After 20 years, Halo Infinite is the series’ return to relevance

The vehicles also feel more vital than ever before, and open-world skirmishes come with a degree of freedom and creativity that’s both new to Halo and very comfortable with. The story might be esoteric, but it remains gripping thanks in large part to the return of voice actors Steve Downes and Jen Taylor in key roles, reigniting their fun dynamic from the very first game.

Infinite takes place in a mystical ring-shaped world, with lush forests and wildlife above ancient tech installations, and it all conjures up ‘Arriving on Halo’, the second mission from the original game that blew up a generation young players’ minds.

Chief is paired with a new AI partner in Infinite, who looks a lot like his original partner Cortana before she derailed in Halo 4 and Halo 5.

Tracking objectives from location to location gives you a classic Halo experience. You take on the role of Master Chief – a savior of humanity and Earth’s greatest supersoldier – as he unravels the mysteries of the Ring and prevents an alien force from using it to commit galactic genocide. But as areas of the ring become available, you’re free to explore. You can rescue Allied soldiers, reveal secrets and audio logs, destroy alien infrastructure or assassinate “high-value targets” to gain bases of operations and unlock powerful custom weapons.

“All of the missions on the surface of the ring are non-linear, so you don’t have to engage with any of them to complete the areas,” Crocker said.

“Part of that encourages you to come back once you’ve got more engaged in the game and withdraw them later if they get too difficult.”

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This was certainly the case with my game, where my repeated attempts to assassinate an invisible elite were frustrated with every turn, until I picked up a threat sensor upgrade that allowed me to keep an eye on it. Another target was a sniper nestled on top of a mountain, where he could easily spot me as I approached; until I steal a flying Banshee and come back to crush it from behind.

After playing for 11 hours and finishing the story, I only worked on 30 percent of the total content, with the world littered with objectives, upgrades, and even skulls allowing cheat mode to be found. And the more you do in the open world, the more weapons and vehicles you can summon on demand from your captured bases, giving you more tools for the more difficult assassinations.

I might be a little disappointed that the story and the open world are two very distinct parts of the game, but that doesn’t stop both from being a lot of fun. And combined with the stellar competitive multiplayer experience that’s free and has been live for a few weeks already, this seems to be the most relevant that a new Halo game has been in a decade.

Infinite haloThe campaign released Thursday for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X / S.

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