With Halo ’s newest installment having been out for roughly a month, Bot Gamer News wanted to check in on what has gone on in the game and first impressions on what works, what doesn’t and how it can be changed for the better.
It’s safe to say that “Infinite” is 343 Industries’ best title since they took over the series more than a decade ago.
The open world is fun to explore and searching for items such as skulls or multiplayer cosmetics keeps players engaged for a longer period of time while also offering more flexibility than the on-the-rails, linear missions from prior games.
Gameplay in general feels like the most polished version of “Halo” players have ever seen. The best aspects of the original games mesh with the modern FPS feel of “Halo 5: Guardians’” controls.
Old guns feel like themselves and the new guns fit into the meta without feeling unbalanced. The Ravager is on its own here, there’s no defending it, but others like the Cindershot and Skewer keep things interesting while still feeling like they’re from the same universe.
Which brings up the story: a masterpiece compared to “Guardians” and on par with what fans of the series had to come to expect prior to the developer switch. It successfully circumvents the messy “Guardians” storyline by kicking the campaign off in media res while also fostering connections with new characters in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
This is all helped along by all the small details 343 went out of its way to include, the most noticeable being NPC dialogue. Grunts and marines dropping one-liners here and there doesn’t change the game itself, but makes the open world feel more alive and engages players in a war most were dropped in the middle of.
[SPOILERS] While many expected this to be a conclusion for the Master Chief, it seems there’s more story to tell — whether that be in rumored DLC or another flagship title.
In the first weeks of the game, Big Team Battle quickly stood out from the other game modes by utilizing Halo’s robust sandbox system. The proficiency with which team-based vehicles could be used to score points incentivized playing the objective and brought together players whether they were in private parties or not.
Since then, the mode has all but ceased to exist due to matchmaking errors, though a fix is expected in upcoming January patches. As long as this mode comes back, and mode selection overall is overhauled and expanded, there won’t be room for many complaints about multiplayer once players have made it into matches.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: progression.
While the addition of a challenge for completing matches was quickly added, moving up in the ranks through challenges alone is brutal, especially after weekly challenges have been completed. For those looking to grind progression, this may not be the game to choose without a strict regimen of double XP boosts (and enough Rockstars and Poptarts packages to get those).
With the store keeping even the most basic armor pieces behind a paywall and armor cores keeping customization to a bare minimum, a key aspect of Halo multiplayer is intentionally missing from “Infinite.”
So with progression being delayed — even for those dedicated to putting in the time to complete challenges — and most worthwhile rewards being kept in the store, fixes start coming to mind.
Of course, as is with any free-to-play game, there will be a push to monetize it through cosmetics. 343 has to keep the lights on — but that isn’t what players have issues with. Cosmetics that cost money should be made for just that rather than being material that has been free with every other installment in a series.
Bundling emblems (yes, weapon, armor and nameplate emblems are separated) is a no-brainer. Making challenge skips rarer while filling the battle pass, which is meant to conclude five months from now, more actual content, is also a step that the developers will hopefully take.
It’s mind boggling that the emotes shown off by Spartans at the beginning of every match have yet to make an appearance in monetized content or even just as filler in the battle pass. They are almost sure to make an appearance later on, but the lack of them at launch is confusing.
A Month’s Conclusions
Overall, this game’s flaws are aggravating at worst. The game is still highly enjoyable whether players are taking on the campaign’s Zeta Halo or teaming up with other Spartans to fight each other in multiplayer.
“The bad” will likely be fixed once the developers have finished up their winter holiday, though the issues with progression and customization look like they will have a long fight ahead because of profits clashing with a better game experience.
Regardless, the future is bright for Halo as it remains a standout title in the FPS genre.