Why Halo Infinite Is Our 2021 Game of the Year

Share

A varied, reliable arsenal is the core of any Halo experience. With Halo Infinite, 343 has, in some ways, turned back time to a more classic identity, at least for your Assault Rifles, needlers, and battle rifles. You know what you’re getting with the mainstays, and that’s a massive boon for the overall gameplay. To stay in lockstep with that approach, Infinite allows all weapons – guns, grenades, power weapons, and melee – to feel like valuable tools in combat.

The irreplaceable Assault Rifle is tuned for a near-perfect timing where emptying a magazine will slay a foe or at least get their shields low enough that a quick melee or a shot from the new, capable sidearm will finish the job. It’s a stellar baseline for the weaponry offered, and that old-school Halo feel permeates the other Spartan armaments. It allows new or experienced players to jump in, shoot around, and find the fun of Halo’s combat before exploring the flashier wares of the armory.

Infinite succeeds by imbuing utility into each of the various alien munitions. With nearly every tool at your disposal being a blast to wield, it’s hard to pick just two to stick with at a time. It’s not a bad problem to have and speaks to the breadth of loadout permutations you can choose to complete an objective or suit a preferred playstyle. Stopping a rampaging Banshee from terrorizing the battlefield by shooting it with an electric weapon like the disruptor or Shock Rifle to disable it midair won’t get old anytime soon. Nor will leaning on old standbys like rolling up on a squad of Banished Elites and firing the Pulse Carbine or a charged Plasma Pistol to dispatch their pesky shields quickly. Though, few strategies beat just rushing into a skirmish, slinging grenades, praying for them to stick to something, and swinging wildly with a gravity hammer. You may not make it out alive, but it’s a damn fun way to rack up some kills. 

Each strategy feels distinctly like Halo, providing a sandbox-like shooting gallery to explore and experiment in. While this philosophy isn’t new to the series, it feels like a breath of fresh air and stands out against other first-person shooters this year.