Ever since it was originally unveiled, I have been waiting in anticipation for extended footage of Halo: Infinite gameplay. Today, Xbox delivered my wish at their Xbox Games Showcase. And man does it look beautiful!
The demo starts out with Master Chief riding in on a UNSC ship as it is crash landing. The Chief indicates there are anti-aircraft cannons that shot them down, and he has to go take care of them. After some convincing the UNSC pilot he needs to go, Chief jumps straight into battle.
The opening shots of Halo (the planet) are gorgeous. The lighting lays into the landscape perfectly, creating the feel of a late afternoon in the summer. You see the giant Halo ring in the sky and can’t help but recall the opening of ‘Arriving on Halo,’ the second mission in Halo: Combat Evolved.
You hear brief sounds of nature – birds and other animals – before grunts are alerted to your position. Chief takes them out with ease before finding a Warthog. Hello, old friend!
Back to the mission at hand, Chief pulls up his tacmap which indicates the three different anti-air cannons. Unlike previous entries, it seems you can attack them in any order. I love the idea of having a more open world to explore. I can imagine many potential benefits of the tacmap such as identifying vehicles, munitions, and power ups.
After a short drive in the Warthog, Chief encounters a fairly large group of Covenant, both grunts and elites. Standard fare for the most part, until a few pods of Brutes land. One new gadget at Chief’s disposal is the grapple hook, which he uses to pull close to a Brute, stick a grenade, then jump back before exploding.
There are so many potential uses for the grapple hook, and adding it really changes the dynamics of battle. It does appear there is a short cool-down for the hook, which probably is the right move. We aren’t playing Batman after all.
After taking out all enemies, it’s time to take an elevator ride. One key difference though between previous games is you are seeing the open world during your ride. This leads me to believe they aren’t using the elevator as a cheap loading trick, but so you can see the beauty of the world as you ascend.
It’s worth noting the music picks up here, with a classic-sounding Halo score. I’ve previously written about great musical scores in the Xbox family, and Halo was definitely on the list.
Progressing through battle, a new use for the grapple hook is displayed. Chief pulls to him a barrel which he then chucks at a turret. It explodes dealing some damage to the onboard grunt, allowing him to overtake it easier. Another very intuitive use that sadly took almost two decades to implement.
Finally making his way to the first anti-aircraft cannon, Chief turns it off only to be greeted by a message from a Brute leader. End Demo.
So many things to unpack in anticipation for the release, but probably the number one thing I still wonder is when it will be released. The “Holiday 2020” tag still ends the demo, and I was really hoping for a hard date. And while we got Halo: Infinite gameplay, I’d also like to see the multiplayer.
The good news though, it will be available day 1 through Xbox Game Pass whenever it launches. Along with the many other games previewed today, Halo: Infinite led me to upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate. And why not with such a good deal!
There was no multiplayer demo or announcements, but I’m okay with that. Halo did revolutionize online multiplayer, but 343 really let the campaign take a backseat in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Multiplayer will be good I’m sure, but I’m more excited for the campaign.
Overall, everything shown today really looks impressive. The gameplay, the visuals, and the world are all stunning, and I can’t wait to jump in! To be clear, I was already going to buy Halo: Infinite regardless. So today was really an appetizer to hold me over until the holidays!
Stay tuned to Generation Xbox for continuing coverage of Halo: Infinite and much more from the world of Xbox. Check out the reactions to the full show here. And check out the Halo: Infinite Xbox page where you can also sign up for Xbox Game Pass.