Halo Infinite just launched a different kind of campaign preview than what we saw a year ago, with the disastrous reveal that got the game delayed a full year. No memes are likely to emerge from this one, as it was certainly much improved, and formatted completely differently.
This was a six-and-a-half-minute narrated, edited video, showing a mix of cutscenes and in-game action with Master Chief doing cool grappling hook tricks and blowing up Banished bases all over his new open map.
The open-world format has dramatically changed the structure of this campaign, and Halo Infinite has everything from Borderlands-like Catch-A-Ride stations where you can spawn a garage full of vehicles, and Just Cause-like outpost takeovers where you’re meant to blow up something large and explosive to cripple enemy forces. There’s a lot of emphasis on taking down the Banished “one piece at a time.”
I’m not entirely clear how “real” campaign missions will be woven into the open-world story, though those do exist with scripted moments like Master Chief facing new Covenant and Forerunner threats, in addition to the Banished. The ultimate goal of the game is to find what happened to Cortana, and you’re aided by a new spritely AI named “The Weapon” (odd name, given her personality, but perhaps she has hidden depths) and that one bearded guy we’ve seen from the start who apparently is in charge of flying your ship around to different points on the map.
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It remains fundamentally weird to me that Halo is switching to an open world, a take-over-the-outposts format that feels like an offshoot of a Ubisoft game. Not to say it can’t work, but it is a pretty dramatic departure from the entire history of the series, and it has already cost them co-op, which isn’t coming for a full season.
However, it’s easy to see how Halo evolves from here, as Infinite is meant to be a “platform” for future Halo content. So instead of a full sequel, maybe we get a mega-expansion in a year or two that adds a new open-world zone to the existing map. A bit like Destiny, in that sense. That hasn’t been stated outright yet, but it’s clearly possible.
As for the actual gameplay, it did look better than the first reveal, that’s for sure, but it was also edited to be as exciting as possible, so who knows. I enjoy Master Chief storming these bases without any regard for stealth-like we’d see in say, Far Cry, and again, between the explosions, the vehicles and the grappling hook, I very much am getting Just Cause vibes here, a game I never imagined might cross over with Halo in any sense.
So, I don’t know if I was blown away by anything shown here, but unlike last time, I don’t see a bunch of red flags springing up either, and I’m certainly curious to try out this new format. We’ll see how it goes in just over a month now.