the players having knowledge of the expanded universe, but it was an excellent showcase of new mechanics and epic graphical feat. But, that wasn’t enough to bring it back to gaming talking points in the last 10 years. Halo Infinite is aiming to change all of that, and with this surprise 3 week early release, it is doing just that.
Back to the Golden Board
Halo Infinite’s design philosophy that 343 Studio is aiming for is to have Halo Infinite be the definitive Halo experience moving forward where you’ll only need one app to play any future campaigns of the franchise – with new iterations to gameplay and graphic engine. It is a wildly ambitious move, and since the game is on PC, I can see this vision becoming a fruitful reality. It all starts with Halo Infinites Multiplayer – the pinnacle element of the franchise.
343 has gone back to the root of what makes a Halo experience, Halo….except you can’t see your legs when you look down anymore….this hurts my OG soul – but yeah, onto actual talking points; there’s no loadouts, no power upgrades or modules to enhance your abilities, heck the TTK is back to basically Halo 3 days where your shield is abundant, having the player rely heavily on not missing shots rather than movements + 3 taps. It is extremely refreshing given the nature of gaming these days where guns like a decked out MP5 that can 2 tap you from 1000 meters away. It’s so frustrating. Right off the gate, Halo Infinite feels absolutely polished and balanced! Yeah, I know!
Now, I’m not going to truly sit here and praise it like it’s absolutely perfect, it is not. Right now there’s connection issues, some rubber-banding and so on – but its so far and few in between that you forget about it quickly. At it’s core though, there’s some things that’s missing, like a Battle Rifle mode outside of Ranked Games, Choosing specific modes outside of quickplay, the ability to check your stats, and maybe, just maybe, there’s too much bloom in the MA40 Assault Rifle.
The biggest community talking point is the Battlepass being too unforgiving to players where it forces you to do kills like….killing an enemy with a grenade while on the passenger seat of a Warthog to progress….why?! You do have Double XP, but for 30mins which really makes no sense given all the challenges in the Battlepass is skill specific. Some people have been playing since the beta launched and are still in like level 2 of the Battlepass.
Now, it’s been a few days since launch and 343 has been crucial and transparent about changes, and all has been adjusted to better accommodate players. For instance, the Battlepass now has a challenge for just playing how you want, and the timer for double XP has doubled. Good first start, but it is not enough as it is still a lengthy process to grind as well as having a timer on challenges that can take several matches to attain can be tedious.
It’s All About the Gunplay
But boy does it feel good to play. It is one of the finest feeling FPS games to date with a ton of options to adjust in the settings. 343 Studio even took the time to create a technique to minimalize input lag between your mouse and the monitor – pretty snappy! Halo is designed with controller users in mind, but they did not half ass MnK users, at all.
You start off with the Assault Rifle and the Sidekick pistol in each match, with the exception of Ranked giving you a Battle Rifle – both of which when used right, you can mow down whole squads – even though 1v2’ing players is very difficult. The game’s movement is tankier than other MP games given the nature of being a Spartan, which I welcome back any day of the week; just feels right to not rely heavily on movement, rather you’ll focus entirely in priming and hitting your shots. Weapons are mounted on walls in specific parts of the map – which can prove advantageous if you know what you’re looking for; I’ve been sniped far too many times, until I finally found the spawning location for it.
Modes like Oddball, Stronghold, Slayer is there and works like you’d expect – although I thought the element of not capturing zones were exclusive to Destiny players; I guess Halo too. There’s Big Team Battle as well with Slayer, Stronghold and Capture the Flag variations – I mean, this is a social mode where anything can happen, but having 24 Spartans duke it out comes with some hilarious moments. There’s gadgets you can get scattered in the map and one of my favorite is the Repulser Blast – reason why is, periodically an orbital drop would land and if you net a Skewer…..using the Repulser to blast back vehicles and then finishing it off with a Skewer is one of the most satisfying things you’ll ever do. The possibilities is sort of endless when you add elements like a Grapple Hook and grabbing explosive canisters.
Then going into pubs is adrenaline pumping as well. Smaller scale 4v4 but, incredible high IQ plays are needed as players going into these matches are Halo vets or TTV sweat-lords. It’s not always going to be an easy game going in, but without a doubt, 343 has found a formula that no matter the outcome, it is always fun to play.
Halo Infinite’s early release in the precipice of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042 has been a gargantuan success. The future is bright for 343 Studio’s and if the campaign ends up hitting all the hallmarks and exceeding expectations, I don’t see Halo getting dethroned anytime soon. And no, it does NOT need a Battle Royal, thank you.
REVIEW SCORE: 9/10
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