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Posted by7 days ago
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Posted by17 days ago
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Posted by2 days ago
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Posted by4 days ago
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Posted by5 days ago

Text wall incoming, TL;DR below.

In the lead up to Halo Infinite 343 was conductor of a hype train which assured fans an experience embodying the spirit of the original trilogy. A game whose open world would elicit the same awe inspiring forlorn wonder of Halo CE. While the gameplay loop is incredibly satisfying and Halo has its signature look back, lets examine why core features have failed to live up to this vision:

Campaign - Ambitious but often boring. Unprecedented lifeless and barren open world which meagerly rewards your time investment and exploration. Without grapple hook it would be a chore to navigate. Clunky compromise between linear/non-linear approach which lacks vision and continuity unlike ODST. Copious forgettable boss fights which have never been Halo’s strong suit and continue to lack diversity with mechanics relying heavily on the premise of bullet sponges with larger health bars and overpowered insta-kill moves. General lack of set pieces and fun vehicle segments. Zero biome diversity. Cancelled splitscreen. Network coop failing to ship with campaign’s release. Inability to load marines in multiple vehicles for coop. T-Rating

Story - You have 12 new voice messages from Asthmatic Monke. Almost utterly absent UNSC. Major story beats being told through audio logs rather than incorporated into the game. Heavy dependence on telling rather than showing. Lack of impactful moments as so much happens off screen or is portrayed through holograms. Noir-influenced “picking up the pieces left behind” of a story that’s already happened, but not allowing us to play through those moments like Halo 3: ODST. Constant use of holograms in cutscenes dampens dramatic effect of major plot points. Heavy use of one-shot cinematography. 4th new enemy faction introduced for this saga, and if the endless aren’t precursor its yet another that will fail to capture the horror of the flood. Admittedly they’ve struck a chord with Chief’s/The Weapon’s characterization

Multiplayer - Prioritizes competitive rather than fun first. Free to play. Micro transaction riddled. Outlines rather than RVB. No map voting or veto system. No irreverent party modes at launch. A progression system completely tethered to challenges that dictate the way you play. No match performance based XP. Nonexistent career ranks. Missing medals. No assassinations. Lack of debris and interact-able objects strewn around maps largely due to quick despawns. Extraordinarily stringent implementation of SBMM across all modes (yes Trueskill 2 has been used in the past but it’s been tweaked to fit 343’s matchmaking philosophy). Social matches affecting ranked. No 1-50 ranks. Power weapon timers. Randomized asymmetrical weapon racks/vehicle drops. Random ordnance drops. No playable elites. Lack of friendly fire. General inability to take breaks from constant sweat fest. Unnecessary AI chatter. No Steitzer in BTB at launch

Weapons Sandbox - Smart scope (ADS) on automatic weapons with no ability to “descope”. Powerful AR in a series that has always been precision weapon dominant (Magnum, BR, DMR). Weapon balancing based on effective range. Spread and bloom, even for precision weapons like the Sniper. No sniper ricochet. Extremely lean and hyper sanitized sandbox that feels dull, especially disappointing after 5. No faster melee swings for sword/gravity hammer. Power weapons generally having reduced power (smaller AOE, less ammo). Very few legacy weapons. Lack of neutral equipment. Vehicles take too little small arms fire and too many explosives to destroy, inverse approach to traditional balancing. No EMP for plasma pistol. Grenade planting not automatically destroying vehicles. Shock weapons and equipment provide too many vehicles counters

Controls - On default setting this game feels like a different FPS game entirely on controller. By far the worst its ever felt. Aim does not scale with zoom. Fundamental issues with deadzones and acceleration curves. Aiming no longer consistent with other Halos

Physics - Grenade jumping removed in favor of being “thrown around” less. Teammate player collision turned off ruining immersion and allowing for frustrating self destructions because of phase through. Ground vehicles feel too floaty, don’t react enough to explosions, and accelerate far too quickly

Maps - Generic three lane maps dominate the design philosophy. Surplus of recurring human/UNSC facility environments and forerunner forests. No teleporters. Lack of true neutral power positions, more emphasis on run and gun. Cramped competitive environments giving precedent to quantity of engagements over quality. Zero remakes.

Modes - At launch no snipers, doubles, SWAT, or KOTH. Still lacking team action sack, multi team, VIP, infection, grifball, assault, and race. No legacy settings playlist (sprint, slide, clamber off). No PVE modes. Firefight in any form AWOL

Customization - Restrictive and mostly locked behind a paywall. A core system explicitly designed to limit player expression. Inability to customize emblems. Inability to choose colors

Social features - Non-existent. No pre or post game lobbies. No partying up. No file share. No proximity chat. Mics off by default

Customs - Generally broken. Dearth of custom game options. Especially stale w/o forge

Theatre - Broken. Only useful demonstrating desync

UI/UX - Incredibly clunky and lacking cohesion. Absurd load times.

Forge - Will release in Beta. High hopes based on leaks.

I’m not saying all of these changes are inherently negative especially given the subjective nature of myriad facets of game design. I personally was excited to have a powerful automatic weapon in the sandbox. The crux of this post is pointing out the hypocrisy of claiming this game is legacy minded when so few components aside from the visual language are. At launch, I was elated to find how much progress 343 had made in terms of the grounded nostalgic approach to gameplay. 10 months in its felt like a bait and switch tactic. They had a worthy successor on their hands, but it may well go unattended only to end up like the Lindbergh Baby.

I don’t want to claim outright mendacity from the studio, the last thing we need is more sword rattling. I simply wanted to explicate thoroughly my disappointment in a platform whose foundation is rife with potential but fails to evoke the vast majority of affinity I felt for the originals. This post has been brewing for months and its cathartic to vent. 343 had the opportunity to cherry pick the best features and content from two decades of the franchise, and instead they’ve decided to cement their legacy of change for the sake of change with a content deficient game which superficially harkens back to the Bungie era but is nearly devoid of its spirit.

TL;DR: Halo Infinite is to the classic games what a kit car is to a classic car: a superficial lookalike that is most likely a shoddy work of hobby engineering underneath. An aesthetically replicated homage that lacks the soul of the original. I do hope the two at least have passion as a commonality.

Edit: The AR being overpowered seemed to be a sticking point for many, so I altered the wording

Edit 2: I’ve received multiple Reddit Helpline messages lmao

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Posted by3 days ago
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