Halo Infinite finally evoled Halo's Combat (Long Review)

As a skeptic of the decisions made in Halo 4 and Halo 5 Guardians, I am very surprised with Halo Infinite. The sandbox team really took notes in how to balance the weapons, eliminating redundancy, etc. Perhaps the most impressive is how amazing the campaign is. I want to be clear that I am not being a fanboy. This is coming from someone who didn’t enjoy Halo 4 and considers Halo 5 Guardians average.

I’ll start with multiplayer. Halo has had an identity crisis after Halo CE. The game back in 2001 changed the genre for consoles and it can be considered the Doom for console shooters, with how it changed the combat flow, restriction on weapon carries and a health system you had to manage on top of shields. This made Halo stand out from it’s peers. Having elements of an arena shooter while also rewarding tactical strategy instead of quick movements like DOOM and Quake. Map knowledge is also key to defeating the enemy.

With weapons you had the Magnum, Assault Rifle, Plasma Rifle, Needler, Plasma Pistol, Shotgun, Rocket and Sniper Rifle. This simple set of weapons made the game balanced. I know many out there don’t like the Magnum being a 3 shot weapon but that’s not given. The shots had to be earned. You weren’t given an easy kill. An average and good player are distinct based on their performance with it and the skill ceiling was highlighted on knowing power ups, using Rockets when applicable mid range, shotty up close and a Sniper to use in far range. The Magnum isn’t OP. It’s an utility weapon. A jack of all trades.

Halo 2 shifted away from this with shields and no health packs, the BR became the main and it has allowed easier kills due to quicker projectiles and those button combos. The sandbox was essentially degraded since BR even defeats Sword if you trigger BxR. The Sniper was also weaker. Weapons from it’s predecessor are also downgraded. Plasma rifle no longer has stun and this mistake is what made it disregarded, since the plasma pistol has insane tracking.

Halo 3 made every weapon weaker. To include BR. You also notice that the best maps of this game are remakes. Nothing new really added and the equipment gimmick was just there.

With Reach, we see the community divide with how mp should be done. The sprint debate being one. Now with that considered, we see the DMR replacing the BR and the project is even faster than H2 BR. This reason alone is why Bungie added bloom, as evidence of the fact that the no bloom setting breaks the entire game. Bloom or no bloom, Halo Reach was not a satisfying shooter for multiplayer compared to the predecessors.

I’ll skip Halo 4 since it just continues with what Halo Reach did like armor abilities and all that. Next we had Halo 5 Guardians and to give credit, at least brought back the competitive scene, but not for long since the game was vastly different than tbe previous games. For one you had Spartan abilities and the game does attempt to make sprint have a purpose.

My main critique of sprint was how it makes based movement slower and punishes you for speed swaying your weapon and you have to wait to fire because of an animation. The Magnum is the exception and like CE, made it the utility weapon. It even has a faster slide compared to most weapons. Guardians tries to remedy it but it still concludes to just simply, why not just increase the default movement speed?

Sprint was done very poorly in Reach. You use it to escape gun fights and that’s just a wasteful feature. Halo 4 has it except when fired at, your sprint is just disabled. Making sprint more useless. Another problems with sprint is how maps tend to be bad for quality. Just see Halo Reach - Guardians. Downgrade from the original trilogy.

Where Infinite differs and manages to evolve Halo’s combat are the new maps, no remakes and finally fixing the sandbox crisis that has been apparent since Halo 2. Taking inspirations from CE, they made every weapon feel unique. The Sidekick is quick but comes with recoil. The Commando replaces the DMR and improves it by punishing spam firing. Battle Rifle is finally balanced. Not God tier like 2 and 4 but it’s not trash like 3 and Guardians. The Assault Rifle is actually an Assault Rifle. I can go on but each weapon is different. Not at all similar. Unfortunately many games after CE had this redundancy issue and Guardians highlighted it. Every gun is good at draining shields and had a headshot multiplier. That’s not the case here.

The Covenant Carbine solves the problem with what the Plasma Rifle (after CE) and Storm Rifle had. No use or not important because their equivalent rivals such as AR and SMG had a similar role in draining shields. Infinite brings this distinction back and surpasses CE because it brings more variety and each weapon accommodates a player’s playstyle. In every Halo including CE, you had to have your jack of all trades weapon or utility. In Infinite, that’s based on your specific skill set. Maybe you aren’t good with the Br but can handle the recoil with the Commando. Perhaps you like to go with Sidekick and hunt them down up close. Maybe you use the Covenant Carbine. While each weapon has a pro and con, it’s up to the player to assess it’s strengths and weaknesses and work around the flaws. If that’s not evolving combat, what is?

As for campaign, they got the engagements right. Legendary is just right. Challenging but not broken as we seen with 2. Enemies aren’t boring like what 4 and Guardians did and the narrative all around, is an improvement.

Despite the monetization and the fact that the game isn’t complete at launch due to lack of Forge, Halo Infinite is a great game at it’s current state thanks to the fact they added multiple playlists in mp and will continue to make it better, and campaign alone is the best it has ever been.

Overall, it’s a solid 9.1/10. And and I think we are just getting started.