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Halo Infinite - OUT NOW - no campaign spoilers pls


Wallace
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34 minutes ago, Harsin said:

I think it was a wise decision to go open-world. The linear enclosed levels in this are about the same quality as 343's previous fare and the thought of an entire games worth game of them really doesn't float my boat.


The big problem with the linear levels is there’s only two palettes alternated for the whole game, Banished base or Forerunner structure. You’d think they’d at least try to have like, a level in a crashed UNSC cruiser or something considering how many are littered about.

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So...after cleaning up the last collectibles (sans campaign skulls) I've started another game. That's how you can tell they've suceeded despite the much discussed issues.

 

Also while the vehiclws are fine I love the fact that because the workd isn't super hugs I can quite easily traverse the map with the grappling hook once you reduce the cool down.

 

Marines be looking at me like "Uh chief you know you could drive to the objectivs in like 2 minutes right?" as I take ths "crows fly" method by climbing up a mountain for 10 minutes and then jump off it. Because I can.

 

Also lovs the fully upgraded hook's slam attack. Use it on mooks a lot.

 

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

The beauty of the original Halo wasn't just in the combat encounters, it was in those moments where you tried to break it by forcing a vehicle down a narrow corridor and play it the way you wanted.


I found a particular line of geometry on the Halo level where you could drive a warthog up and be on top of the cliffs that fenced in each area. You could destroy the banshees from up there with the turret and it was a great sniping point too :)

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This is the Mario Sunshine of the Halo Franchise. Clearly rushed with tonnes of cut content but it has solid foundations, it really just needed more time. Like Halo 2, it'll be interesting to hear the stories down the line of what went on. As it is the map is alright, its clearly not got many hand touched areas like BotW which makes it all feel and look similar. The gameplay loops is very simple, theres an area and you have to clear it out of enemies, your reward being marines, a base, or points. This is where things sour because the copy and paste nature is great at first due to the classic Halo gun play but clearly shows its flaws after you've done each one just once. Add onto that that story missions start off the same way with you going into a base and clearing it out before finding a door that takes you underground. The story levels are fairly dull to be honest, room with enemies, and then a corridor, and then maybe an empty room and repeat. If you're (un)lucky then you may have a puzzle which requires you to push down on the dpad to see the power cell thats feet away from the place it needs to be put.

 

The story is complete nonsense, yes Halo CE didn't have much of a story but thats what made it interesting, this game requires you to play Halo Wars 2, maybe Halo 5 and remember/care about those key story points. This game tries to capture the second level of Halo CE and just doesn't. It's still obsessed with those 30 seconds of fun moments instead of those long stretches of no enemies, of you wondering if you're going the right way, wondering what this thing you can see may be. I don't know why they've never been able to recapture Halo CEs feel. The 2nd level feels like a huge open world where as its actually just a wide corridor, it just has been very well designed to give you enough freedom where you feel the world is larger than it actually is. But its just the mystery, the horror elements, the quite moments and the feeling you are alone or with a tiny squad that they need to bring back.

 

I think its easy to nit pick this game because it does do the basics very well but then doesn't really do anything interesting. There's only one memorable action scene towards the end of the game, no interesting side missions, the story missions all look and feel mostly identical and unlike MGS5 you can't have fun in this sandbox because all you can do is use your powerful weapons to kill enemies. Want to stealth a section, can't happen because enemies can spot you from miles away, let alone if you shoot an enemy in the head in which case the whole base is alerted anyways. Want to do something fun with your AI marines? You can't because they can barely get in a vehical to assist you. Maybe you want to take the enemy from the high ground, well it's dull cos they just stand down there getting shot at.

 

I guess the point of my rambling post (whilst ignoring the stupid story stuff, things that happen for story reasons that have never happened before or terrible lines of dialogue) is that the base game is good. But like Sea of Thieves there isn't much game here. I'd love to see them in 2 years time come out with some proper missions and just spend all their time creating unique moments. Even if they had missions which were dressed up differently eg. capture a base because it has supplies you then need to take somewhere else. But i fear they'll expand the world with more bases to capture. This isn't a 9/10 game, it feels like an expanded demo at times but its still fun and if you like Halo you'll have a fun 10 hours but it'll definately be compared to MGS5 or Sea of Thieves with a fun opening hour and then many hours of not much interesting happening.

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I’ve been playing Infinite off the back of playing the first half of Halo CE (Anniversary). It’s good fun and the combat feels similar.
 

One thing I’ve always missed in the Halo sequels are the huge explosions you’d get from dead enemies dropping grenades. Infinite may do this a bit, but you don’t see enemies flying all over the place like in CE. I actually like using the needler in CE because it sets off those kinds of explosions. In every other Halo it’s one of my least favourite weapons.

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9 hours ago, Monkeyspill said:

I’ve been playing Infinite off the back of playing the first half of Halo CE (Anniversary). It’s good fun and the combat feels similar.
 

One thing I’ve always missed in the Halo sequels are the huge explosions you’d get from dead enemies dropping grenades. Infinite may do this a bit, but you don’t see enemies flying all over the place like in CE. I actually like using the needler in CE because it sets off those kinds of explosions. In every other Halo it’s one of my least favourite weapons.

 

The sound effects and grenade physics were perfect in CE, Bungie changed their behaviour in H2 onwards and they never felt or sounded as satisfying. Those spectacular and hilarious chain explosions in CE are still guaranteed to provide "did you see THAT?!" moments whenever I go back to CE, which is frequently. Completely agree about the Needler in CE - it's so satisfying landing a full clip on an enemy because you know how funny and lethal the resulting pyrotechnics will be.

 

That's the thing with HCE, it's not just rose tinted nostalgia. Going back to it now is as magical and essential as it ever was.

 

Something else I've noticed in Infinite is the lack of detail in areas where you'd expect it - the water for example, there is no wake, ripples or splashes when you walk or drive through it, it's very static and basic. Same with the foliage, it's stiff and behaves in a very awkward, basic way when you pass though it. Considering there is essentially only one area, you would expect detail to be lavished everywhere and this world to feel alive and detailed - in places it looks like an upscaled 360 game, the textures are so flat and bland. Remember in Halo exploring the frozen waterfall for the first time, the pearly sheen of the ice, your footsteps echoing and creating shards and splinters of ice underfoot. The incredible ambience and beauty of that area. There is nothing even close to that level of detail and wonder in Infinite.

 

I'm also wondering why they couldn't include a heavily wooded area, perhaps with a new enemy type that lives in the trees. Or an area with lakes/rivers and a new water based vehicle. Just basic stuff that even a Far Cry would do. There's such a lack of surprises and imagination here.

 

It feels like 343 should have started on something far less ambitious than Halo. Maybe a reboot of Brute Force and let Halo sleep until they're are up to the task of handling it.

 

 

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One thing I do find disappointing is the lack of interactivity with trees. In a world where Breath of the Wild lets you destroy every tree you see on a console with hardware that old, in a "next gen" game when I get in a tank I should be flattening the landscape of all nature

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I think I might minimise my use of the map - I'm not sure how necessary it is. I spent a couple of hours exploring the area around the tower last night, chancing across stuff and it felt very organic and satisfying. Two of my favourite open world games - Arkham Knight and Breath of the Wild - both have maps, but in neither game did I feel much need to look at them. Exploring the world by getting up high and scouting around seemed to do the job in a much more engaging way. The grapple and draw distances of Halo Infinite seem to allow you to do the same.

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There is so many odd areas in this. Hidden cave systems in the side of cliffs but the armour core pickup is outside by the entrance but when you go inside there’s a load of enemies in a room guarding absolutely nothing.

 

The fact you can’t fly to all the islands, even the final one you visit. Clearly the map is mostly there but that talked about two thirds of the game being removed has meant they’ve just put return to battlefield around just a handful of islands. There’s clearly structures in the distance which were meant to be used but for now are not. It’ll be interesting to see how they expand this or if it’s worth them cutting their loses and just taking these basics and building something new on top of it instead of trying to add on little things to what they currently have.

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Just finished, I’d say this is probably a 7/10 for me. It’s a lot better than I expected it to be but still severely impacted by development hell.

 

It’s comfortably the best campaign 343 have ever made (not a high bar I admit). The overworld stuff is fun and the gunplay feels great. It’s a shame it still feels so half-baked. Being set on a half-destroyed ring with visible holes everywhere feels like a metaphor for the game, you can feel the jagged edges where loads of stuff probably got cut during its troubled development.
 

The Breath of the Wilds comparisons don’t really hold for me, this has none of the sense of exploration and wonder at what you might find around any corner. Loads of times I’ve found a little nook in a mountainside and grappled my way there hoping to find a secret and the only reward is a basic gun I could pick up at any FOB anyway. 
 

Story continues to be a big weak point for 343. It’s less of a problem in Infinite than 4 and 5, just by dint of being less important. It mostly takes a backseat during the whole open world meat of the game being bookended at the beginning and end. Even so they make some really odd narrative choices, for example:

 

Spoiler

There’s a scene where the reveal that the Weapon is a copy of Cortana is played as a huge reveal. Except I just assumed that’s what she was from the second she appeared on screen given she looks and sounds like her. But it’s played like it’s supposed to be a mind blowing secret that’s just knocked the players socks off in the game.

 

The game starts with Master Chief getting his arse handed to him by Atriox. Then the first level of the game you spend most of running around an environment constantly telling you what a cool badass Atriox is. So I’m all ready for my return bout with him… then you find out he died off screen apparently.

 

It feels like Infinity War starting with Thanos kicking the crap out of Thor and Hulk in the pre-title scene. Then outside Dr Strange’s house they reveal he had heart attack after that and now the skeletal magic guy is the main bad guy for the rest of the film and Endgame.


EDIT: Oh, there’s an after-credits scene that reveals he’s still alive - partridgeshrug.jpg. Still a really odd choice to set up a bad guy and then not have him in the actual game itself. 

 

Then the game ends with what I think is supposed to be Weapon deciding to call herself Cortana. It’s presented as a big triumphant feel-good moment. But all I could think about is hang in isn’t that like proudly declaring you’re going to name yourself Hitler. It comes across as really tone deaf.


And this is yet another story that’s much more concerned with teases setting up future instalments than having a satisfying narrative in and of itself.

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Completed on Heroic last night.

 

I think many of the criticisms of its open-world are valid in that it lacks environmental variety and life, doesn’t really respond to the player in any meaningful way and liberating the FOBs rather ruins any sense of exploration or discovery. It’s clearly compromised and pared down from the original vision and a bit of a missed opportunity in those regards. But in the ways that really count I think it achieved what it set out to do, which is provide a vastly expanded space in which to engage in the peerless combat and a canvas that is ripe for creating emergent and chaotically fun experiences, of which I ended up having hundreds.
 

Like many open-world games it requires you to figure out how to maximise your enjoyment of what it has to offer. I quickly realised that ignoring the FOBs when I first encountered them created a sense of reward for exploration and discovery because I had to actively seek out the upgrades and collectibles rather than just mindlessly ping between points on the map. Assaulting the large Banished facilities with a Razorback loaded up with marines tooled up with power weapons was the way to go if I wanted the mayhem to be dialled up to 11. Gaining access to the Wasp and Banshees was the right time to go hunting for skulls hidden at the top of mountains and tucked away in the hexagonal bowels of the damaged Halo.

 

It’s an abject failure of the game’s design that its systems and open-world mechanics sort of force you to engineer this rewarding experience for yourself rather than just present it to you by default, but nevertheless in doing the above I ended up clearing the map with around 30 hours on the clock by the end and had great fun doing so.

 

Visually and technically it has its issues but I actually thought that the scale of its vistas and the design of the exposed underlying structure of the damaged Halo was often stunning.
 

The linear indoor levels set inside Forerunner installations that come thick and fast in the game’s final stretch are a little uninspired and the level design is lacking. There isn’t much invention going on in them in terms of the room layouts and the combat sandbox is doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to how enjoyable they end up being.

 

But ultimately it’s that combat sandbox, the fantastically smooth movement that has been taken to the next level with the grapple, the brilliantly meaty sound design, the fundamental core aspects of what you’re doing from moment to moment in the game and the way it all feels in the hand that are just absolutely fucking superb. Whether it was sniping a Jackal across a mountainside meadow or smacking a Grunt in the chops in a Banished installation it never ever felt anything less than immensely satisfying. It’s just pure unadulterated fun to play and all the little niggles and missed opportunities just melt away when a chain explosion sends a vaporised Brute somersaulting over your head and a marine cheers in celebration before you accidentally and unceremoniously blow him up with a rocket launcher. You just don’t get that experience anywhere else.

 

It’s a flawed game that could be so much more and is a long way from being a masterpiece, of that there’s no doubt. But it’s also the first 343i Halo that doesn’t feel like a second-rate ripoff and can stand on its own as a genuinely fresh and roundly enjoyable entry in the series. No-one’s been more critical of 343i’s often woefully misjudged efforts to recapture the old magic of Halo games of yore than me and I was highly sceptical that they’d manage it at the third time of asking, but against all the odds I think this time they pulled it off and delivered what feels like a proper Halo game and the best entry in the series in over a decade. I’m eager to see where they take it from here because the foundation is solidly laid now.

 

And let’s not forget that the multiplayer absolutely fucking rocks and that’s one aspect that isn’t open for debate. Taken as a whole it’s a great package and I’m more than happy with what they delivered. It’s a shame that some seem distinctly nonplussed with it and I do acknowledge and agree to an extent with a lot of the criticisms, but on the whole I think it’s been well received and that’s something to be celebrated.

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3 hours ago, Benny said:

One thing I do find disappointing is the lack of interactivity with trees. In a world where Breath of the Wild lets you destroy every tree you see on a console with hardware that old, in a "next gen" game when I get in a tank I should be flattening the landscape of all nature


One of my first memories of Far Cry 3 was setting an enormous field alight to kill some baddies, who had also managed to piss off a Tiger who was killing them before the fire could.

 

The lack environmental stuff in this is criminal. And yet, I still have a great time with it every time I play it!

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This is such a weird mix of super-polished, and a bit shoddy. Like, when an aircraft hovers close to the ground, the grass and vegetation gets flattened and blows around in the downdraft, and it looks fantastic. But at the same time, the trees are absolutely rigid, the branches not moving an iota, even if you drive a warthog into one. The vehicles leave burnt-rubber tiretracks all the time as if you're spinning the wheels on tarmac, on any material, even dust and mud. Bullet holes start fading away into nothing as soon as they appear. 

 

It looks stunning at the right moments, but a lot of the time, the little details puncture the illusion.

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Finding this super frustrating on Heroic. Jackal snipers and bastards with grenades and rockets that seem to spawn behind you. Finishing all the others on heroic but I guess I just don’t have the patience anymore and it’s just sucking the fun out of the game for me. I’ll try the point I’m at a few more times but if I can’t get past the spike I’ll drop it to normal. 
 

as others have mentioned it’s a strange mix of really good and then bland and unpolished/unfinished. I think launching the multiplayer early took some of the impact out of launch day but the main game launching with bugs like quick resume not working, settings not saving, and the lack of environmental detail, variety etc is strange for a flagship game with such a huge budget and team behind it. Not to mention the lack of coop. 

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29 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:


One of my first memories of Far Cry 3 was setting an enormous field alight to kill some baddies, who had also managed to piss off a Tiger who was killing them before the fire could.

 

The lack environmental stuff in this is criminal. And yet, I still have a great time with it every time I play it!

 

 

This is a good example of the kind of thing where an overall graphical upgrade but removal of simulation detail actually makes games seem less impressive to watch:

 

 

 

 

I didn't enjoy the combat all that much in Control, but that is a great example of a modern game though where you can destroy *everything*

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Hunters in this are waaaaaaaaaaay harder than I remember them being in Halo CE. 

 

Spoiler

Saw a couple of them guarding a skull and thought I'd take them on. Could have been a bit of a Lynel moment from Breath of the Wild. Instead I just got summarily stomped. I'm guessing the dash ability from the multiplayer will be available to me later on, as it's the only ability I can think of that will allow me to get behind them. You can't get close enough as it is, as if you grapple over then when they charge there is a very brief window and you can't move fast enough. Plus their buddy will simply melt you as you focus on them. Didn't seem possible to cheese them with a Ghost either as they just soaked up several minutes worth of damage from the front and didn't die. I guess there's always sniping in the back...

 

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I did that awesome thing you can do in Halo 3 where you kit out a squad of marines with power weapons so that they can take out dropshops before the reinforcements can jump out. I also love that I can bungee my way up level with dropships and plant a sticky grenade on the heads of the annoying bay-door gunners. Shame you can't jump aboard and take them down from within! I love that these classic Halo activities have all been faithfully retained and enhanced.

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2 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Sometimes I’ve noticed I get valor points, what does that do? 

 

think it means you get extra stuff at the FOBs, but I never really seemed to notice it doing much really.

 

I did suddenly realise at the end of my play through I hadn't ever had a chance to fly (or even see) one of those UNSC flying machines anywhere - does that get introduced I wonder?

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I'm one of those who loved H:CE for its campaign and over the years felt like the aims of the series became so focused on multiplayer that I got less and less interested. Every campaign felt like a poorer blueprint of the preceding one. I barely spent an hour with Halo 4 and didn't bother with 5.

 

So the first few hours with this really did give me a warm feeling but the longer I've played it the less I like it. Technically it's a curate's egg. But the key thing for me is the open-world structure makes it feel so much more disposable and less curated than the highs of that first game. It feels mundane rather than exciting.

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