Halo Infinite’s Campaign has been out for a little while now, and there have been many reviews and opinion pieces to come out since its release – check out our full review of Halo Infinite right here. After playing through the game myself, I decided to boil it down to simply what things were a hit and what were a miss in Halo Infinite’s Campaign.
Core Halo Gunplay: Hit!
It goes without saying Halo 4 and Halo 5 left a lot to be desired when it came to the gameplay of a Halo game.
The FPS genre has grown exponentially since Halo Combat Evolved came out way back in 2001. That game showed the world FPS games can have a home on the console market, more so when Halo 2 & Halo 3 took incremental steps to improving the core gameplay. By the time Bungie had left the Halo franchise, everyone knew how a Halo game played and felt.
It wasn’t like Call of Duty or Battlefield, while those games focused on having a wide range of items and attributes, sprinting and close scoping, Halo games were more based on the sandbox; you had a couple guns and a few different grenades, and one additional perk.
With Halo 4 and especially 5, that Halo gameplay was starting to get lost and felt more like other FPS games. Infinite most definitely bought that Halo feel back. The sprint mechanic is there but it is much less significant now and it’s not used so much as a clutch. You will only focus in when aiming when you’re using a gun with a scope.
Essentially, they took away a few layers so players can go back to what it was like playing Halo. A game of cat and mouse, finding ways to close the distance. Grenades being thrown back and forth, tight corridor sections where you must be quick on your feet. Large dynamic combat sections, with vehicles and a much broader set of weapons at your disposal helped bring the game back to its roots.
As I said, it just feels like a Halo game, it felt like the original trilogy but still modern at the same time. It is an extremely important part of the experience, and I am so glad they nailed that aspect.
I’ve played every Halo game apart from the Halo Wars titles, but man I was so confused by what was going on in Infinite.
It felt like the writers decided that they wanted to move away from Halo 5 and its missteps. Which is fair enough, as in my opinion that game was probably the series lowest point. However, you are continuing the story and after the massive cliffhanger Halo 5 ended on, you’d expect more than the very little they addressed in the game.
I’m not going to spoil anything here, but I’m just going to say that if I were you, I would watch a ton of story recaps on YouTube, because the game will expect you to have watched and read all the extra lore that has been made for the series, all in order to have a good idea where this game is kicking off from.
I will admit one thing though, this new story that has started will be much easier for them to follow up on. It just feels weird that the third game in the new trilogy is essentially restarting the story again without properly concluding the previous one.
Music & Sound: Hit!
I’ve got to take my helmet off to the staff in the audio department of Halo Infinite, as they did an outstanding job in every category.
The sounds of the guns are punchy, loud and have a real umph to them. Any type of gun you pick up, when you fire a shot, you can feel that impact and it is so satisfying. The same can be said for the different vehicles too – when you fire a missile from the Scorpion it just sounds like devastation.
The voice acting is also brilliant. The Chief has some great one liners, and he delivers them with such conviction. I actually think this is the best he has sounded in any game so far. When he is confident you feel it, and in those moments when he is expressing some sort of pain or regret, you feel it too.
The enemies as well, deliver some great lines and they all have their own personalities. The grunts especially, who have become a great source of comic relief over the series, will have you chuckling away as you are desperately trying to win a firefight.
Then there is the music, the classics are there as well as some great new ones. When you’re having those large battles or coming across something major it will kick in and get your spine tingling.
The Halo series has always had its own sound design, and once again Infinite captures the Halo magic.
Open World: Hit & Miss!
I must admit I had my reservations about Infinite being an open world game. I didn’t feel like that was something a Halo game needed and having played a lot of these type of games in the last five years I was starting to get a little bit of fatigue in that genre.
Having said all that, Zeta Halo (where the game takes place) is a pretty good map. From a visual standpoint there are lots of places to go and explore. What is crucial to any open world game, is that freedom to explore and that’s what you get. If your eyes can see it, you can go there.
As you progress through the game, you will be able to drive or fly to anywhere on the map. Like any open world game, there are tons of collectibles and hidden easter eggs to find. There is a ton of fan service for old fans who have been playing the game since the original Xbox, which I thought was a great touch.
However, that’s where the good really ends for me. After that it falls into another open world game with just a Halo skin on it. You’ve got “Enemy camps” to liberate, outposts to capture, helping NPCs under attack and towers to find. Yes, they have made a few subtle changes to the core design of those gameplay elements but essentially it is just like any other open world game.
At the beginning it was fun to land into a battle with a rocket launcher and blow everyone up, or ride around in a Ghost you have hijacked and run your enemies over with it. But eventually, it does get repetitive; there are only so many ways you can take on the same type of objectives.
On top of that the map itself doesn’t have much variety to it. It is basically a large version of the second level of Halo One, which coincidentally was a Halo ring too. There are no distinct sections that are vastly different from one another. Aside from a few banished outposts and Forerunner landmarks it’s all pretty much the same. I personally think they should have gone with the Final Fantasy 15 approach. At the beginning you’re in this open world, where you do a few main line missions but it’s more for exploring and levelling up your gear and character through side quests and other optional objectives. Then you leave that area and go back to traditional linear levels. I think that would have been a great way of getting the best of both worlds.
Lack of cutscenes: Miss!
Aside from a few cool cutscenes, the majority of those in Infinite are just the Chief talking to his new AI companion called The Weapon and his interactions with the pilot you meet at the beginning of the game. The main antagonists are usually monologuing through a virtual screen and their own cutscenes are few and far between.
As a result, it just all feels a bit too disjointed and isolated, and another reason why the story fell flat to me.
Even Halo 5 did a better job than this. 343 studios really need to understand, Halo isn’t just any FPS franchise. People fell in love with Halo for its story and characters, not just the gameplay and multiplayer. When you’re playing through the campaign, you want to get invested in the story and meet these new characters. The lack of cutscenes, meant there was none of that here.
Characters like The Arbiter and Sgt Johnson didn’t become favourites from audio logs, they became favourites by seeing them in action, watching them clash with other characters and, just being on screen in general for us to get to know them. Halo is an intergalactic story, but the lack of cut scenes meant there was hardly any story telling.
I mentioned earlier how 343 did manage to capture the Halo feel, but also make it feel modern too. Well, the Grappleshot was a major part in that.
We have seen it in other games, such as Titanfall 2, but I feel like they really made it their own in Halo Infinite. Never have I ever used an extra accessory in any FPS game as much as I have with the Grappleshot in Halo Infinite.
It’s a gamechanger, and a hugely positive one. The ability to quickly pick up an explosive item and throw it at an enemy, is so much fun! It feels so natural too, thanks to how easy it is to use and how well they have implemented it.
Not only that, but you can also grapple onto an enemy and take them out with a melee hit, or just use it to quickly get to cover for your shield to regenerate. It can be used in so many other ways, and it just elevates the gameplay so much.
Yes there are other useful abilities too, but the Grappleshot is by far the most useful and fun one to use. It sounds silly to think that a Grappleshot would become such a major part in a game, yet that’s just credit to the developers on how much thought they put into adding it. When I went back to play the previous Halo games, I genuinely missed it.
No Co-op at launch: Miss!
I hate to end this piece on a downer, but honestly the omission of cooperative play from the get-go was a huge disappointment.
Me and one of my oldest friend pre ordered the Xbox Series X Halo Anniversary Edition, in the hopes of playing the campaign together on Legendary. Just like how we did with Halo 5 and The Master Chief Collection when they launched. It was a huge disappointment for the both of us, and I’m sure we are not the only ones.
I know they have said it will be available in May, but I’m sorry, having it available six months after launch is just not acceptable! Let’s not forget, the game was delayed by a year and had been in development for six years. How can an option that has been a staple of the series not be available at launch?
This is part of a bigger issue in modern gaming, where games are being released before they are fully complete. But I was hoping Halo was not going to be one of them.
So those are my Halo Infinite Hits and Misses. Do you agree with any of them or even disagree? Are there any more that come to your mind? Sound off below, and let’s talk about it!
If you haven’t yet played Halo Infinite’s Campaign, you’ll find it playable on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. There’s a download available over at the Xbox Store.