A total of 20 years on from the first Halo game’s launch on the original Xbox, players now have a shiny new sequel and a shiny new family of consoles. The Halo Infinite campaign release date is nearly here, after some lengthy delays, and boy was it worth the wait.
Since Halo Infinite multiplayer came out a few weeks ago, you probably already know that there’s tonnes of promise in that player-versus-player (PvP) side of the game. There are lots of fun modes to enjoy here, and unlike some online multiplayer games, it isn’t too difficult for new players to jump in and understand what’s going on. After a handful of matches, you should start to feel like you’re at least doing something useful in each round.
The battle pass system may not be perfect, with its slow progression and a few other frustrations (trying to complete the battle pass objectives, whilst also winning individual matches, can create conflicts of interest for players), but those quibbles fade into the background when you’re enjoying the minute-to-minute gameplay.
Microsoft gave RadioTimes.com pre-launch access to the Halo Infinite campaign, and that’s what the main body of this review will focus on. We’re going to stay as spoiler-free as we can, because many fans will want to experience the single-player story with fresh eyes. And so, read on for our plot-light thoughts!
The Halo Infinite campaign doesn’t waste any time, that’s for sure. It jumps straight into the action, with the Master Chief (once again voiced by the effortlessly cool vocal cords of Steve Downes) going toe to toe with a brutal new villain.
Things don’t go well, as you might have seen in the trailers, and the Chief is left floating in space as his enemies take control of an entire Halo Ring (a vast circular world that could be turned into a super weapon).
Of course, the Chief does eventually get brought back into the fray, but he’s much too late to stop his latest group of enemies – who call themselves The Banished – from spreading across this entire world. And he’ll need some help if he wants to stop these violent villains from using the Halo Ring’s full destructive capabilities.
So begins a surprisingly heartfelt story, which sees the Chief reckoning with his past as he tries to forge a new future. With so many of his former comrades now just corpses, the Chief makes unlikely new allies as he trudges – one firefight at a time – towards a showdown with the big bad.
It’s a story with big emotional moments and plenty of exciting action, and it’s well worth playing for newcomers and seasoned fans alike. There is plenty of lore there for the hardcore fans, but newbies should be able to understand what’s going on at all times.
That’s not to say there aren’t weaknesses to the Halo Infinite campaign. There are open-world segments between the main levels, and similar to the ones in Gears 5, these larger environments seem somewhat superfluous.
There are enemy bases to overthrow and collectables to search for in the open-world, but it all feels like a very obvious sideshow, and some gamers may find themselves legging it to the next mission instead of exploring. It’s a shame, because some of the environments look very nice from a visual standpoint, and the battles at the bases can be very fun if you bother with them.
In an age where games like Sony’s God of War (2018) have managed to do away with loading screens altogether, it’s also somewhat disappointing to see Halo Infinite sticking with those dull holding messages. When you transition from the open-world into a mission, there’s almost always a chunky loading screen, even when you’re playing on a next-gen console. Haven’t games evolved beyond this?
However, much like the common qualms with the multiplayer mode, the issues with the Halo Infinite campaign are very easy to look beyond. The minute-to-minute gameplay is consistently enjoyable and it only gets better as you unlock more abilities – you’ve got the grappling hook from the start, but the Chief acquires a number of other tricks as you go along. There are some incredibly satisfying guns just waiting to be picked up on the battlefield, too.
In the main, the Halo Infinite campaign is a really good time, and it’s easy to get sucked in as the story comes together (even dense Halo lore can be interesting in the right hands). And like the game’s multiplayer mode, it shows a lot of promise that could be built upon for years to come as Microsoft rolls out more updates. We look forward to seeing what the developers from 343 come up with next.
The Halo Infinite campaign launches at 6pm GMT on 8th December 2021 on Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and Xbox Cloud Gaming. We reviewed on Xbox Series X.
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