I wasn't ready to start sneaking around a Banished warship in my first few minutes, but I was facing down an army of grunts, Jackals, and Elites. The initial thrill of the classic music and the familiarity of the enemies was a nostalgia overload for a while, but after it all wore off, I noticed the new Grappleshot. Oh, boy.
The combination of grenades, melees, and an assortment of weapons and vehicles still remains today, but the Grappleshot is an entirely new addition that transforms the campaign mode. It was an ideal companion that I wanted to upgrade fully during my first few hours of the campaign.
Grappleshot Jackal shields to kill them.
You are introduced to the Grappleshot in the early missions of the game, as you fight your way outside to the open areas of the Zeta Halo that the Banished enemies have taken over. The first level is incredibly vertical and it acts like a training mode to get you to master the Grappleshot.
While you can run, jump, and shoot enemies without it, punching them in the face is very satisfying. Grappleshot the shield to make it lower if Jackal's shields are annoying. It is also great for figuring out how to get up there, in moments where you can just aim and travel to areas that would be impossible to get to otherwise.
The Grappleshot has been playing around with me for months, and I was impressed with its mobility, but it has unlimited uses in the campaign. It really comes into its own. You can use it to navigate around quicker or to propel yourself towards an enemy, and it can also be used to retrieve items. There is only a short time left in the campaign mode, so the possibilities for speed running are endless. I am looking forward to seeing what talented players do here.
The part of the Zeta halo that is missing.
The dark and eerie areas in the first few missions of the game are what you would expect from a classic game. There is a clear storyline and structure. If you are new to the franchise, the story is 18 months after the events of Halo 5, but the story and adventures really start to expand once you first venture outside onto the Zeta Halo.
It is here that the new game, Halo Infinite, sets itself apart from the previous games. It still has the same look and feel of Combat Evolved, but you can freely explore the area, and it is filled with items to discover, high-value targets to eliminate, outposts to conquer, and of course areas of the main storyline to complete.
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The surface of the halo.
While it looks and feels like an open-world Halo game at first glance, 343 Industries limits the areas you can explore until you have progressed and unlocked new areas. It is difficult to say how big this map will be, but you can see that there is a lot to get unlocked. I had to spend a few minutes standing still and listening to the sound of the environment and animals around me.
You can improve your Grappleshot abilities and earn armor upgrades here. During my initial preview of the game, I only experienced a few upgrades, but there are many more that you can get in the game. I can't wait to see how powerful the Grappleshot is.
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The Grappleshot upgrade looks promising.
The first main campaign mission here is to get to the Banished boss in a huge tower. It is a dark, steam-filled location that shows how good the game is running on the Xbox Series X, with lighting that requires you to light Master Chief's helmet.
I enjoyed this one the most and it left me wanting more. You can use the threat sensor to track enemies through walls and terrain after the boss battle. The threat sensor can be used to find high-value targets that hide away, and you can find them in the Halo Zeta.
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The beginning of the game is dark, eerie, and steam-filled.
I am curious to see how the campaign progresses, as you can equip the threat sensor when you need it in place of the Grappleshot. The progression system can be found in Spartan Cores, which can be found throughout the main campaign missions.
You can summon them from outposts that you have secured once you have unlocked more vehicles. Banished forces occupied the Ring for six months. You can use these outposts to rally UNSC Marines who are willing to accompany you on missions and defeat enemies. If you rescue marines out in the field or capture Banished bases, you will also earn a resource that allows you to get new weapons, vehicles, and more.
It feels like there are many hours ahead of me after playing the first few hours of the game. After just a few hours of play, the fate of Master Chief and Cortana is still up in the air, as the new weapon is introduced early on. We will have a full review of the game next month, where we will discover the secrets of the game.
Fans are going to enjoy exploring the different kind of halo that is already felt like a familiar one.