After a less-than-stellar showing at E3 2020 and a surprisingly long wait, 343 Industries have finally treated fans to an updated look at Halo Infinite's campaign thanks to a recently released campaign overview showcase. In our latest video, we discuss whether or not this gameplay addresses fans' concerns and gets the Halo campaign hype-train back on track.
Halo Infinite campaign: The graphical improvements
We have to start with the Zeta-shaped elephant in the room and the catalyst for most of the criticisms levied against Halo Infinite's first campaign gameplay reveal: the graphical presentation. When 343 Industries showed 15 minutes of Halo Infinite campaign gameplay back at E3 2020, critics quickly pointed out the noticeable object pop-in, seemingly flat textures, and issues regarding lighting quality. The team promptly addressed these concerns and committed to delivering a more polished Halo product by delaying Halo Infinite by a full year. What we saw in the latest campaign overview demonstrates just how far the game has come graphically since the Summer of 2020.
Panning shots of sprawling environments kick off this campaign overview video with astonishing effect. 343 Industries made it a point to show exactly how gorgeous the new locations are on Zeta Halo. From heavily wooded landscapes inspired by the Pacific Northwest, to familiar yet refined covenant architecture, this overview suggests that Halo Infinite will be the biggest and most beautiful entry the series has seen so far. The textures, lighting, and small environmental details on display in every single scene are unquestionably impressive. While Halo Infinite might not necessarily be the best-looking game ever made, what I've seen from these improvements has me incredibly excited about the game's visual presentation.
Now, what about my boy, Craig? Did 343 Industries give him the handsome Craig glow-up he deserves? This poor Brute was shamed for his appearance and unjustly raked through the coals following his debut in Halo Infinite. Thankfully, the community rallied around this misunderstood creature and made him a meme mascot for Xbox.
In a bold move from the team, this campaign overview featured the infamous scene that spawned Craig the Brute. I'm happy to report that Craig is looking more Chad than ever before. This Brute just went from memey to dreamy.
Halo Infinite campaign: The updated sandbox
In addition to showcasing the remarkable graphical enhancements coming to Halo Infinite, the latest campaign overview did a much better job showcasing the game's scope and what that means for the new and improved Halo sandbox. Our first look at Halo Infinite's campaign ambiguously suggested larger environments and a semi-open world to explore, but the fresh look we saw this week detailed precisely how that will impact the gameplay.
Thanks to the sheer scope of the locations featured in this campaign overview, vehicles look more satisfying than ever before. Iconic crafts like the Banshee, Warthog, Scorpion, and Wasp were all showcased. We even witnessed Master Chief call in a specific vehicle drop from an outpost, suggesting that players will now have the freedom to choose when and where they can use their favorite vehicles.
While I'm pretty partial to blowing up anything and everything in sight with a Scorpion tank, it's just not an authentic Halo experience if controlling Master Chief doesn't fulfill that Spartan super-soldier power fantasy. Thankfully, all signs point to Halo Infinite offering the most impressive and diverse kit of Spartan tools in the franchise's history. In this six-minute video, we saw glimpses of an upgraded grapple shot with the ability to shock and stun enemies, a thruster that can be used to dodge enemy attacks, and even an RPG-inspired tree of equipment upgrades. Mild RPG mechanics and open-world design elements might be just the thing Halo needs to reinvent itself for a new generation of players.
Halo Infinite campaign: The new enemies
So, who are the unfortunate foes that'll be on the receiving end of all these Spartan Gadgets and tools of destruction? In Halo Infinite, Master Chief faces The Banished — a splintered faction of the Covenant Empire who've defeated UNSC forces and captured Zeta Halo. Their current leader, Escharum, is a violent Brute who will stop at nothing to ensure the freedom of his people. While entries like Halo 4 and 5 featured an entirely new threat called the Prometheans, what we've seen so far from Halo Infinite suggests the franchise will go back to its roots and focus on Master Chief battling classic Covenant forces.
In addition to re-introducing some familiar enemy faces, this campaign overview also made sure to show long-time fans what new threats they'll be facing. We witnessed charging Brutes with power armor, new flying beasts called Skimmers, and boss fights against intimidating enemies with distinct health bars. We also got our first look at the terrifying Spartan Killer Jega 'Rdomnai and a vicious new foe who claims to be the "Harbinger of the truth." It's genuinely exciting seeing Halo Infinite emphasize so many compelling and noteworthy adversaries in one entry.
Covenant forces are cool and all, but I have one burning question: Will we see The Flood in Halo Infinite? With this title serving as a spiritual reboot of the series and not so subtly paying homage to classic Halo: Combat Evolved, it's hard for me to imagine we won't see the monstrous Flood in some capacity during the campaign. The latest overview video even teases an iconic location called the Palace of Pain, where the Forerunners took humans and experimented on them. This Palace served as a Flood research facility. Its inclusion in multiple gameplay features for Halo Infinite strongly suggests the involvement of these horrifying entities.
It remains to be seen whether or not the campaign for Halo Infinite will fully deliver on its ambitious promises when it launches this holiday. The road to release for 343 Industries' latest project has been filled with controversy, questions, and concerns from hardcore fans and casual enthusiasts.
However, the recent confidence demonstrated by this team with the Halo Infinite multiplayer test flights and the latest campaign overview video alleviates many of my worries regarding the launch state of Halo Infinite. Here's to hoping 343 Industries offers a strong campaign demo to all players ahead of the game's release to ease any remaining apprehension.
Halo Infinite is making its way to Xbox Game Pass via Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on Dec. 8, 2021. While you wait to become Master Chief, be sure to check out our list of the best games in Xbox Game Pass.
A new journey awaits
The next big adventure
Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen in the new campaign overview, the game looks incredible.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.