Leaving the Golden Road-Progress and Exploration in “Halo Infinity”

The battle of Halo Infinite provides players with two very different paths; this is one of the most important things that distinguishes the game from its predecessors. When I checked the three-hour demo of the event, it became clear that the master’s latest adventure offers a familiar, action-rich “road to gold” option. Like almost all previous Halo games, Infinite’s main linear story gameplay is designed to provide a satisfying and tight-paced adventure, a clear and engaging narrative, and clear target markings that will take you to the ensuing large-scale encounters. Based on the many demos I have experienced, players looking for the classic Halo campaign structure will not be disappointed.

However, the alternative path through the game makes Halo Infinite different from before. After determining the gameplay of the story and the introductory sequence of stakes, it is open infinitely and allows more free-form exploration and progress than the early games in the franchise. There is a complete cycle of character improvement, discoverable pickups, armor upgrades and optional battles waiting for players who choose to deviate from the main path. Although the developers at 343 Industries continue to resist using the term “open world” to describe this experience, there is no doubt that the content I have witnessed draws heavily on the open world trend of action and shooting games over the past decade. Of course, the difference is that those open areas are full. The series has always been known for its intense Halo shootout and action type, which makes everything different.

One of the reasons Halo Infinite is not a traditional open world is the way it is partitioned when you first appear on the Zeta Halo surface. Most open world games provide relative freedom to fully explore wherever you want to go, even if certain areas may be particularly challenging in the early stages. Instead, Infinite divides its exploreable content into specific areas, each area filled with a series of encounters, a list of discoverable items to track, and a defined game area. Players unlock new areas by advancing the story, and finally return to the previous location to complete further exploration and conquest.

At the highest level, the Sergeant Chief is passing through Zeta Halo to counter the forces of the exiles (a split faction that was once part of the Star League) while convening in UNSC Infinity. If this sounds like a familiar narrative cycle, it should. 343 Industries has publicly stated how much inspiration Halo Infinite has drawn from the original Halo: Combat Evolved.

For players who choose to explore, the accordion will switch back and forth between large open areas where you can set terms of participation and a narrower defined sequence that takes you inside Halo-a space that the developers publicly describe as a dungeon. In short, the mutual concessions between these expansive open areas and more compact interior spaces are reminiscent of early games in franchising, even if some of the activities you are pursuing now are to conquer and control an area along alternative paths.

In order to complete his part of the task, the chief sergeant is engaged in a continuous battle for territory. Although there are many moving parts of the conflict, the most important starting point for any new area is the local forward operating base, or FOB. These UNSC outposts have been taken by the exiles, and players need to clear them to recapture the FOB. After regaining control, the tactical map will update the relevant nearby points of interest. In addition, FOB becomes a fast travel point. Finally, controlling the FOB will turn it into a supply point where you can fill up with ammunition and requisition additional supplies, troops, and even vehicles.

The ability to call in the weapons or other aids you need changes the rules of the game, allowing you to shape your own fighting style, but it’s not completely free. Instead, the player must create a resource called valor, which determines the level of items you can call. If you want to bring the Scorpion tank into your next attack, please do some basic work first.

Courage is gained from numerous activities around a given area. For example, you can destroy an exiled propaganda tower to gain courage. Or, track down a team of imprisoned UNSC Marines and rescue them to gain courage. Activities like this will boost your courage and provide you with more FOB application options.

This is not the only way you can get new things at the FOB supply point. High-value targets allow for another interesting transfer, leading to unique weapons that you can’t obtain anywhere else in the game. We saw a battle with a high-value target named Okro’ Vagaduun, an elite sword master wielding a special high-powered energy sword. If you track his location on the tactical map, you can defeat him and pick up his sword. Together with him to completely eliminate his army cadres, you can requisition a high-intensity energy sword in the FOB, and take it into the future battle. The game includes many small bosses named in this way, and each small boss has a different part that can be added to your growing arsenal.

You can also spend time tracking discoverable things in a given area, all of which are used for different purposes. Audio logs are scattered throughout Zeta Halo, each one helps to flesh out the story, including details of what happened to Captain Lasky and other crew members of UNSC Infinity. You may also want to try to find elusive and game-changing skulls, but like previous games, they are hard to find.

Another major item that can be found is Spartan Cores. These optional upgrades allow you to gradually improve your equipment. The main equipment of the armor is found on the critical path of the game, but it may not be able to reach its full potential when discovered. The Spartan core can be used to increase the strength of your shield. Or you can enhance a new grab, and maybe add a voltaic shock that stuns the enemy. Once you have a threat sensor device, you can use Spartan Cores to increase the number of deployable sensors that can be put into the field at any given time.

Whether it comes from the more demand from the FOB you control, the special weapons obtained by defeating high-value targets, or the improved equipment from the Spartan core that you have discovered, your development of master chief options and power will provide more for large-scale battles. Multiple choices you will have to face. In addition to the activities already described, Halo Infinite also has many larger bases, some of which are mission-critical, while others you can choose to try and conquer.

These major exile buildings are unique free-form encounters, designed to allow you to accept them according to your choice and use the tools you develop and improve through exploration. The 343 Industries team informally described these types of encounters as “super soldier base attacks.” The idea is to provide players with extensive freedom to engage in large multi-part battles. In one sequence, the chief sergeant loaded a warthog with selected rescued marines and rushed into the thickly walled base. But as an alternative, he could have used the grappling hook to gain a favorable position and start the battle by sniping many targets before entering. In another option, he can use the grab to jump over the wall and advance from there on the soft spot behind the less defensive. Or maybe he has enough courage to summon a VTOL Wasp and fly into the central tower from above. At the end of the base we saw, the sergeant ascended to a higher floor, faced a famous (and invisible) elite, and punctuated the end of this large-scale battle. These types of battles are destined to be big and exaggerated, especially when faced with higher difficulties. The possibility of confusion and creativity is high.

After using Halo Infinite for a few hours, it became clear that 343 was trying new things, especially those related to optional exploration and upgrades. But I was also surprised by the pace and flow of the battle and their memories of the earliest games in the Halo classic. The process of personal communication with the exiled enemy has a unique “feel” that I remember the encounter with Halo in the early 2000s. Combining exciting battle cycles with more open exploration makes me most excited about Halo Infinite. Even after just a few hours, it is clear that this new Domination version will provide the most extensive and choice-driven Halo experience to date.

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