After months of delays, controversies and people taking the mickey out of a Brute called Craig, Halo Infinite is finally about to go live. The good news: Halo Infinite absolutely rules. I know because I reviewed it, using words like "Halo Infinite is a shocking return to form".
The bad news: Fans of the series will be surprised to discover some of the tactics they've developed to cruise through previous Halo games on "Heroic" difficulty, won't always work. So, to that end, I've decided to put together some general advice for those about to start playing Halo Infinite's single player mode. The game's free-to-play multiplayer is a whole other story.
1. Choose Heroic difficulty
Your mileage may vary, but if you're an experienced Halo player looking to get the most out of Halo Infinite, I recommend "Heroic" difficult over the harder "Legendary" or the easier "Normal".
Normal is just a little too straight forward. Once you find your groove I estimate it'll feel too easy. Heroic is tough, and you'll encounter a few bottlenecks, but it's just the right amount of tough. Legendary, I reckon, is perfect for a second, more challenging playthrough once you understand how the game works on a more fundamental level.
2. Fiddle around with your control settings
If you've been playing Halo's fantastic multiplayer beta, you'll be aware the game provides players with very granular control options. I recommend experimenting in the early stages and figuring out what you like. It really makes a difference.
This is more than just flipping from regular to inverted, you can change analogue stick deadzones, and mess with how fast they accelerate. I found it very useful to mess around with all of those settings to suit how I like to play Halo specifically. It makes a difference!
3. Use the grappleshot. All the time
In my first play through, it took me a while to get accustomed to the game's new grapple hook mechanic, aka the grappleshot. The sooner you get familiar with it, the better. It can be used for heaps of stuff: traversal, grabbing weapons and items. It can even be used to grapple towards enemies and board moving vehicles. My recommendation: Experiment from the get go and get used to using it as often as possible. The sooner the grappleshot becomes part of your Halo vocabulary the better.
On that note...
4. Upgrade the grappleshot first
Halo Infinite has a very unobtrusive upgrade mechanic going. Via "Spartan Cores", discoverable in the game's open world, you can upgrade your equipment and your shield. It's very simple and straight forward.
I 100% recommend focusing all of your Spartan Cores on upgrading your grappleshot first. It's the thing that will elevate your playthrough most effectively, allowing you to travel quicker and fight more effectively. Whatever comes after is up to you but definitely upgrade the grappleshot first.
5. The boss fights are tough
Look, you need to be prepared for this! The boss fights are very challenging. A few are borderline nightmarish and took me a long time to figure out.
A few pieces of advice if you get stuck...
- Scour the area for power weapons, there's usually a few lying around specifically designed to help you take bosses out. Figure out where they are quickly and head straight toward them. I found the Skewer to be the cleanest, easiest way to dispose of bosses.
- Use your grappleshot to grab exploding barrel things and launch them! This does a huge amount of damage and stuns the boss, giving you time to move to cover.
- Also use your grappleshot to escape to cover! Very important.
- Persevere! This is a Dark Souls sort of situation. You will die. A lot.
6. Experiment with weapons
If you're anything like me, and you've grown up playing Halo, you probably have default go-to weapons. I recommend switching things up!
In Halo Infinite, there are certainly weapon combinations that are super effective, but it's fairly well balanced and rewards players who try different approaches to different scenarions.
I found the Pulse Carbine to be great against Jackals and Brutes, but the Disruptor was the biggest surprise for me. Rattle enough shots into Grunts and they'll literally explode into the sky. Some of my favourite moments in Halo Infinite came through using that weapon.
Oh, and surprise surprise -- one of the most consistently effective weapons is the Mangler. Ignore it at your peril. It has a bigger range than you think.
7. Vehicles aren't always the answer...
Given that Halo Infinite takes place in an open world, you'd be forgiven for thinking that vehicles would be the most straight forward way to approach every single encounter. That's not the case. By being in a vehicle, be it a Ghost or a Tank, you often make yourself a massive target. The Banished will quickly find you, disable the vehicle and make mincemeat of you. There's a time and place for everything, but when I did use vehicles, I tended to go with the Ghost, mainly because it's agile and quick.
Note: If you do use vehicles, get ready to bail the second that thing sounds like it's going to explode!
This goes without saying, but Halo Infinite rewards exploration. This isn't the kind of open world with dead areas, it's absolutely worth just messing around and seeing what you can find. Not only will you spot Spartan Cores that allow you to upgrade abilities, but there's also a host of different collectible stuff, like audio logs and whatnot. Thankfully, Halo Infinite doesn't suffer from open world bloat. It's the right kind of big and a constant joy to explore. So explore!
9. You can't replay missions
One of the biggest bummers (second to no co-op play at launch) is the fact that you cannot replay missions once you've completed them. Apparently the 343 Industries team is working on getting this fixed in a future update, but it's something to be aware of.
Thankfully, once you've finished the main quest line, players are dropped back in the open world to finish off any side quests left available.
10. Don't worry about the story
The biggest question I've gotten since reviewing Halo Infinite is, do I need to remember what happened in the previous games.
I had no idea what was going on. I had forgotten everything. Halo isn't about "The Banished" or "The Prophets" or whatever the hell weird McGuffin they use to drag you from point to point. No, it's about lobbing grenades at bad guys. Period.
I didn't care about what was going on in previous games and I still don't. I'm not 100% sure what happened in the story and I'm not convinced that it matters. The game rules no matter what. You should play it, even if you don't remember anything about previous games.