It took months of prodding before my parents allowed me to get the original Halo for XBox. I was about fourteen at the time, a little angsty, a little irritating, growing up in a conservative and religious home where R-rated movies and M-rated video games were usually shunned if not frowned upon.

It took the supportive words of the local GameCrazy general manager to convince my parents that I was okay playing Halo. And that Christmas, I got my copy. That led to hours of multiplayer matches, compelling campaign missions, and late-night LAN parties with friends. It was a staple of my teenage years.

Halo largely left my attention until Halo Infinite was announced.

It looked awesome, but I heard how 343 Industries had failed to live up to the quality that Bungie established back in the series’ early days. So I was a little apprehensive on what this installment would hold.

The good news is… Halo Infinite is awesome.

I’ve only put about 10 hours into the game between multiplayer and campaign modes, but I’ve already got a thingertwo to say if you’re thinking about diving in.

The Good

First off, the game just feels good. The way Master Chief controls is tight and responsive. The guns are a ton of fun (except the plasma pistol). The grappleshot also introduces an entirely new dynamic to multiplayer matches and campaign exploration. It’s incredibly satisfying to scale mountains by hooking into a large rock and zipping to the top.

Speaking of exploration, the campaign map is huge and gorgeous. It feels like a nugget taken out of the Pacific Northwest, scarred by Banished industrialism. I find myself late in the evening thinking “just one more mission” when I get ready to turn off the console and go to bed. The world begs to be explored, and it has a tough time letting you go.

The sound design really pulls you in, too. Not just environmental sounds of chirping birds and rustling trees, but the guttural bangs and clashes of battle. The voice acting is solid, especially Master Chief’s vast collection of tough one-liners.

Speaking specifically of the multiplayer, this might be the best thing Halo Infinite has going for it. It’s frantic. It’s wild. And guess what? It’s free. You don’t even need Game Pass to play it. So you have no excuse not to be playing Halo Infinite if you have an XBox or a PC. Thank you, 343 Industries. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

The Bad

The story is interesting enough, but doesn’t grip me emotionally like I hoped it would. Once you pass the highly-cinematic opening sequence, you’re kind of dropped into the open world and left to your own devices. Take back some bases. Save some Marines. Blow up some Banished. It’s a good time, but the story feels like it could be stronger.

Also, I hate how enemies respawn at bases even after you take them. Granted, there aren’t as many the next time you visit, but it’s annoying to have to take out a dozen grunts when all you wanted to do was look around for powerups.

I also had an experience taking out a high-value target with a sniper rifle across a ravine, but couldn’t get across the ravine. So I reached the location by going around a huge bridge and climbing up a mountain. By the time I arrived, the high-value target had respawned along with its entire platoon, which led to a huge firefight I was underprepared for. I was so annoyed.

Oh, and the plasma pistol. That gun sucks.

The Verdict

Even the things that slightly sour my experience a little aren’t enough to pull me away. Halo Infinite is a blast. If you own a XBox Series X/S or PC, you owe it to yourself to give Halo Infinite a whirl. The open world is massive and brimming with things to do. The multiplayer is fast-paced and exciting. You could easily lose hours in this game. And if you’ve already signed up for Game Pass, it’s an absolute no brainer. Hats off to 343 Industries for delivering the Halo we’ve all been waiting for.

Overall Score: 9/10

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