Credit – 343 Industries
Nostalgia is a curse. Its memory manipulation makes us hyperinflate the value or quality of past relationships, experiences, things we loved. When we see them again, the disappointment can be a shock. No, Speed Racer was not a good cartoon show. No, your grade school crush wasn’t that impressed at your spelling test scores. But yes, the first Halo game was, and still is, the greatest first-person shooter video game ever made. Its mysterious setting on an alien ring world, its stoic soldier facing off against the impossible, its riveting and exciting gameplay. It all adds up to an unforgettable experience that begins what becomes an iconic trilogy of titles.
The last game I played regularly with friends was Halo 4, back in 2012. We’d been playing Halo for years, in dimly lit school computer labs between classes, or via headsets once Halo 2 ushered in the era of the online multiplayer game in 2004. Its familiar haunting opening chant followed us through our lives like walk-on music for years. But when one of my longtime fireteam members and high school friend took his own life, the gang split apart. The game wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t want to “finish the fight.” And turning on my Xbox to see his name now permanently offline was too painful to stomach.
Now it’s been 6 years since a new Halo game was released (2015’s Halo 5: Guardians), and in that time, a new type of shooter game emerged: one that rids itself of the pesky storyline that made it about the characters instead of you and your friends, and makes games cheaper (or free) to play, supported by in-game purchases. Now, with Halo Infinite (out Dec. 9), the old classic shooter game returns, and tries to get hip with some new features.
Titles like Fortnite, Destiny, and Apex Legends, all with season passes and in-game purchases, have done astoundingly well for their respective developers. It gave Epic Games enough leverage (and money) to start a legal brawl with tech giant Apple. But Halo has grown along with us, and knows what’s in our hearts. Set over a year after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite puts you in the shoes of the iconic Master Chief—my old friend. Now, in the corner of my eye, playing with friends online, I see it. The Chief, a hero and adhesive for my band of shooter-playing brothers, trying to sell me things. I can’t say I’m not hurt by it.
In Halo Infinite the Chief, a Spartan super soldier named John-117, and his companions—a fellow stranded regular soldier and an artificially intelligent being in the likeness of his previous partner, Cortana—round out an unlikely trio attempting to stop the enemy from taking advantage of an ancient power and killing all humans. If the story sounds a little rough, that’s because it is. His AI buddy is expository to a fault, and functions as the game’s quick and …….