The is the best thing I can say Halo: Infinitely is that it gets better as it goes. The single-player campaign begins as a basic first-person shooter dripping with the juice of nostalgia, and ends as a rudimentary open-world shooter swimming in the sci-fi tropics, starring everyone’s favorite emotionless space soldier and his dependent AI assistant. .
As the first open world in the Halo franchise and with more than a year of additional development time, I had high hopes in Infinitely. Maybe too high. Even with a hook, this game just can’t reach them.
I say all this with love in my heart. I’ve been a Halo fan ever since Combat Evolved, and I have two decades of happy memories associated with the franchise, most of which I experienced while playing Infinitely. That part was a treat — nothing like turning a corner in a random metal-lined hallway or driving a warthog down a narrow mountain trail, and feeling that warm, cheerful sense of familiarity. This is happening again and again Infinitely.
Still, reconstructing old environments is an easy part. Hello Infinite is the first entry into the open world in the history of the franchise, promising more research and spontaneity for the Master Chief than ever before. In practice, however, the world of Zeta Halo is limited and mostly linear, offering little surprise and little incentive to get off the beaten track. There are bases to capture and hordes to defeat, but with such a cramped map, these side quests naturally occur along the path of the main story, and the game automatically shifts the target to any mission nearby. Sidequests thus bend into a campaign and become indistinguishable from major missions.
As I felt ready to go out and explore the Ring, I realized I had already hit all the icons on my map.
that said Infinitely introduces new mechanics and tools that are really fun to play with, and the best of these devices is the catch hook. There are no invisible walls Infinitely, and the catch hook allows players to take advantage of Zeta Halo’s vertical space, climbing mountains and buildings in a series of punches and swings. The hook opens new points of view for each battle, and has saved my Master Chief from falling to his death many times. (Maybe I even sang “Spider-Chief, Spider-Chief …” under my breath from time to time. Maybe.)
Playing with the Xbox controller, the catch hook lives on the D-pad, along with three other tools added to the Chief’s arsenal as the game progresses: a shield, radar arrows, and movement I rarely use. I tried to set up the control panel, but I really don’t see the point when the grip hook does the same thing, but faster and in more directions.
Switching between these options on the D-pad requires a bit of practice, but when it becomes different nature, the hook, shield and radar make each fight more dynamic than Halo has ever been. The catch hook allows the Master Chief to pick up items from a distance such as weapons and explosives to throw, ultimately shocks enemies on contact and allows players to smoothly take over enemy vehicles. Infinitely is at its best when it provides a rich environment for capturing, protecting and landing floating blows to the head, with enemies attacking from all sides.
Now I’m going to talk some shit about the hook. I know, I just praised him and I stand behind everything I said, but I have to put it all in context. From my perspective, the most obvious innovation in Hello Infinite is his use of vertical space, aided by a catch hook – but that’s not a new idea at all, and honestly, other games have done it better.
Here are just a few recent examples: The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild In 2017, he was on the front pages due to a review of vertical research in the open world; last year, Doom Eternal beautifully demonstrated the power of parkour mechanics in an FPS environment; and Insomniac’s Spider-Man series has perfected the art of fast action. Compared to games like this, Infinitely‘this mechanics is not innovative at all.
I mention this because I think it’s a bear service to compare Hello Infinite only to other Halo games, not to your competitors. After all, competition is the root of evolution – and it’s a kind of Halo jam. I expected more from the pioneers of the FPS genre as I embarked on open world games. Just because it’s new to Halo doesn’t mean it’s new to the industry.
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