Halo Infinite Single-Player Campaign Review
12 December 2021 12:00 Games
The Halo franchise has been one of the most recognizable and beloved series of first-person shooter games in the industry ever since the release of 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved. The franchise reached new heights with its sequels Halo 2 and 3; while the prequel Halo: Reach was also appreciated in the community, it did not manage to receive the praise that its predecessors did.
Halo 4 and 5, although not hated, did not manage to please fans and critics as much as the previous games in the series. The story began to feel convoluted, and Halo 5 did not let players experience the entire game as the iconic Master Chief. It wasn’t just the story, though, as some of the gameplay changes were controversial and fans preferred playing the multiplayer of older games in the Master Chief Collection instead.
What Halo needed was a breath of fresh air. A soft reboot that would not disregard the legacy of the franchise while allowing players to feel that they no longer had to worry about the mistakes of Halo 4 and 5. Halo Infinite was poised to become that game, giving fans the hope that they needed.
Unfortunately, when the public beta was not looking as good as fans had hoped, expectations began to plummet and Halo Infinitewas eventually delayed to this year. Players were first treated with the release of the free-to-play multiplayer mode, which is as good as everyone wanted it to be and is addictingly fun to play.
Once the multiplayer component satisfied everyone, the game’s single-player campaign was finally released earlier this month. And, with the release of this campaign, the million-dollar question is whether it lives up to fan expectations and rescues the franchise after its rocky fourth and fifth outings.
The biggest concerns about Halo Infinite after its beta was revealed last year were based on its graphics. The character models did not appear to be very detailed, and one of the enemies became a popular meme due to the low quality of its model’s graphics, which even led to that enemy becoming an icon of toxicity towards the Xbox community by fans of rival consoles brands.
Fortunately, the time that the team took to polish the game’s graphics clearly paid off. The game’s world looks amazing, and, since the game is a bit less linear than its predecessors, players can truly take in the beauty of the sci-fi environments and explore it however they want.
The models are great and the detail on Master Chief’s armor is remarkable; the enemies that were once the subject of memes are now looking better than ever. On top of everything else, the game even looks pretty good on the Xbox One – although it’s recommended that you play it on the Xbox Series S and X to truly experience its visual fidelity.
The gameplay of Halo Infinite takes you back to what made Halo games so much fun. There are no attempts to change things too much. Instead, the Halo Infinitecampaign is all about returning the franchise to its roots.
The story is pretty decent, and the gameplay is great. Master Chief is once again the primary playable protagonist and he’s here to leave a mark. The combat feels organic and exactly like what we love about Halo. Different guns have different techniques that the player needs to learn, enemies are intelligent and challenging, and the game has large maps to explore.
Vehicles are more important than ever due to the size of the maps and the less-linear experience offered by Halo Infinite’s campaign, so it’s nice to rely on vehicles a bit for once, instead of just using them for the novelty.
The grappling hook is a great addition, too, as it makes traversal easier, adds fun to fighting enemies, and supports the player in messing around with the game. The boss fights in Infinite feel like they have more of a point, too, elevating them beyond typical shooting battles where the character with more upgrades wins.
There is not too much innovation to be found in Halo Infinite’s gameplay, but the fact that it includes everything that makes the franchise memorable – polished to greatness – is more than enough for this game.
If you have been playing Halo for a while, you’ll remember how wacky it can be in the gameplay department. Fortunately, Halo Infinite lets players go wild. If you just want a simple shooting game experience, you can go ahead and do that.
But, for players who like to experiment, there is a lot of fun to be had in Infinite because it lets you pull off some crazy stunts. I mean, the game includes both traditional Halo car physics AND a grappling hook – you can put two and two together and imagine how much ridiculous mayhem you can cause with that.
To newcomers, some of these things might feel like a lack of polish, but fans of Halo know that this stuff is exactly what gives the franchise such an entertaining personality.
A Bit Too Late
Unfortunately, despite Halo Infinite’s numerous delays and its single-player and multiplayer modes being released separately, there’s still a lot left out. The traditional co-op mode that has been part of the franchise since the first entry is sadly missing in Infinite, to be added at a later time.
Forge, which has become a series staple for over a decade, is also missing from this installment and will be added sometime later next year, just like co-op. Although the single-player campaign is a lot of fun, the multiplayer is already free and you get almost nothing extra with the campaign. This is a disappointment considering the $60 price tag and will require a lot of patience from customers who aren’t on the Xbox Game Pass.
The Verdict – A Return to Form
Despite a few hiccups, Halo Infinite is an excellent game that takes us back to the roots of the franchise and reminds us why we fell in love with it in the first place. It’s ambitious, beautiful, plays better than ever, and is just as wonky as you’d expect a Halo game to be.
The game has heart and will satisfy both long-time fans of the game and newcomers who may have been too intimidated to check the series out in the past.