Like a thousand tiny Needler pins are singing hallelujah over every inch of my body
Halo is back then. Long after what felt like the peak for Master Chief and his ground-breaking franchise that cheeky son-of-a-bitch has only gone a made a glorious return, saving Christmas and creating tears of joy from old gaming heads like the one sitting atop my trembling shoulders.
Well played son, well played.
This is no review. Nor is it a detailed look under the bonnet of the game to see what ticks inside. This is just a declaration of love for a franchise I thought had no part left to play in my life.
Welcome Back Halo, I Guess You’ve Been Missed
I cannot even lie to you, after Halo CE and Halo 2 blew my tiny mind and reassured me that Team Xbox was the path of the righteous, I lost a little interest in the franchise. I think I played Halo 3 and enjoyed it, and I know I was one of a minority who got a kick from ODST. But I never got involved with Halo 4 or 5, or that other one whose name is just out of Reach at present. I just let those starships sail over my head.
Yet now here I am. Feeling a new obsession clawing at me every time I fire up the majestic beauty that is Halo Infinite and loving every frantic second of it. Just devour me already!
It feels like a love letter to purist FPS gaming. It is so damned slick, so damned swift, and so goddamned sexy. It is a rocket-fuelled ride through online-gaming perfection. It is an injection of adrenaline to the vein. Like a thousand tiny Needler pins are singing hallelujah over every inch of my body. And I’m only just getting started. Only a measly Gold 2 rank as I write. A piss poor player who is delighted to leave a match with a 1:1 kill death ratio. And I mean delighted!
It seems no matter what frustrations this game might throw my way I will bat them away with the back of my hand and a beaming smile plastered across my lips. I lose a lot of matches and occasionally win a few thanks to others. Yeah, I feel their disdain through the screen and thank my stars the scoreboard doesn’t pop into view post-match.
But I don’t’ care. I can take it because behind the shitty personal performance I understand something deeper. Halo Infinite is about the purest undiluted fun knocked back with a massive hit of intoxicating nostalgia and modern-day trimmings. It feels like all the lessons learnt since CE dropped in 2001 have harvested the sweetest fruit. Why would I care about six kills and eighteen deaths? And you know what, four of those six were probably from random lobbed grenades. So there! It doesn’t matter because this game keeps me smiling like a florist on valentine’s day.
With the quality of what is lurking inside the multiplayer, I question whether I will find the time to slay the single-player campaign when it lands? But at least I can do so in the sweet knowledge that even if the team at 343 drop the oddball big time on the story, it won’t matter too much as the online bouts and big team battles are already worth their weight in pure gaming gold.
Perhaps the impact of the game has been elevated because I had no great expectations for it to stomp over. Man, I have had some expectations stomped by big ol’ gaming boots down the years. But this time I already thought I had found a spot on what felt like the gaming plateau, where I could no longer care too much and instead welcome the odd memorable guest and a lot of forgettable passers-by. But then master Chief came knocking, and by all the gods I am so glad I opened the door to him.
Right enough praise. It was embarrassing by paragraph three and I have some plasma grenades to get stuck to.