It’s quite a surprise that Halo Infinite came out as early as it did. Some people thought that a 2022 release was in-store, or that the December 2021 release date was premature. But, now that it’s now on our consoles, it’s time to find out how good Halo Infinite for the Xbox Series X, S, and PC is.
What Is Halo?
The Halo franchise is a series of military sci-fi video games created by Bungie back in 2001. The game series is published and owned by Xbox Games Studios. As of right now, though, 343 Industries is leading the development of any new Halo games, with the latest being Halo Infinite, which we’ll talk about below.
The series circles around the Spartan super-soldier Master Chief, or John-117 in their war against the Covenant. At least, this is true on the game’s first trilogy.
The first trilogy consists of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3, with a prequel called Halo Reach. These four games would be Bungie’s best games overall in the Halo franchise, with Reach being called the “best Halo game yet.” That doesn’t mean that the first three games are bad, though, as they’re the ones that brought Halo to what it is today.
After Bungie gave up the reins on the franchise, 343 Industries took the helm. The studio was made specifically to create more Halo games, and for a while, they did do so. Its first offering to the franchise, Halo 4, was released to generally positive reviews.
However, it’s on Halo 5 that everything went down the drain. The game was received poorly by the fans due to its lackluster campaign, even though the multiplayer was praised by fans. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be seeing any new Halo games for six whole years, until Halo Infinite came along.
What Is Halo Infinite for the Xbox Series X?
Halo Infinite is a first-person shooter released by Xbox Game Studios and published by 343 Industries. As of the time of writing, this is the sixth entry into the Halo Series and continues the journey and fight of Master Chief after Halo 5. The game is separated into Single Player and Multiplayer modes, with the latter being free-to-play.
Halo Infinite was supposed to be released last 2020 on November 10 as an Xbox Series X and S launch title. Unfortunately, due to poor reception, this was delayed for a year to improve the game. The game’s official release would be on December 8, 2021, but the multiplayer has been on Free Open Beta since November 15.
Halo Infinite is available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC.
Halo Infinite Xbox Series X and PC Review
Story and Setting
The story of Halo Infinite happens 18 months after the events of Halo 5. At that point, the UNSC has lost a massive battle against the Banished, a mercenary organization. The Banished has pretty much taken most of the bloodthirsty and warmongering parts of the Covenant into its wing.
In Halo Infinite, right at the beginning of the Campaign, the UNSC lost a major battle against the Banished. This battle is located on another Halo Ring, Zeta Halo. There’s a lot of plot points to Halo Infinite right now so bear with us for a bit.
Meanwhile, Master Chief proceeds to do as he usually does and tries to put a stop to this. In the Halo Infinite campaign, Master Chief has several things to do: to find out what happened to the other Spartans, put a stop to a rampant Cortana, and defeat the Banished. All three of these objectives are incredibly difficult to accomplish and require mowing down hordes upon hordes of enemies.
Luckily for the player and the UNSC in general, Master Chief is up to the task.
Gameplay, Combat, and Controls
The Halo series has always prided itself on its great gameplay and combat, and it shows up big time on the Xbox Series X title Halo Infinite.
Master Chief handles beautifully in Halo Infinite, with him responding well to the player’s various commands. In addition to this, the game also has a lot of guns to choose from. Not as much as Halo 5, and they did remove the Spartan Laser, but it’s still a sizeable arsenal. We’ll talk about guns in a later part of this article.
In addition to this, the game’s multiplayer has a lot of emphasis on the combat aspect of Halo’s DNA. Combine this with its physics-based system and you’ll see a lot of wacky stuff. From sending yourself or your enemy flying through the air with an explosion to gravity hammer shenanigans. Overall, the game’s combat and gameplay cater to those that want to experiment on what the weapons, environment and the game itself can do.
To help with this, Halo Infinite, and the Halo series in general, also has a long Time-to-Kill. This means that it takes more shots to kill another player compared to other FPS games. For example, it doesn’t take long for players to kill someone in Call of Duty: Warzone. But in Halo Infinite, you still need to deal with the shields before you can 1-tap an enemy’s head.
When it comes to Multiplayer, all of the maps have certain places where weapons and vehicles (if the map is large enough) spawn. Intimate knowledge of all these areas, especially when power weapons are involved, is the key in Halo Infinite’s multiplayer modes.
Guns and Weapons
It’s not a Halo review if we don’t talk about the various weapons that the Spartans can get their hands on. The game has 22 different weapons, and we’re going to talk about all of them.
BR75 Battle Rifle
A Halo game isn’t complete without the two UNSC Rifles, and they both make a return on Halo Infinite. The Battle Rifle, compared to the Assault Rifle, has a mounted scope to hunt down enemies at long ranges. With four bursts, a skilled shot can easily take down a Spartan. But its recoil makes it a less appealing choice at close range.
MA40 Assault Rifle
The MA40 Assault Rifle is a staple of the game due to its rate of fire and 36 round magazine. The gun also has good handling, which makes it great for close to medium-range combat. However, it falls off a lot in long-range situations, which is where the Battle Rifle shines.
Next on the list is the MK50 Sidekick, replacing the standard Magnum as the default sidearm. With a decent fire rate and a 12 round magazine, this semiautomatic weapon can down a Spartan in 7 shots. However, this only works if they’re in close range and if the weapon bloom doesn’t screw you over. Still, having this reliable weapon on hand is usually faster than waiting for your main weapon to reload.
Making a debut on Halo Infinite is the VK47 Commando, a sort of hybrid between the MA40 and BR75. This one sits comfortably in the mid-range spectrum, sporting a slow fire rate and recoil but is fully automatic with a 3x Tactical Optic. For those that can line up their shots, the Commando can be a good weapon to have.
Now for the shotgun of the list. The CQS48 Bulldog is a Spartan’s main weapon in a close-range environment. A fully automatic pump-action shotgun with a seven-round drum magazine, this weapon can tear someone to shreds if they get too close. The drum magazine makes reloading quicker, but unlike previous shotgun iterations, the Bulldog can’t one-shot a Spartan through shields. So make sure to double or even triple tap. Just in case.
M41 SPNKR Rocket Launcher
The M41 SPNKR makes a triumphant return on Halo Infinite after its disappearance on Halo 5. An old reliable, this weapon still has the essentials: a double-barrelled tube that can sport two rockets that can be shot towards the enemy. However, one thing to note is the fact that the rocket launcher has a small lethal area. Thus, it’s usually a good idea to use the environment, or get good at your shots to kill them.
S7 Sniper Rifle
The S7 Sniper Rifle didn’t change that much throughout the series. It still has its four-round magazine and a variable zoom scope, though it’s now 5x to 10x in terms of zoom. In addition, a well-placed shot is still enough to send someone to the Respawn, but only when hitting the head.
The last one among the UNSC is the Hydra, which made its debut on Halo 5. This weapon is a kind of rocket and grenade launcher hybrid that fires micro-missiles with a lock-on.
This is Covenant’s go-to rapid-fire SMG. Those familiar with this weapon know well how fast this thing can fire off its crystals and how much damage it can deal if all of them hit. In addition to this, the crystals have homing capabilities when fired at close range, and it’ll be a bad time for the one being fired upon when that happens.
The Pulse Carbine is a combo of the Covenant Carbine and Plasma Rifle to create a burst-fire rifle, great at close-to-medium range. The gun fires five plasma bolts that travel slowly but has tracking to compensate. However, there should be careful managing of the heat so that you won’t need to wait a long time for it to vent.
In addition to this, the weapon gets less effective the closer you are to your enemy. Thus, careful managing of the range is necessary to excel in using the Pulse Carbine.
Next on the list is the usual Energy Sword, a staple of the Halo Series. It’s still a one-shot if a Spartan gets close, but it’s countered by its 15% energy drain per slash and the Repulsor gadget. The one thing that players need to remember when using this is that the Grappleshot is their best friend.
Next up is the Plasma Pistol, one of the staples for Covenant weaponry due to the two-hit combo of Charge Shot + Precision weapon kill. The one change that the Plasma Pistol got is the fact that it can no longer EMP the vehicles. That capability now goes to the various Shock damage weapons in Halo Infinite. It’s still a reliable weapon if you know how to use it, so keep an eye out for it.
If you’re looking for a hand cannon, then the Mangler might be a good fit for you. It’s a combination of a hand cannon and Mauler, a Shotgun-Pistol from Halo 3. The Mangler, however, fires a single, high-powered round instead of a slew of pellets. Three shots from this weapon can down an enemy, but due to its slow fire rate, a miss can be devastating.
For Halo Players, the Gravity Hammer is an indicator of good times coming. A single hit from this thing can straight-up fling enemies, and yourself, away from each other. Good usage of the hammer can be a devastating combo, as its slow, but powerful swings can be the death knell of any team. Do note that the hammer is now slower compared to its previous iterations, so careful usage is a must.
For those that want to do a hit-and-run to hijack vehicles, it might be a good idea to get the Disruptor. This pistol deals low damage but can shock enemies and vehicles. The second part is especially important. Why? Because shocking vehicles temporarily disables them, allowing the player to destroy the vehicle with a rocket, or kill the pilot and take the vehicle.
For those that can’t get enough plasma, the Ravager is their weapon. This bad boy fires large, exploding plasma balls that can two-shot enemy Spartans. In addition, charging up the Ravager fires a giant plasma ball that leaves behind a burning plasma pool on the ground that damages enemies. Of course, as per usual with plasma weapons, it needs to vent. So good usage and keeping an eye on the heat is a must.
Next up on the list is the new Stalker Rifle, a version of the Covenant Carbine and their take on snipers. The Stalker Rifle can three-shot Spartans with its slow, powerful bullets. However, it’s still a plasma weapon, which means it can overheat. And when it overheats, it takes a long time to vent. In addition, players can only fire seven shots before it overheats, so be careful when using it.
Last among the Banished weaponry is the Shock Rifle, which is somewhat like a sniper rifle. It’s a great weapon for killing Spartans, and the electricity bounces around enemies when it hits. However, its main use is to, of course, disrupt and stop vehicles due to its Shock damage. Do note that the Shock Rifle only has four shots before it needs to reload, so careful usage is a must.
For those that miss straight-up destroying their enemies with a laser beam of destruction, never fear. The Sentinel Beam is there for you. However, there are a few caveats. For one, it’s no longer an overheat weapon, nor does it use a battery for its ammunition. For another, it still retains its high damage but now has incredible recoil. Careful usage is a must to destroy enemies with the Sentinel Beam, but lining up multiple enemies can also be done to maximize damage.
Next up on the list is the newest weapon, Cindershot, a pretty unique weapon due to its alternate fire modes. For one, it can be a grenade launcher that fires bouncing grenades that can be used to flank enemies. Its Alternate fire mode keeps the bouncing part but turns the grenades into micro-missiles. The missiles follow your crosshair and will bounce around walls when it hits them. A dangerous weapon for those that know how to use it.
The Heatwave is yet another new Forerunner weapon that’s more or less a revamp of the Scattershot. It looks different, but it has the signature scattershot and the ability to go through enemies like a knife through butter. It has two firing modes as well: a horizontal spread for AoE and a vertical spread for a single target. If you’re good enough, you can herd enemies into a tight corner with the horizontal spread, then use the vertical spread to finish them off.
Halo Infinite’s first gameplay trailer was met with scorn in terms of graphics. We already know about the horrendous-looking Brute from that one trailer, but this was the kick that gave 343 the needed push to improve. The delay, of course, was mostly due to the pandemic, but a lot of people do think that they needed to improve the game more. And luckily for everyone, they did improve the graphics side of things.
The game looks gorgeous on Xbox and PC on high settings, which shows how much work 343 put into the game. On high-end PCs with all the settings at max, the game can be a treat to watch while still having a good to great frame rate. Do note that there seems to be a bit of a bug that makes the game have periodic stutters when Vsync is on and frame rate is capped. Something to note for 343 to patch out later. This is, by far, one of the game’s bigger graphical bugs, and there might be more. But due to how early the game is in its release, we won’t know as of yet.
Other than that, Halo Infinite’s current graphical appearance is way better compared to its trailer. Hopefully, this continues, and that 343 will further optimize and smooth out any graphical bugs in the game.
Halo Infinite went for a more open-world kind of game in its Campaign. The game has Master Chief explore the vast area of Zeta Halo, with scattered remnants of the UNSC peppering the landscape. There are a lot of weaponry and ammunition pickups if you’re looking closely, while various enemies dot Zeta Halo’s premises.
This open-world change helps a bit with Halo’s physics-based gameplay. After all, with such a huge playground, you’re going to want to try and experiment. Most of the joys that Halo Infinite’s campaign gives players is the fact that they can fling themselves to certain death with an explosion, among other things. All in all, Halo Infinite’s open-world gives it a sandbox kind of feel and allows the players to paint their adventures in their way. Some areas look the same, but we hope that this changes in future updates.
In terms of the multiplayer maps, each of them does look pretty similar. However, their layouts make it so that each map is unique in how they go about in a fight. Weapon placements, vehicle spawns, each map has a unique place for each of them. This favors the ones that memorize map placements well, which adds to Halo Infinite’s gameplay loop.
In terms of sound design, Halo Infinite is in a really good place. The various weapons sound beautiful, there’s a really good soundtrack, and the environment is alive with cool things to hear and explore. The extra time that the delay gave 343 helped it out overall.
Halo Infinite Multiplayer and Game Modes
Multiplayer Modes for the Xbox Series X, S, and PC
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is a thing of beauty. Most of the time, there are a few blemishes that we’ll talk about below. The physics-based gameplay combined with the ample maps, weapon, and vehicle drops can be a bit overwhelming to get used to, but those that know Halo back in the days will feel right at home.
We’ve already discussed how the gameplay works in previous sections, so we’ll just have to talk about multiplayer progression and game modes. It’s on the former that Halo Infinite lags though.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer progression can be a bit on the slow side of the stick. It has a battle pass system that allows players to progress without FOMO, as players can switch between older battle passes organically. However, the EXP grind can be a bit slow, as players need to do six games before they can max out a single level. And that’s if they play six games a day, the EXP gained per match gets cut down to the point where to level up you need to play 20 games instead of six.
In addition, the various missions can be a bit annoying to go for because some of them can be specific. This isn’t helped by the random nature of the maps. If you want to get the Mangler because there’s a Mangler mission you want to finish, well, you’re in the mercy of RNG, as there are maps that don’t spawn the Mangler.
Halo Infinite Xbox Series X and PC Game Modes
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer has seven distinct game modes, but only two of them appear in both Arena and Big-Team battles. We’ll talk about each of these modes below:
Straight up, kill as many enemies as possible within the time limit. The team with the most enemies killed or the one that gets to the kill limit first wins. Arena Mode is 4v4, lasts 12 minutes, and has a 50 kill limit. Meanwhile, Big-Team Battle is 12v12, lasts 15 minutes, and has a 100 kill limit.
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is exactly what it says on the tin, with the same amount of players and time. Not much to say here, except make sure to get the enemy flag while defending your own.
Strongholds is a game mode where players fight to capture three important zones on the map. Whoever gets 200 points first wins.
For those that want a bit of random in their lives, Fiesta is for you. It’s like Slayer, but weapons and load-outs are random. In addition, there’s no weapon spawns, so if you want a new weapon, you’ll need to scavenge them from the corpses of allies and enemies.
Next up is Oddball, which has two teams trying to hold onto a flaming skull until they gain 100 points. The team that gets 100 points first wins.
Total Control is a 12v12 match that has players fight for three zones on the map. They’ll need to capture all three zones to score a point. When a point is scored, the three zones reappear somewhere else on the map. The first to score 3 points wins.
Stockpile is a 12v12 match that wants players to collect Power Seeds and put them in their base. Collecting 5 Power Seeds nets a point, and getting 3 points means the team wins.
Halo Infinite vs. Older Halo Games
Halo Infinite didn’t change that much from other Halo games in terms of gameplay. The physics engine that Halo games use is still in play, and the gunplay and time to kill are still on point. The only things that changed in Halo Infinite are the layout of the campaign, the added battle pass progression system, and the new guns. Other than that, it’s still Halo.
Halo Infinite on Xbox Series X vs Similar Games
Now that we’ve talked about Halo Infinite for the Xbox Series X, let’s talk about games like it and how it compares to them.
We’re going to start with the most recent of these FPS games, which is Battlefield 2042. Right now, this game can’t even hold a candle to Halo Infinite due to the myriad of problems in it. The bugs aren’t a problem; those get patched out and a lot of Battlefield fans are used to them. The problem is the fact that several features and quality of life changes were either changed or removed from the game.
One of the changes, or more accurately, missing features, is the fact that there’s no longer any Global Leaderboard. A game like Battlefield, without a Global Leaderboard to show who’s the best at killing people, is somewhat strange. However, the fact that players need to queue for matchmaking again and again after a match due to persistent lobbies being gone is a crime. In addition to these features, there’s no profile progress page, the character customization options are lesser than Battlefield 5, Custom Emblems are gone, and there are fewer maps in the base game.
Other things include the less destructible terrain. The sheer lack of game mode and features is appalling.
All in all, Battlefield 2042’s failure is an article in and of itself. For now, though, know that it’s not a recommended game to buy and play, even if you’re a Battlefield fan. Maybe it’ll redeem itself like Battlefield 5, but only time will tell.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
As of right now, Call of Duty: Vanguard has made a few improvements in its overall gameplay and formula. For one, the Shotgun meta is almost gone, with the guns being nerfed so that they won’t be as overpowered. In addition to this, the game does have some additional improvements in its frame rate and overall optimization.
However, the game also has added in and removed several features that made Call of Duty great. For one, there’s bloom in this game, aka the spread that increases when you hip fire a weapon. Of course, the bloom isn’t as bad as Battlefield, but it’s still noticeable. Another weird addition is the Suppression mechanic, which slows down your character when they’re being shot at, but the shots miss.
Campaign-wise, the game is okay. There’s a lot of cool cutscenes for players to enjoy, and overall the game looks visually stunning, as per usual. However, there’s a lot of missed opportunities to be had in Call of Duty: Vanguard. For one, there’s almost no expansion on the four characters in the Campaign.
Don’t get us wrong, they have origin missions. However, it would’ve been a good thing if they’re expanded upon had more meat to them. There’s also the fact that the campaign doesn’t have any standout weapons like flamethrowers unless it’s in certain parts of a level. There’s a plane segment where you fly a plane and dogfight enemies, but that’s pretty much it.
Last but not least is the zombies, which is bad, and deserves a section of its own. Highlights include nerfing the points you get from body shots and kills. Customization of weapons being gone and getting points, in general, is just atrociously slow unless you do side missions.
Last but not least is Titanfall 2, one of the most robust FPS games in terms of popularity. At least, until the cheaters got to it and destroyed the multiplayer. Still, the game is one of the best FPS games that ever touched the market, with the only reason for its flopping its intense release window.
If you’re looking for a great campaign mode with a good story and a lot of killing, go for Titanfall 2. However, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for some multiplayer fun.
Is Halo Infinite Worth Buying for Xbox and PC?
Currently, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer element is an absolute joy to play, at least, until you’re talking about its progression system. In terms of its Campaign, it’s a new take on Halo’s usual set pieces due to its emphasis on open-world level design. Still, if you’re looking for a rock-solid first-person shooter to sink your teeth into, Halo Infinite is the one to try.