Campaign for Halo Infinite: the Digital Foundry
Halo Infinite is an outstanding game.
Against all odds, I believe 343 has created one of the best first-person shooters of the last ten years.
In terms of design and nailing the ‘combat sandbox’ experience, it’s a release that far exceeds the studio’s previous work on Halo 4 and 5.
My concerns about the transition to an open world have been dispelled, and despite the game’s ostensibly difficult development period, I adore it.
Is it flawless? Definitely not.
There are numerous technical issues to address, and based on early marketing assets, I’m not sure this is the game that was originally envisioned.
You have to play it, regardless.
Let’s start with the difficult issue of the open world.
The gradual shift in the games industry away from linear design and toward wide-open play areas crammed with busy work and filler content is becoming a real issue; franchise titles like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed are prime examples of this trend.
Thankfully, Halo Infinite’s level design approach works brilliantly, exactly as the preview build suggested, taking the foundational building blocks of Halo 1’s second mission and expanding them into something much larger in scope.
It works, and it keeps a lot of what makes Halo unique while also adding a level of freedom that feels natural.
Consider the original Crisis rather than the later Far Cry games to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
Looking out into the distance, you’ll see pieces of a broken Halo ring floating in space, disconnected from each other.
As you progress, you’ll discover these pieces, which act as mission zones, similar to Halo 1’s second mission but larger.
Like in a classic Halo game, you always have a main goal, but the mission’s scope has been expanded to allow you to go your own way.
The various outposts strewn about the map are optional, but once taken, they provide tangible rewards, such as vehicles.
There’s never enough content to feel overwhelming – Halo doesn’t feel like a giant to-do list – and this is why it succeeds where so many modern open world games fail.
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