Halo Infinite is the latest entry in the Halo franchise and the first title to be released on the Xbox Series X|S. The game had a four-year development cycle that was plagued with issues, which caused the game to be delayed by a year following strong backlash.
But, we think 343 Industries made the correct decision and they really made use of the extra time that they had to give players the Halo game fans have been wanting for the last decade.
Here is our review of Halo Infinite.
It was the right decision to delay the game
Halo Infinite was originally scheduled to launch alongside the Xbox Series X|S in November 2020, but the game was ultimately delayed following backlash after the gameplay was revealed.
Now, 13 months later and the game has finally been released, and it was definitely the right decision by 343 Industries.
The graphics were the main point of contention with players, with the gameplay reveal spawning the infamous Craig meme, but I can safely report that Craig is nowhere to be seen in Halo Infinite.
Instead, the graphics look incredible with a huge amount of detail in both the environment and enemy designs. While Halo games have always looked good for their time, they’ve rarely been the pinnacle of graphics at the time of release, and Halo Infinite is no exception.
There are better-looking games out there, but Halo Infinite looks and feels like a next-gen title and is exactly the step up that I expected to see from the game.
This is the Xbox system seller we’ve been waiting for
Due to Halo Infinite being delayed the Xbox Series X|S had a very lackluster start of the year, with very few “exclusive” games being released for it.
There were only a few and none were really incredibly titles, such as The Medium which was also later released on the PS5.
The second half of the year has been much better for the Xbox brand, with games such as Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and now Halo Infinite being among the highest-rated games of 2021.
It is also worth mentioning that all first and second-party titles are also released on day one on Xbox Game Pass, and Halo Infinite is no exception, making Game Pass a must-have purchase for Xbox players.
The best Halo game since Halo 3
343 Industries have taken what makes a Halo game great, with the Bungie era Halo games being a clear inspiration, and just elevated things a little bit further to bring everything we know and love into 2021.
When it comes to the best Halo game of all time the conversation will likely be a toss-up between the original Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3.
Halo: Combat Evolved is where the series started and it was mind-blowing at the time, with very few games offering anything close to it in terms of gameplay and graphics and it helped set the new standard for FPS games, taking over from the likes of DOOM, Quake, and Goldeneye.
Fast forward six years and Halo 3 would be released on the Xbox 360, during a time when online multiplayer really rose in popularity, making it one of the most played games of the late 2000s alongside games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Now, 14 years later and Halo Infinite brings that same sense of “this is something special”, something that hasn’t been felt in the series for at least a decade.
READ MORE: Halo Infinite multiplayer beta impressions
Is Halo Infinite better than Combat Evolved or 3? Only time will tell, right now there’s a mixture of new game hype as well as nostalgia for the classic games.
But, once the dust settles I firmly believe that Halo Infinite will sit in the top 3 Halo games of all time.
Halo Infinite brings everything that makes Halo great into the modern age
It has been a long time since the glory days of Halo and a lot has changed since then. 343 Industries knows this too and added a few elements to the game that just enhance things a little bit further.
One of the most fun things in both the campaign and multiplayer is the inclusion of utility items, mainly the Grapple Hook.
This acts as a hook shot and can be a great way to get around the game. Some parts of the campaign need it and create some fun parkour-style moments to help us gamers channel our inner Michael Scott.
Even when compared to the last entry in the series, Halo 5, everything just feels more enhanced and modern. And as this game is the best Halo we’ve seen since Bungie left, it feels worlds apart from what we were used to back in the 2000s.
The open-world surprisingly works
One of the most interesting aspects of Halo Infinite’s campaign is that it is open-world, or at least somewhat.
Following the first couple of missions, you are then thrust into an open world, with players having a lot more control over which mission they want to do and when.
For the first time players are able to explore much more of the world than they’ve been able to in previous games, which have always been very linear with players going from level to level.
FPS games typically aren’t open-world, especially games such as Halo and other popular franchises including Call of Duty and Battlefield.
This makes the decision odd as it begins to share more similarities with games such as Far Cry.
But, Far Cry is a very popular open-world FPS series so there is no reason why Halo Infinite couldn’t work either, and it really does and it is a breath of fresh air for the series.
Back on top of the multiplayer mountain
Throughout the second half of the 2000s, Halo 2 and 3 dominated console multiplayer on both the original Xbox and Xbox 360.
Halo fell from grace during the 2010s, with Halo Reach providing some success but following Bungie’s departure from Microsoft and the series behind handed to 343 Industries the series lost a lot of its popularity.
Since 2017 the gaming world has been obsessed with battle royale games, with titles such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone being among the most popular games in the world.
But now, it looks like players are finally becoming interested in jumping into more traditional arena shooter-style games, which has come at the perfect time as Halo Infinite is here to reclaim its crown as the king of FPS multiplayer.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is one of the most fun gaming experiences that I have had in 2021, and I’m not even good at the game as I’ve barely played online Halo over the years.
The modern quality of life aspects that have been touched upon earlier such as the Grapple Shot and other utility items really help to add a new level of depth to the game, as well as create some fun moments.
Halo Infinite multiplayer features many of the game modes that made the series famous, with both kill and objective-based game modes making an appearance.
As with most online games these days, Halo Infinite features a Battle Pass where players can earn dozens of cosmetic items to customize their Spartan.
There are some flaws with the Battle Pass which really lower the overall enjoyability of the experience, but when it comes to the gameplay aspect of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, it is one of the most enjoyable experiences of 2021 and it is great to finally see the Halo series back on top and it doesn’t look like it will go anywhere any time.
But, I still hold out that one day a Halo battle royale game will be released because it could work so well.
That Battle Pass grind though
I couldn’t sit here and write about how great Halo Infinite is without mentioning one of the biggest problems with multiplayer that is causing a lot of anger in the community, the punishing Battle Pass grind.
Many competitive games have a multitude of ways to earn XP, such as earning XP during a match as well as completing challenges for bonus XP.
When it comes to Halo Infinite, all of the XP is earned through challenges, the problem is these give next to no XP.
This makes leveling up the Battle Pass extremely slow as some matches can grant just 50 XP, approximately 5% of the XP needed to level up the Battle Pass.
Thankfully, 343 Industries has increased the XP of the first Daily Challenges that you complete with the XP scaling down the more challenges you complete.
But, it is still an extremely slow process, and for someone who enjoys grinding for a Battle Pass, such as myself who uses the Battle Pass as an incentive to play, it can really become demotivating and I have found myself not loading up Halo Infinite’s multiplayer as often I should.
Ever since 343 Industries took over the Halo franchise it has been on a slow decline both in terms of popularity and quality.
This left many players not expecting too much from Halo Infinite, but 343 Industries has managed to revive the series and bring it back to its glory days.
While it’s not perfect, it is the Halo game we’ve been longing for to help put the series back on the map.
Had 343 Industries chosen not to delay the game by a year it is likely we wouldn’t be praising the game like we are, but the decision was the correct one and it deserves every bit of praise it has received.
If you were on the fence about buying into the Xbox ecosystem, now is a perfect time to make the jump and do it.
Halo Infinite is available now on PC via Windows Store and Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S as well as being available on Xbox Game Pass across all platforms including Cloud Gaming.