Halo Infinite Review


Jack Schroeder, Staff Reporter

Back in December of 2020, there was much anticipation among Halo fans regarding the release of the next main installment of the series: Halo Infinite. 343 Industries, the video game developing company that obtained the rights to the Halo franchise in 2011 after Bungie’s departure from Microsoft in 2007 and its subsequent halt of developing Halo games in 2010, announced that the game would be released during “Holiday 2021”, with the exact date eventually being December 8, 2021. Since 2011, 343 Industries has been developing the Halo video games, releasing titles such as Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (a remastered version of the original, made by Bungie in 2001) Halo 4, Halo: Spartan Assault, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo: Spartan Strike, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, Halo Wars 2, Halo Recruit, Halo: Fireteam Raven, and now Halo Infinite. Many of these titles were not first person shooter games like the main installments, rather mini games or third person strategy games. 

On July 23, 2021, 343 Industries released a sneak peek of Halo Infinite, and it was not received very well by some fans. The main criticism of the game was the textures and colors of the physical objects, as well as characters and non-player characters’ graphics. Many fans were also worried about the weapon inventory in the game, as well as how the “open world” style of the game would work, because Halo games have always had linear levels and missions to play, not the free-roam concept that games like Grand Theft Auto have operated with. 343 Industries took in all of the criticism, and began fine-tuning Halo Infinite for its release in the coming months, eager to impress their fans.

When the game was released on December 8, excitement was at its peak, and people flooded the game to experience the open world style of the campaign. It was taken very well, and many critics who previously degraded the sneak peek were impressed. I was skeptical at first of the new free-roam concept, as I felt it didn’t go along with the traditional linear aspect of gameplay that the Halo franchise built itself on. I was wrong.

When I first arrived on Zeta Halo after completing the introductory mission, I was very impressed. It felt like I was playing in a whole new world of Halo, one that was more immersive and gave you a more real feeling of what it would be like to fight the whole war on a Halo ring, not just the main missions and major turning points. The introduction of FOBs (forward operating bases), high value targets, enemy armories/important establishments, and distressed groups of Marines was great and made the game feel more realistic. If you did not want to participate in the side missions and minor events, you could still play the main story within the campaign, but you wouldn’t get the full completion achievement. 

The story of the campaign picked up a little after where it left off in Halo 5: Guardians, and gave the context of what happened in between the two games with cutscenes that introduced the new enemy called the Banished, as well as what happened to Master Chief’s former artificial intelligence companion, Cortana. Another new enemy, called the Harbinger, was introduced and ended up playing a big role with helping the Banished throughout the story. I enjoyed these new enemies and felt it was a massive upgrade from previous installments.

The Halo franchise is responsible for a nostalgic legacy of multiplayer gaming, with games like Halo 3 being beloved almost exclusively because of their online gaming. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is the opposite, and is a catastrophic failure in my opinion. At launch, Halo Infinite was (and still is at the time of writing this) missing core components and features of the game. These components being “Forge”, a game mode where you are given the opportunity to build your own online game with objects and scenery from Halo, and co-op campaign. Previous Halo games were released at launch with these components, as opposed to Halo Infinite, where they are currently absent and the time frame in which they will be implemented is uncertain. 343 Industries has said that they would be released at some point, but after 3 months since the release of the game, it is beginning to make me question whether or not they are even working on their implementation. Halo Infinite is also lacking other online content which other games were given after their releases, such as new maps, game modes, armor customizations, etc.

Overall, I would say Halo Infinite is a good game. It very easily could have been a great game, and quite possibly be considered one of the best Halo games of all time. Unfortunately, 343 Industries did not manage their time well enough, releasing an incomplete game after already delaying the release once before, leading to one of the worst online Halo gaming flops in the franchise’s history. Currently, fans in social media comment sections are harping 343 Industries to “add more content” or “add Forge and co-op”, but unlike their response to the sneak peek event, they have been silent and have only added miniscule content like online events, all the while ignoring the blatant unrest among their fanbase.