It’s been a few days since Microsoft’s big Xbox Game Showcase where, at long last, we could finally get a glimpse of some (actual)gameplay from Halo: Infinite. Halo as a series has consumed a significant part of my life and provided many fond memories since experiencing the game for the first time in 2001, so I wanted to write up a few brief thoughts on what I’ve seen from Halo: Infinite thus far. The presentation began with an official trailer for the game, followed by an 8-minute demo. In a showcase consisting primarily of CG announcement trailers of game, it was nice to at least see some gameplay, though still not very much. The (over)reaction on social media following the Xbox event was not surprising, as many pointed out the visual quality and overall look of the Halo: Infinite demo.
Let’s just get this part out of the way…I’d be lying if I said I was blown away by the visuals of the game, particularly after Microsoft has not missed an opportunity to promote the specs of the upcoming Xbox Series X – 60fps 4K resolution, ray tracing and all. I completely understand not being utterly wowed by the game’s visuals, but I’m not going to say they look terrible either; I’m not gonna judge the look of an entire game based on five minutes of gameplay being streamed on Twitch/YouTube. The discourse after the Xbox event also brings the fan reaction to Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild release trailer to mind, I remember much criticism over it’s lackluster visuals, or the infamous “puddlegate” controversy with the game footage of Spider-Man on PS4 shortly before release. There’s also the odd rumor that flared up online over whether or not the multiplayer for Halo: Infinite would be available at launch, something I had already read several interviews stating it would be ready at launch. As much as I usually enjoy the campaigns in Halo games, the multiplayer has been at least equal in importance since the days of Halo 2 & 3.
To be completely honest, there wasn’t a lot shown during the demo, as it began and concluded with cutscene segments. The meager gameplay footage we were given, does show Master Chief doing what he does best – obliterating the Covenant, as he grabs a battle rifle and jumps in a nearby Warthog. I thought the game appeared to run pretty smoothly as the demo showed Master Chief taking out enemies with a battle rifle before using the newly-featured grappling hook to fling himself towards a brute and quickly tag them with a plasma grenade before moving on to the many nearby grunts. I didn’t see anything extraordinary from the gameplay shown, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete negative; it looks like more Halo, which is alright by me.
An aspect of Halo: Infinite that really intrigues me is 343 Industries stating that the game will feature larger, more spacious environments and give players the option to take on mission objectives in no particular order. Those details, to me at least, give the impression that Halo: Infinite is aiming to be more of a return to the feel of the first game. One of the memorable things about Halo: Combat Evolved was landing on the Halo – an alien installation with vast regions to explore and many battles to take place. I’m very interested in the direction of the upcoming game as I did lose a little bit of enthusiasm for the series after it started to simply copy mechanics from military-FPS games like Call of Duty.
It’s been difficult to explain entirely what the games have meant to me and just how big of a deal in gaming that Halo was; it’s still an important series to both fans and Microsoft as they prepare to launch a new Xbox console alongside Halo: Infinite(presumably). Halo 3 still sits as one of my all-time favorite shooters due to its smooth gameplay and numerous online multiplayer options; so, while I won’t defend Microsoft’s missteps in recent presentations, I am still looking forward to the chance to play some more Halo…
What did you think of the Xbox Games Showcase? Did any games stand out to you? Let me know and thanks for reading!