It has been no less than 47 years since we last got any sort of significant news about Halo Infinite. It feels like in that time, the world has gone to hell and taken us along with it. Rampant disease, riots in the streets, schools closed for months and everyone forced to work from home–
It’s only been a year?
Seriously, it has been a drip feed of info. Today however, Xbox and Halo fans eagerly awaited the clock to strike 9AM Pacific/12PM Eastern to get their first REAL glimpse of our new adventure with Earth’s greatest hero, the Master Chief. Was the wait worth it? Grab a seat, Spartan, let’s talk about it.
I don’t want to do an entire summary for every single frame of the reveal, I just want to pick out some cool things and some not-as-cool things and some things that made me go “Hmm, alright.”
Believe me, if I went over everything this article would have to be on its own hard drive. So let’s break it down in easy to digest chunks:
It finally happened, Halo has finally gone (at least semi) open world. I think it’s a great idea. The best aspect of Combat Evolved were those times in the campaign when the level opened up and allowed you to approach the situation from several different angles. This is that, but on a way grander scale. I’ve definitely suffered from open world fatigue in these last few years, but I’d make an exception to see what Halo could bring to the table. I’m not committing to the idea that the entire map is one massive open world adventure, I’m leaning more towards a semi-open world concept like we’ve seen in recent games like Gears of War 5 and God of War PS4. In any case, more room to breathe and be inventive is an overwhelmingly welcome idea, in my opinion.
The Bad Guy
Meet Escharum, a devotee of Atriox. Let me just say it: I LOVE this guy. He’s big and tough, he’s in your face (literally.) and best of all? He’s THEATRICAL. This guy waxes poetic about wiping the floor with the UNSC, and openly admits he KNOWS Chief will shit-kick his way into a 1 on 1 confrontation, and he encourages him. He wants it to happen, just to be able to go out with a bang. We must make sure to oblige him.
First of all, this is very different from “graphics”. What I’m highlighting here is that I absolutely love the look of the THINGS in this game. They went back to the bulky, utilitarian looks of the MJOLNIR armor and UNSC ships. I love it, I’m here for it. Dom and I have over the years repeatedly referred to the Halo 4 and 5 aesthetic as “techno-fucky” and I’m so glad it’s getting toned down. I can’t wait to fiddle with my armor in multiplayer (or the single player after-campaign, if my theories are correct ;-))
I just think it’s neat to see little rabbits and birds and deer running around the ring. Most significant we’ve gotten before were those weird birds in Halo 2. Maybe we’ll get to actually hunt some animals to craft some stuff, who knows?
THE “HMM, ALRIGHT”
New toys, new moves
I’m not going to act like Halo Infinite is the first FPS to introduce a Hook-Shot, because it’s certainly not. It’s a big deal however, because it’s a pretty large gameplay shakeup for a Halo game. Armor abilities come to mind, so maybe we’ll get a few more gizmo’s to help us navigate the ring. Along with being able to grapple to ledges, and enemies, Chief can grab an explosive barrel with a *thwip* of his wrist like he was bitten by a radioactive spider, then toss the barrel at some enemies for a multikill. I dig it, hopefully there are more applications for the hook shot we’ve yet to see.
Another thing I noticed in the demo was targeting specific body parts for different effects. At one point, specifically minute 4:02 in the gameplay demo, Chief shoots a Brute in the leg, and the Brute stumbles forward. That’s a neat trick and hopefully comes more in to play through the rest of the game. Again, this has been done elsewhere for years, but cool to see in a Halo game.
I never thought that Halo Wars would have such a big impact on the main line games.Usually with big franchises like this, you have your main game or movie, then a hundred different spin offs, novels, comics and such. The main game/movie usually informs the expanded material, very rarely does the expanded material affect the main story. Having The Banished show up in such a humongous way here is awesome, and makes me feel like my time playing Halo Wars 2 was rewarded, we need more of that. Looking at you Star Wars.
Hate to say it but certain sections of the demo looked rough. Like, Xbox One launch day rough. I hope this demo was some sort of early build, or at least gets a little bit of a tune up before launch. Really not trying to be nitpicky on this, but this is the flagship of flagship games for a brand new super powerful console, this shit should’ve impressed, and it just kind of met the level it needed to be at to make an appearance. Granted, we only saw one area, so I am very optimistic. Also there will be some sort of raytracing visual update put out soon after launch, so maybe that will get everything looking tip top.
Sound, specifically the Assault Rifle
This is super, super nitpicky and pedantic but I don’t care. The assault rifle sounded like a wet fart. That gun and it’s firing sound are iconic, they shouldn’t have messed with it. Small gripe but the Assault Rifle is probably your most common gun, it should sound punchy like in past iterations. That “Commando” rifle Chief picks up though? That’s more like it.
I’ll close off with talking about the story. Halo 5: Guardians left off with (Spoiler for a five year old game) Cortana basically taking over the galaxy by having humanities AI partners abandon us and join with her. This was a weird left turn for a Halo game, and as weird as it was, it was at least a bit refreshing and I really want to see what happens next.
With no mention of Cortana or her new faction “The Created” made in this demo, at first it seemed like that entire humongous plot point would be swept under a rug the size of Jupiter, but upon rewatching the demo, Escharum, the theatrical Brute fellow, mentions that “The Harbinger” and Atriox are working together, I think we can all agree that The Harbinger is a Covenant term-of-endearment type name for Cortana.
I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds, especially with this new format that’s surely to be meatier than the standard 6-8 hour campaign fare. I’m excited, you’re excited, now we just have to wait it out.
In any case, those are all my thoughts about today’s showcase, it answered a lot of questions and raised even more and I can’t wait to get more answers when Halo Infinite exits Slipspace and lands in our living rooms this holiday season on the Xbox Series X (And Xbox One, and PC…)