Halo Infinite - Campaign

Monday, 3 January 2022

After playing the multiplayer side of Halo Infinite I was a fairly excited to play through the campaign. The game ran pretty well on my computer and the guns seemed pretty fun to use. I was a bit hesitant about the open world aspects of the game though. This review is going to focus exclusively on the campaign of Halo Infinite, since that is the part that 343 Industries decided was worth $80 on its own.

Getting started

The game starts off pretty traditional with a mission on a space ship, followed by a short adventure through some forerunner base. This is where you meet my first major complaint about the game: the Cortana replacement. Named “The Weapon”, she makes annoying commentary about everything you do; tries to make jokes that never land and has the strangest facial expressions that never fit the mood.

Open world

After this second level, the open world section of the game appears which is my second major complaint. Halo games have always consisted of fairly large levels which you can approach in a variety of ways, and instead of embracing these individual sandbox experiences from the previous games, we get a single environment which feels more like Far Cry than Halo. This open world experience suffers from the same thing that nearly every other open world game does; sparsely populated with simple encounters that you largely have no reason to interact with. The game nearly exactly follows the Far Cry formula, of capturing a base (FOB in this case) which marks a bunch of objectives like “kill this enemy that has a huge HP pool” or “rescue this group of 4 marines”. The open world also seems to have brought with it a more broken checkpoint system. The game crashed on me once as I was driving a tank around, and after reloading the game I was in the same position but my tank and marine companions were missing.

Along with the open world parts of the game come incremental gear upgrades, such as improves shields or reduction in grappling hook cool down times. It is meant to act as a carrot to get you to explore the world but the world is so barren and boring that I ended up just ignoring it unless I happened to drive right past something blinking green. Once I unlocked all the grappling hook and shield capacity upgrades I never bothered with anything in the open world any more.

Campaign missions

The third major complaint I have is the actual campaign missions, they are the least impressive of all of the Halo games I have played (all but Halo 5). They almost exclusively take place inside of Forerunner buildings so they all end up feeling and looking the same. Nearly every level also has the same gimmick, you find a door or elevator or something that doesn’t have power, find one or more “power seeds” and bring them back to the thing that needs power to continue on. It also seems that there isn’t a way to replay campaign levels, so trying to beat levels in the shortest time, or with the largest score (which was my favourite thing to do in Halo: MCC) is out of the question. The open world plays a bit into my complaints with the campaign missions, since instead of just playing the next mission you first have to walk or drive over to it; and maybe find whatever weapons you want to start it with along the way. It almost makes the open world feel like a series of short commute levels that are not engaging or fun.

Story telling

The way the story is actually told is my fourth major complaint. It is all just exposition by the major villain, and “The Weapon”. The exposition is almost shakespearean at times as the lights dim and the characters monologue directly at Master Chief for several minutes at a time about all of their intentions.

Closing thoughts

On the bright side, the grappling hook is pretty fun to use and throwing explosive containers around never got boring, although it was weird from a world setting how the banished always keep groups of these volatile canisters around them at all times.

It took me 3 weeks to beat the campaign, as I just couldn’t commit myself to continue playing the game and eventually just decided to force myself to sit down and finish it. Several times I just had to turn it off after listening through a cutscene, and then I would just play something else instead of continuing to try and slog through the campaign.

The game is also completely missing co-op, which has been one of the best parts of Halo since the beginning

Score

3/10 - Pick up Halo: The Master Chief Collection instead if you want to play through some Halo campaign levels.

Written Monday, 3 January 2022

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