Master Chief is back to turn the tide on The Banished in Halo Infinite.
With all new arch enemies to fight Master Chief finds himself in possibly his most hopeless situation to date. With low expectations after the lack lustre premiere, this addition to the series also needed to make quite the comeback. Releasing its multiplayer early to compete with Call of Duty Vangard and Battlefield 2042 has given it some fierce competition.
Designed with classic Halo very much in mind, the combat feels clean and yet nuanced. Each shot counts and feels like it lands where placed, net code or rubber banding has not felt much of an issue for me. This of course is how things should be as a basic standard, particularly with the release of 2042 it feels necessary to highlight it. The map designs are consistently enjoyable and conducive to competitive play, there are stronger points on the maps but they don’t feel broken. You will always find an opposition oddball huddled around the tower but it is never too hard to weedle them out. There has been much said about the cheating and battle pass already but it does seem like 343 are taking fast and active steps to remedy the issues. The customisation side of Infinite is the most stilted part, if that was parked for the betterment of the story and mechanics, it’s a trade-off that worked. I am much more satisfied by the victory in a match, than the brief endorphins of a loot box. The other point that should be raised is of course the missing stats page, while encouraging a change of approach to the game by its players is not always a bad thing, it does feel heavy handed. I personally would have liked competitive mode to retain the tracking of stats.
The campaign releases as another solid entry in the Halo story. It’s a fitting and comfortable place to be, back on a halo ring with the Master Chief doing what he does best. It is very clear that you play as effectively a one-man army, a legend for you to live up to as you dance through combat with ethereal grace. The humour of the chaos you are perpetrating is not lost on the writers, who do feed plenty of one-liners to the NPCs to lighten the mood, grunts in particular have a great repertoire. The 60fps and 4K graphics really make for a polished and enjoyable experience. The Banished present a credible threat and bring a colourful set of characters into the story, earning their place in the ‘haloverse’ as much as the Prophets and the Flood did in the first games. The voice acting gives plenty of flavour to the action-packed story, even the collectable audio logs are an interesting drop of intrigue rather than a chore to find. The open world nature of the game feels different and fresh but yet still very much halo. Thus far I have not been pressured to do anything extra if I don’t want to. When I do come across extra objectives its only ever a small interlude that makes my travel in the map a bit more interesting.
I have not finished the story as yet, which is both a testament to the size of the map and my choice to run through on Legendary difficulty. Driven by the lack of a mission replays I figured I had better maximise my run through. There is much more to come from this game in the coming months, coop and mission replays being two of the big tickets. If they continue to build story-based content upon the solid platform they have built, they may yet turn this from a great game to an outstanding one.
Author: Joe, Bath store