'Halo Infinite' Is a Fun Sandbox Stuck Inside a Very Old Video Game

I really started enjoying Halo Infinite after I unlocked the UNSC marine who carries a rocket launcher. At that point, I was able to summon in my Warthog, recruit my marine, and then head off across the open-world map to take out key infrastructure points that the Banished, some evil aliens, have setup on yet-another Halo ring-world. On the way there I could take out whatever high-value targets I found, and I could hopefully complete an event or two that might give me Valor points to increase the rewards available to me at my FOBs. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5dgg7k/halo-infinite-is-a-fun-sandbox-stuck-inside-a-very-old-video-game

Stuck inside an old video game? Heck yeah, sign me u-- oh, no. Not like that.

Cameron’s descriptions of the game’s metacommentary and “gravity on loan” really makes the narrative sound disappointing. Although I have pretty minimal attachment to the series beyond playing the first few games way back when.

I wrote about this in the Big Halo thread but I think the real novelty they’re going for here is widening the aperture on Halo’s “30 Seconds Of Fun.” I think the question for each individual person is going to be how much the 3SOF works for you individually before you decide to jump in.

Game Pass, though.

EDIT: Good God, Jeff Gerstmann’s review. You gotta read this: Halo Infinite Review - Giant Bomb

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Huh. There’s a lot to think about there. I see where he’s coming from. It’s a weird time for any writer who grew up with videogames from their infancy. I think the way folk write about games always benefits from introspection from people like Jeff.

I would greatly prefer written reviews stick around though. As Jeff indicates, even with an Game Pass subscription, my time is valuable. I would much rather take 5 or 10 minutes to read a well written review. Much more time efficient for me than a Giant Bomb style Quicklook or podcast. Those takes tend to be hotter anyway, and I like the cooling process of the review.

And, of course, many, many games do not make it onto these curated services, and I find myself willing to continue to spend money on those. I am typically uninterested in whatever the latest AAA release is on launch anyway.

The other stuff he talks about- the critical writing part- I feel is much better suited to the video form, and there are some great Youtube channels for exactly that. Shoutout to Tim Rogers’ magisterially rich and indulgent multi-hour reviews.

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“While I am alarmingly interested in being a clothes horse on the Spartan runway”

Jeff Gerstmann

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And the distinction he makes here is a thing I think about a lot when I’m looking for written stuff on a new video game. Waypoint in particular (but more and more other sites like Kotaku and Polygon) really traffic more in criticism than reviews as Jeff defines them. Both are important and I’m happy to read both, but sometimes if I know I’m getting into something already and I just have a question I want answered, it’s nice to read something where somebody’s going to say “the bow feels nice” and then I can wade into the deep cultural stuff later.

Jeff is the longest-running practitioner of that kind of games writing: if he says it’s weird now, it’s weird now. I guess the thing that really struck me about this piece is how much of it felt like a eulogy for that style of writing and for that part of his life. A lot of people got to know Jeff through that very particular kind of writing; to see him essentially say goodbye to it is affecting.

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I’ll be checking out Halo Infinite’s campaign. I don’t anticipate enjoying it all that much which seems like a perfect opportunity to outline my views on “free time”. The caveat being I work a consistent schedule and have convinced my superiors that they should keep giving me raises for me to work at my own pace… so feel free to ignore me.

I don’t value my free time much, not in the sense where I feel the need to make sure I’m spending it on “worthwhile” things… like it’s a commodity to exchange or barter with. I used to approach it that way and found it skewed my enjoyment of things I even liked. My free time is exclusively for frivolous things, frivolous things like a shooter campaign I may or may not enjoy. The point of my free time is to have it, not that it’s being used judiciously. Do I spend money on games I play once or twice before I bounce off? Usually. Does it upset me? Nope. Do I value my time with those experiences? Just happy I had the time to give it a chance.

With so many free-to-play games and Game Pass, there’s never been a better time to be less precious about the games you dedicate your free time to.

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Game Pass has broken me when it comes to playing games. I have been excited to play Deathloop but have held off because I know that game is coming to gamepass eventually and while I am sure I would get my monies worth it’s hard to justify that when I can wait maybe a year and it will show up in my feed.

Remnant: From the Ashes was a game on my “if this goes on a deep enough sale I’ll buy it” list but it came to Game Pass and I tried it and you know what not my game but I see the appeal of those kinds of games now. I’m downloading Warhammer 40K: Battlesector right now, not a big Warhammer fan but a shiny new strategy game with lasers is really appealing.

I have a sinking feeling that Game Pass is going to go the Netflix route. Starting out it’s incredibly popular and has a really diverse set of games and there’s a lot there for everyone. You can just sample anything you want as long as you have the bandwidth and hard drive space. Then some publisher like Ubisoft rolls out their own version. Followed soon by everyone else making their own. Prices get higher and the quality of content available goes down.

All this is to say I will try the new Halo because I have Game Pass and while I value my time it’s a well known enough series that I don’t mind giving it 2 hours to see if it’s something I will enjoy in the same way I will watch the first 3 or so episodes of a series on Netflix.

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Ubisoft already has one lol.

Yeah, what you’re outlining here is definitely a concern to me, but Microsoft has one benefit of not being Netflix. Netflix has to shop around for content (which is how you get things like Bright); Microsoft now has a stupendous stable of talent at their disposal who can make sure they have stuff for their service. That’s not to say there won’t be problems (I’m dreading the day that we hear that Microsoft has internal performance markers that games need to make and Arkane gets shuttered because they don’t make them), but even a Microsoft-only service would be pretty worthwhile, as long as the game quality holds.

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Still haven’t found a review that answers the most important question about Halo Infinite:
If I get in a warthog and drive in one direction, will I eventually end up back where I started?!?
Not buying into ‘open world Halo’ until I can do a complete lap of the damn ring!

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Jeff covers that in the GB review: “ Instead, the game lets you get a bit outside of your current area, then throws up a YOU ARE LEAVING THE BATTLEFIELD SOLDIER countdown that kills you when it expires. That was a pretty disappointing thing to discover.”

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Very happy I finally secured an Xbox for this. I appreciate Cam’s perspective on this, but I’m a Halo true-believer. This level of evolutionary progress is more than enough for me. People just want to play Halo that doesn’t feel like a relic. This honestly feels like the absolute minimum of AAA big game bloat 343 could get away with in the current market, especially considering what a mess of influences Halo 5 was. I’m stoked.

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I just did a quick tally of my Steam purchases for the year, and Gamepass PC is honestly already nearing the price where it’s no longer economical for my buying habits. If I set aside my out-of-character full-price purchases of Deathloop and System Shock remake (which, granted, is some real cheating) I’m basically even with a year’s sub to gamepass. Except many of the games I bought aren’t on game pass, so I may have ended up paying some of those dollars anyhow, and I think that’s always going to be the case for me.

It’s probably still the economical option, and makes particular sense if you’re someone that likes to dabble in many things as opposed to having a carefully curated wish list. But this is the first time I’ve done a (rough) cost comparison with a year’s worth of Steam purchases and I was expected to feel way more irresponsible for not using it than seems to be the reality of it.

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I’m in a similar situation, so I turned off auto-renew on Game Pass and only add time if it has expired and there’s a game I want to play that I don’t want to buy outright. That also ends up being cheaper because they regularly have special prices for Game Pass.

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If you do all the Bing Rewards stuff every day, keep your streaks going for the bonus, you can get 10ish months of Game Pass Ultimate for free. If you only use Game Pass PC with its lower points to redeem you can get more months than you can use out of it.

I’m a week into December with 2538 points and it costs 12000 for Game Pass Ultimate.

Aside from the dailies to get your streak bonuses, the key is to do your Bing searches to get the 270 points (using Edge for the extra 20 for it). The exploit I discovered is you can search the same thing every day. I open up Edge and click the “League of Legends characters” bing search I have bookmarked and click though the list of character portraits they generate at the top of bing until I’ve maxed out PC search and Edge bonus. Then I grab my Pixel 6 and tap the “DOTA2 characters” icon I made on my home screen and click through that list. Takes 30 seconds each to get 270 points.

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Wow, you’re on a whole different meta.

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I’m getting to the end of my Game Pass trial pricing this month, and think I’m just going to let it renew monthly going forward. Part of it is that I’m not saving that much by buying the three month cards at Costco, so why front Microsoft the money early? The other part of it is that I pay the same amount of money for the Netflix 4K package each month and don’t blink about that. Which, yes, puts me in a very privileged position that $18/month is something I don’t have to think about. But having a line item in my budget that lets me play an ungodly number and variety of games? Life’s too short to be worrying about pennies on the dollar.

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My job entails a ton of technology integrating/maintaining. Doing the same thing over and over again per device, I have to find the fewest clicks and types to iterate and that just carried over to this. I also do this with grinding in games, my sickness is at least practical.

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Lol I could never do this, and frankly had no idea there was a point system, but this is absolutely fascinating

Fair enough, this is just something I do really fast in the morning while my coffee brews.

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