Halo Infinite – Singleplayer Campaign Review

mourning, mourning, mourning

Did I tell you to leave when you applaud? Since 343 Industries took over Bungie’s legacy, the Halo franchise hasn’t had a good day. Perhaps it was because the life of the work, which should have ended as a trilogy, was forcibly extended, the first official work, Halo 4, showed signs of abnormality. Unlike the previous works, which focused on exploration and mystery, the narrative and drama between the two characters, Master Chief and Cortana, were central. The sandbox configuration, which guarantees the player’s freedom, has become more like a rail shooter, and the multiplayer, which received bad reviews, has been remodeled into a form close to the current generation FPS, reminiscent of the famous Call of Duty rail shooter. To exaggerate a bit, it would be safe to say that it was a separate sci-fi game disguised as Halo. However, even at this time, I thought that it was forbidden to make hasty decisions. Even though it was a company established by Microsoft for Halo, 343 Industry was a new studio, and if you exclude the experience of partially participating in the development of Halo Wars, a side story, and the management of related additional media such as novels, comics, and setting books, Halo 4 will be their own. Because it was his debut. So even up to Halo 4, definitive evaluation was put on hold. This is because, after all, the sequel will be released as scheduled in the future, and through this, I thought that it would not be too late to make an evaluation after the “great journey” that 343 Industry intends to present came into view to some extent.

Halo 4, which was not well-received for its single campaign and multiplayer, was out of synch by one beat.

However, those expectations were shattered in the next installment, Halo 5: Guardians. This is not to say that Halo 5 was rubbish. In particular, by properly mixing industry standards of current-generation FPS such as sprint and aim aiming with Halo, the Halo franchise suggested a path forward. succeeded in finding The problem was the campaign. In the past, 343 Industries benchmarked the campaign where Bungie alternated between Chief and Arbiter in Halo 2. The development also takes the form of the author and the latter confronting each other and approaching the truth, with the Blue Team led by the Chief and the Osiris Fire Team led by Locke the main pillars. However, unlike the Arbiter, Locke was not well-received by players even though it was the same new character, and the weight of the campaign itself was concentrated on the Osiris fire force, which had the opposite effect of further shrinking the amount and wear of the Chief that fans had expected. Even if the story was satisfactory, I don’t know, but the actual story was so poor that the marketing of “True Tracking”, which helped raise expectations until just before the release, was insignificant. Although Halo is a game where the user base is divided between single campaign and multiplayer, Halo 5: Guardians was a disproportionate work to the extent that this is the first time that the ratings have been so polarized.

Halo 5: Guardians was the worst campaign of all time, worthy of multiplayer’s exquisite balance in the gap between classic FPS and modern FPS. The existence of a modest campaign led to a prolonged slump in the Halo franchise.

It’s hard to deny that the hero, Master Chief, is the backbone of the Halo franchise. Is that so? Intentionally or unintentionally, after Halo 5: Guardians, which showed the appearance of undermining such “fundamentals”, the entire series entered a slump, and in the end, news of the work was cut off for a long time. Perhaps it was because of the great burden of blaming the failures of the previous two films, the production process for Halo Infinite, the next work, was not so smooth. 343 Industry abandoned even the premise of the “heir trilogy” from Halo 4 and started to approach the franchise from a new perspective. This actually meant returning to the starting point of planning after Halo 3 and starting afresh. In a short period of time, only the director was replaced twice, and instead of releasing an actual video in 2018, when a sequel was originally supposed to have been released, only a game engine demonstration trailer barely showed up. As long as the game engine and game development were being carried out at the same time, it was obvious that the release would be delayed, and the prediction came true with the campaign trailer released at E3 last year, two years after that. Although the game’s foundation was set, it was evident that the finish and optimization were still incomplete, and in the end, the release was delayed by one year, leaving only the meme “Craig the Brute”. As Halo Infinite is a work that finally appeared after such a storm, there is no question that it is a work that has a unique impression on both game companies and gamers.

Is it because the failure of the previous work was so painful? Halo Infinite, which claims to be the “spiritual reboot” of the Halo franchise, has finally revealed its reality only now, six years after the release of the previous game, twice the original release cycle.

Silent and familiar feeling

Halo Infinite’s first impression was familiarity. From the shape of the Mjölnir combat uniform worn by the Chief, to the sound effect when the shield is recharged, and a short front, back, left and right visual field test to adjust the feeling of operation, the game evokes a nostalgic feeling of first encountering the game called Halo. Above all, the unique scenery of Halo that greets the player who came out to the surface after finishing the tutorial section is truly a masterpiece. As the title suggests, Halo has appeared on the stage in all works, leaving no importance. However, since transferring the production company, it has been given up on the Shield World or other planets, and only the passing backgrounds and lines have survived. Then, it would not be enough to say that the feeling of stepping back on Halo, which had not been seen in Halo 3 for the first time in 14 years, was incomprehensible. After admiring the panoramic view, the first thing that catches your eye is the tall buildings of the ancestors. Compared to the buildings of the ancestors in episodes 4 and 5, which were so far from the previous works, it even evoked the illusion of being in a parallel universe, in the case of Halo Infinite, I wonder if Bungie would have portrayed it like this had it been made so far. It shows the form of following/improving the previous work so well. Considering that 343 Industries has been in a hurry to add their own colors to the Halo, causing a lot of friction with the fans of the old game, and the result was not good, it is a belated regret that I wish they had taken this route a little earlier. .

As if delaying the release for a year was not in vain, the sense of presence the player is in Halo is greater than ever. In particular, the artificial foundation in the form of columnar joints helps to create a unique scenery while reminding us that the halo was not formed naturally.

Although it has been pushed back a bit in the past, the ring world called Halo is the identity of the Halo franchise along with the Master Chief. The surreal landscape in which a huge piece of land gradually turns into a narrow band and rises above your head and then rotates in a circle is enough to be engraved in your mind like a piece of photographic paper, whether you are new to the Halo series or have been playing regularly. Now that I know the identity and purpose of Halo, there is no sense of mystery, but when I look up at the unique horizon of Halo while the day and night cycle and the faint background music harmonize, it is the first time I played Halo: War of Clans. Memories of the moment come to mind. Of course, there are often sights that are different from those of that time. The traces of the broken waist of the ring due to some sort of incident, the ancestral weapon protector lying like the corpse of a giant on a distant ridge… There are also elements that suggest that Halo is a beautiful and terrifying place with a secret. Moreover, since much of the visible terrain can be explored directly, if you keep walking forward, you may even get the illusion that you might reach the other side of the halo on top of your head. What enhances that sense even more is the artificial ecosystem created around it. Considering that Bungie originally intended to implement various wild animals other than plants, but was not able to do so due to large and small restrictions, it is the first time in 20 years that the original plan was made. If the intention of a mental reboot was to bring back memories of playing Halo, then 343 Industries has already succeeded in this regard.

The progress of Halo Infinite goes beyond the sandbox and has a structure close to the open world, and if we go back to the genealogy, it is close to the ideal circle originally envisioned by Bungie’s Halo. As we return to the origin, it is the fulfillment of an unfulfilled dream of the past.

The missions in Halo, with such remarkable improvements, go beyond the sandbox boasted by the existing Halo series—although Halo 4 and 5 campaigns were not even called a sandbox—and unfolded in an open-world manner. First of all, as in any campaign, there are main mission objectives. This is a linear structure that corresponds to the main quest, as the Master Chief, along with the Pelican pilot and a new AI companion weapon, digs into the story of the events that took place in the Zeta Halo over the past six months. Others include forward operational bases, vanished bases, critical objectives, and marine squads requesting support. This is the process of the Chief defeating the Banishid garrison that has taken control of Halo and gathering the isolated remnants of the UNSC. . Starting with recapturing a stolen outpost to secure a fast moving point, clearing the nearby Banishid base or supporting a marine squad that is isolated and fighting, and also eliminating high-value targets that are double-duty mini-bosses. These secondary missions do not affect the main mission, but through this, you can acquire the Spartan Core, which is the currency for upgrading the Mjölnir combat uniform, and request various weapons/vehicles from the Forward Operation Base with the Valor Points obtained by defeating the Banished troops. have. Finally, the terminal-type collection element, which has not been left out since Halo 3, has been resurrected in the form of an audio log and is contained like licorice in a drugstore.

The first contribution that makes the game progress colorful and fast is the hook gun. It is useful when moving between distant and high places in an instant, narrowing the distance with enemies, or snatching equipment. If you hit a turret or vehicle, you can board or seize it right away, so it’s hard to imagine a Halo without a hook gun.

It feels unfamiliar to use the RPG-like terminology of main/side quest in an FPS game, but the composition of this work is close to an open world to the extent that there are no words to explain it as clearly as that. It is similar to the fact that, depending on the play tendency, the side quests are tied to the side quests and the main quests that are important are sometimes behind the scenes. Of course, as 343 Industries revealed, it is not a completely open world, and it is close to the semi-open world that is often encountered in the Far Cry series. Gamers who played Halo: Wars of War will remember that immediately after the first mission, which doubles as a tutorial, a mission appears in which the player completes the objectives in any order, traversing the expanses of terrain to rescue isolated survivors. The difference is that in the past, such sections were limited to specific missions, but in Halo Infinite, you can write your own story by playing the entire island that is the setting of the game that way. There are also traces of efforts to implement the extraordinary play that is often produced in multiplayer in the campaign without stopping here. There are various targets and huge buildings that can be attacked in any way, whether on foot or by car, breaking through alone or with allies, and no matter how the player moves, enemies always appear so there is no room for boredom The enemy’s artificial intelligence, which varies depending on the battle method, is also a highlight). The fact that these moderately short fights were evenly distributed to keep players engaged was also similar to the “30-second rule of fun”, the philosophy of Halo developer Jaime Griesemer during his time at Bungie.

There are many devices that are properly arranged so that Haloman’s extraordinary play, which is often played out in multiplayer, can be experienced in the single campaign as well. The man canon in the screenshot is one such device.

But the stigma doesn’t hide

By returning to the origins of the series, Halo Infinite has removed the stigma of its predecessor in terms of game system. So, what about the story behind the single campaign? Now that the story of returning to the origin came out, let’s take a brief look at Bungie’s trilogy, which was the real foundation. As everyone in the know knows, Halo was originally meant to be a two-part series rather than a trilogy. As confirmed by the release of the storyboard last year, 15 years after its release, Halo was scheduled for a final Earth-based battle in the second installment. However, due to the circumstances of Bungie at the time, there was no choice but to promise a sequel, and the long-awaited third was the period that appeared in that way. As the Chief’s famous line “I’m about to end this war” foretold, it had a strong character to lay the foundation for the prelude to the war and finish the story that was greatly expanded through the second part. Since the last chapter of the previous work was inevitably stretched into one game from the beginning, the story at the beginning of the game felt a little stretched, but it faithfully recovered the double lines laid in the previous work, showing the end of the trilogy. It was not a trilogy from the beginning, but considering that Halo: War of Clans was an extended series with an unexpected hit, it was a satisfactory ending, even if it was a bit lacking. 343 Industries’ trilogy, on the other hand, was a different case. Even though it started with the clear purpose of succeeding the franchise of the goose that lays golden eggs from the beginning, it stumbled anxiously from the start.

Just like Bungie’s trilogy, 343 Industries’ trilogy would have been a mummy if it had ended in Halo, but Halo Infinite ends irresponsibly, leaving only infinite questions as the subtitle is.

There are many reasons for such an uncertain move, but I think the fundamental reason lies in impatience. Perhaps it was because of the excessive sense of duty to maintain and develop established franchises, 343 Industries was brave enough to quickly be recognized for its capabilities and significance. First of all, they focused on draining the water from Bungie in Halo and painting their own colors. In this process, countless audio-visual discrepancies occurred, as well as the story itself, losing direction and starting to wander. Although it was mentioned earlier that Halo 3 served as the culmination of the trilogy, even that was a comprehensive review, and there were a lot of stories that could not be fully concluded. Although Halo 4 is an extension of the first part, it neglected it and rushed to present new forces and conflict structures unfamiliar to players. Halo 5: Guardians went a step further and, instead of answering the questions posed by Episode 4, brought the topic of artificial intelligence rebellion to the fore, which is too banal and far from the essence of the worldview, driving the entire worldview to the point of uncontrollable. It caused a major accident (it may have contributed to the fact that the overall scriptwriter was different for each work, unlike in the days of Bungie). As the sequel is released in a situation where there is no hope, both internally and externally, Halo Infinite was in a desperate situation to regain its lost honor.

The chemistry between the master chief, the pilot and the trio of artificial intelligence weapons is excellent. However, considering that Halo 4’s campaign, which didn’t get good reviews overall, only had an emotional bond between Chief and Cortana, this was more of a compliment.

The homework left by the previous work was so great that it was easy to predict that it would be difficult to completely close the gap no matter how much effort was put into making up for the mistakes of the previous work. So, even if the sequel puts a period to match the assortment, it was expected that it would be drastically reduced and ended due to a problem between the two characters, the Master Chief and Cortana. Just like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 turned the special forces irregular warfare into a world war, and in the end ended up rushing to a personal grudge between the two main characters in the 3rd. However, as it is called a spiritual reboot, Halo Infinite proceeds like a detective, perhaps because even those who are new to the series had to be treated fairly. The aircraft carrier Infinity, arriving at Zeta Halo to stop Cortana, is ambushed and sank by Vanished, and in the process, the Master Chief becomes lost in space. The chief is rescued by a pelican pilot while he is drifting in space without a promise, and the story begins in earnest as he retrieves an artificial intelligence weapon from the ancestor facility. The master chief, pilot, and weapon are all the main characters in the incident, but they are far from the incident six months ago. As such, we do not know exactly what happened in Zeta Halo, so solving the questions one by one is the main goal of the campaign. If you look at it up to this point, it’s like Halo: The Prelude to War and a strange sense of déjà vu. This is because, after losing the battle on the Reach Planet, the cruiser Pillar of Autumn leaps to random coordinates and arrives at an unknown structure called Halo to uncover its secrets.

A new enemy, Harbinger, who overwhelms the Master Chief with meaningful lines from the first meeting and showed off his extraordinary presence. However, the actual action ends with a dragon head that is comparable to the previous work’s Warden Eternal.

Although the composition of Halo: War Prelude and Halo Infinite seems similar, their circumstances are completely different. The former was a new IP with no restrictions on future story development, but the latter is an established IP that has already grown old. If he was carrying the debt left by the previous work, he should have shown sincerity to at least repay it, but this time he also made the mistake of following the path of the previous work. Although the blueprint for the trilogy that Bondi 343 Industries was planning was already broken through Halo 5: Guardians, for better or worse, Halo Infinite is in a position to finish the trilogy. Right now, I’m wondering if I can focus all my energy on cleaning up Cortana’s creations. Nevertheless, as if a regression had arrived, Halo 4 had already benchmarked the Halo: War Prelude composition and borrowed it, and chose a structure with a diameter of only 10,000 km as the final destination for the galactic disaster that occurred in the previous work. Then, he brought in the camp Banishid, who appeared in the side battle, and upgraded it to the main enemy force to replace the existing Storm Covenant. Considering the precedent in which the faction called Prometheus, the ancestor of the ancestors, appeared and received a lukewarm response, it is a difficult but understandable choice. But why didn’t it stop there and even brought up the unprecedented threat of Harbinger? I emphasize again, but right now, it is urgent to calm the aftermath of the creation crisis. Is it okay to let your imagination run wild like this?

During the production, the Master Chief exhorts the frustrated pilot and gives him a message of encouragement. However, if approached metaphorically, rather than reflecting the inner growth of the character Chief, it sounds like 343 Industries is trying to indemnify them.

The shocking ending of the previous work was too great to properly rectify, so I fully understand how they drastically reduced the scale. Fundamentally, after the end of Halo 5: Guardians, the fate of waiting for the UNSC would have been a dismal situation comparable to that of mankind in the movie The Matrix universe. Like the JRPG protagonist who often starts the story with amnesia, giving the master chief a gap of half a year must have been a preparatory work to convey the limited perspective more convincingly. However, in the process of returning to the origins of the series “Green Man and Blue Woman”, the case is different if it only amplifies suspicion rather than achieving the minimum completeness. The homework left behind by the previous work was skipped over and the narrative written according to one’s taste only felt like a precarious pavilion of thought. In the midst of a series of blindfolds covering problems with problems, 343 Industries struggles to cut and dilute the connection with its predecessors as much as possible. They claim that the previous works are not their own, and are digging them out of the family register. However, didn’t you already taste the bitter failures in Episodes 4 and 5 with this workaround? How much longer do you have to grow to realize that unreasonably expanding your worldview will only backfire? In this case, I think that it would have been better to declare a reboot cleanly, rather than being condescending by claiming to be a mental reboot. Now that the story has gone to the mountains to the point where it can’t be solved, it may be the best option for Halo’s future.

The theme of Halo Infinite is none other than hope. However, when the Master Chief sees a story with no hope of rectification no matter how much he struggles, it is difficult to erase the feeling that the Chief is being tortured with hope like Sisyphus.

glory once again

“Wake up, Chief. I need you.” This is Cortana’s line that rekindled the fire in Bungie’s Halo, which ended in the trilogy. In Halo after Bungie, the master chief, who was equal to the player, was given a separate personality and began to be separated from the player, and his AI colleague Cortana also received more attention than before. From the very beginning of the game, the battle for time before death due to the age limit of artificial intelligence began, which followed Chief and Cortana throughout the game like a fuse on fire, and finally, in the sequel Halo 5: Guardians, the series It acted as a cause of events that endangered its very existence. Halo Infinite is also on the fuse laid by such a previous work, and the interest of fans was also focused on how to deal with the previous work that ended in a shocking ending. However, because it was clinging to the renewal of external elements, the shortcomings in the story that were lacking and urgently needed to be improved remained intact, and as a result, it became a sequel that still leaves a lot of regret. It can be said that it is like a collection of only the points that were praised in the previous work and the points that could stimulate the nostalgia of the fans. Halo Infinite’s fun as an FPS can be experienced directly through multiplayer, which has already been released for free, so I won’t elaborate on it. As the title of returning classic is not wasted, the fun of Halo is guaranteed even in the single campaign. Nevertheless, while playing the game, it was difficult to shake the impression that it was like a side story that was somehow far from the existing Halo.

As part of a spiritual reboot, it was nice to renew the audiovisual style and actively embrace fan feedback to bring it back closer to the original trilogy. Efforts to recreate the halo-like background depiction that do not fade at all despite being retro, to the next generation, are also flawless. The attempt to exquisitely blend the new game system of the open world without losing any of the Halo’s color is also commendable. However, the attempt to succeed/develop the series in that way was only half successful due to the campaign storytelling in which the link with the previous work was unclear. The audiovisual description has finally returned to its place, but the story that will put the horse beads in it still has not returned from climbing Everest. Although it didn’t miss the mark like Halo 5: Guardians did, it is true that it was more of a disappointment than a satisfaction when viewed overall. Halo Infinite is a work that exemplifies the saying that the first button should be properly put on. The aftermath of Halo 4’s inability to clearly articulate the future course of the work rolled like a snowball and drove the game and the franchise itself to this point. Even though the production team is so desperate and the sequel is released after a long hiatus of 6 years, like the two previous works, which were not spared lukewarm evaluation, they could not escape from the work in which the pros and cons were sharply divided. Ironically, the theme that runs through Halo Infinite is hope. Is there any hope left for the Halo franchise?

Houn Jeong is a translator of a series of Halo novels published in Korea and is a longtime fan of Halo, also known under the pseudonym ‘Ernst’. Various Halo stories can be found on his blog, Point of no return, which has been running for 14 years.

The shooting mechanism, which was already almost completed in the previous work, was further refined, and the open world process was applied to Halo. The audio-visual composition reminiscent of the previous work and the shooting sense that has modernized the sense of Halo are not insufficient to call it a return of a classic. However, the connection with the existing story is not clearly felt as the focus is on developing a new story while neglecting the homework left by the previous work. The fun of the game itself is undeniable, but the shortcoming of the story being unsatisfactory still remains a chronic problem of 343 Industry Halo.


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