Pass The Controller* is a Slice of Culture series where we highlight video games, both AAA (blockbuster) and indie. Llanes will share honest and balanced opinions on what could be your next favorite game as well as some random tips every now and then!

The “Halo” franchise has reached its 20th anniversary with six mainline titles, numerous spin off games, a slew of novels and even a tv show coming in 2022.

The past few months I played through the majority of the “Halo” campaigns.

The first three games show their age a bit, but are still pretty enjoyable.

“ODST” is a decent add-on to “Halo 3.” I thought “Halo Reach” and “Halo 4” are pretty solid games. And finally, “Halo 5: Guardians” had a campaign that I couldn’t get through because life’s too short for mediocrity.

After a long, grueling development process including a year-long delay, “Halo: Infinite” has finally been released.

And in a way, this newly open world campaign feels like another soft reboot to the franchise.

Even though the Halo games have provided an excellent amount of world building, the story has never been that strong in my opinion.

This time, the “Infinite” development team 343 Industries took this game in an interesting direction. For the first time in the franchise, only the campaign costs money while the multiplayer portion is “free to play.”

This time Master Chief is fighting against a new group of enemies known as the Banished.

Chief is losing the battle.

Fortunately, he is saved by a man only known as “The Pilot.” The two of them along with a new AI companion, “The Weapon” find themselves on Zeta Halo to fight off the Banished and finish the fight.

A view of the new open world of “Halo: Infinite” (Xbox Game Studios Screenshot)

The new characters are surprisingly likable.

The Pilot started off as a pretty annoying guy. Nearly all of his dialogue consisted of him being extremely paranoid and blaming Chief for nearly dying. Though as the campaign went on his character gets fleshed out and becomes a bit more likable.

The Weapon turned out to be a surprisingly great character. I love how the writers didn’t turn her into another copy of Cortana. Okay, she technically is a copy, but she is a lot more carefree and naive.

Jen Taylor, who voices both Cortana and The Weapon, does an amazing job in distinguishing the two characters. Steve Downes is also great as the voice of Master Chief.

Downes and the writing team were able to humanize Chief and give him more vulnerable moments throughout the campaign while still keeping him a badass.

The banter between Chief and The Weapon is one of the biggest highlights of “Infinite”. 

Two of the new major characters, The Pilot and The Weapon (Xbox Game Studios Screenshot)

A major change that 343 Industries implemented into “Halo: Infinite” is the decision to abandon the linear structure of the past installments and make this new game open world.

I was skeptical about this direction the series takes, but it was a surprisingly nice decision.

The fast paced combat mixed with the ability to traverse with the grapple hook and the various classic “Halo” vehicles makes a sandbox structure work really well. I could see this being a lot of fun while playing with friends.

Unfortunately, cooperative play isn’t available until later in 2022.

The combat and weapons all feel better than ever.

It’s classic “Halo” with the best elements from the modern games. Navigating the battlefield feels a lot better due to the ability to slide and grapple around.

One of Chief’s new weapons, the grapple shot, is the best new addition to the game. Being able to swing from one point of an area to another like I’m Spider-Man is great.

On top of that, I can pull weapons towards me, swing into enemies and knock them out and even launch myself into a vehicle to steal it.

There’s also this new upgrade system added to the game. I pretty much used all my points towards the grapple shot. By the end of the game I found myself swinging into enemies just as much as I was shooting them. 

Master Chief’s grapple shot being being put to good use (Xbox Game Studios Screenshot)

“Halo: Infinite” is a great game.

The combat is great. The movement feels better than ever. And this may not be the most popular opinion, but this is my favorite campaign out of any of the “Halo” games.

Master Chief and his new crew all just resonated to me. Though with the lack of a co-op mode at launch and a pretty abrupt ending it does not feel like a complete game.

If you’re looking for a true conclusion to the “Reclaimer Saga” that started with “Halo 4”, this isn’t it. This actually feels more like another soft reboot for the franchise. 

With the game feeling a bit incomplete, I wouldn’t recommend paying the full MSRP just yet. Fortunately, the entire campaign is available to download on Game Pass.

I’m curious to see where 343 Industries takes Master Chief next.

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