The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Halo Infinite: Solving the Sequence and Entering The Command Spire At The ¾ Mark

“I regret to inform you that this will be our last encounter.” –Adjutant Resolution

After clearing out Zeta Halo’s surface of the Banished, Master Chief and the Weapon travel to four smaller energy beacons in order for the Weapon to reconstruct access codes. By reconstructing data from these beacons, the Weapon is able to figure out the code needed to enter the Nexus, a facility that directs Zeta Halo’s spires. Master Chief fights through the Banished forces within and reaches the terminal, but before the Weapon can deactivate the spires, the Harbinger appears and attempts to stop the process by taking over the Weapon. The Master Chief attempts to delete the Weapon to prevent this from happening, but the Weapon manages to throw the Harbinger off, and angrily asks why Master Chief doesn’t trust her before reluctantly continuing with him into the command spire. Here, they learn that the Harbinger is interested in bringing about something called the Reformation at a place called the Silent Auditorium, but beyond this, no records remain. Despite clearing out the Banished, Adjutant Resolution reappears in a bid to stop Master Chief and the Weapon, but is defeated a second time. Upon reaching the controls, a pair of Banished Phantoms confront the pair, but they too are destroyed. Master Chief and the Weapon shut down the spires and prepare for extraction, only for blademaster Jega ‘Rdomnai to appear inside Esparza’s Pelican and capture him. Faced with no other option, Master Chief reluctantly decides to trust the Weapon, who opens up a portal to Esparza’s location. Here at Halo Infinite‘s three-quarters mark, I’ve now crossed the point of no return, upon which it is no longer be possible to return back into then open world until the campaign is finished. From here on out, it’s a straight shot to the campaign’s finish, and this means I should be on track to finishing Halo Infinite shortly.

Having taken the time to explore Zeta Halo, I enter Halo Infinite‘s final quarter with the Mjolnir armour fully upgraded, and I found all of the Mjolnir lockers, which give me cosmetics for the multiplayer component. While I don’t have all of the propaganda towers destroyed, I can find the time to clear those out once I’ve had the chance to beat the campaign. Seeing the transition from Halo Infinite‘s open world back into a more conventional linear level shows just how smooth the experience is, and Halo Infinite has delivered a game that brings to life the sort of elements that Bungie had once envisioned for Halo: Combat Evolved. Originally, Halo: Combat Evolved was built as a third-person survival shooter, about the crew of a human star ship who wage a guerrilla war of survival in a world with deformable terrain, dynamic weather patterns and wildlife. While the end result was an iconic first-person shooter that raised the bar for what was possible, reading old development notes really served to remind players of how much Halo: Combat Evolved had been cut down. In spite of this, Halo: Combat Evolved remained a revolutionary game, and here in Halo Infinite, it is clear that some of the elements from Halo: Combat Evolved‘s original concept did end up making it. However, rather than completely alter the way Halo feels, classic elements are smoothly integrated into the game, and the combination of both open world and linear elements come together to yield a title that innovates on a successful franchise while simultaneously, remain faithful to its roots: the time and effort that 343 Industries have spent on making this title is mirrored in the gameplay, which is smooth and responsive. With the technology that is available today, the end result is an immensely satisfying game that serves to both tell a story and allow players to create their own stories. With the open world component in the books, all that’s left now is squaring off against Jega ‘Rdomnai, Escharum and the Harbinger herself.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • My journey continues on with clearing out the remainder of Halo Infinite‘s high-value targets. Towards the later part of my journey, I ended up cheesing high value target missions with vehicles, making use of either the Scorpion Tank or Wasp to engage the Banished. Foes are surprisingly lethal even on normal difficulty, and against the tougher high value targets, one might sustain too much damage to their vehicles. However, they remain a viable way of softening targets up, and for weaker foes, it’s fun to simply wade right in.

  • Ultimately, the Wasp becomes the single game-changer in Halo Infinite‘s campaign: it is the most efficient way of travelling around Zeta Halo, and even the most far-flung area of interest can be reached with the Wasp. I did notice that there are several places in the campaign where the waypoint is not entirely correct, such as when the Spartan Core or Mjolnir locker is located underground, and on two instances, the locations for these wouldn’t even show up on the map, requiring some serious exploration to find. For the most part, however, taking to the skies with the Wasp and following waypoints will get one all of the Spartan Cores and Mjolnir lockers.

  • Here, I’m rocking the MA40 Longshot, an assault rifle variant that exchanges a smaller magazine for improved damage at range. Weapon variants are immensely fun, although since they are considered a different weapon, ammunition cannot be collected from standard weapons and can only be replenished through resupply crates. This mechanic balances the campaign out quite well, as some of the variants are straight upgrades from their more common counterparts, and allowing one to continuously top off improved weapons would make parts of the game a breeze.

  • Here, I come across the last of the Mjolnir lockers in a remote corner of Zeta Halo under a sunset. The multiplayer cosmetics are actually secondary to the game, but I decided to collect them, since they were along the way on my quest to acquire all the Spartan Cores. At the time of writing, all of my suit functions are fully upgraded: Master Chief can deal a massive shockwave upon meleeing an electrified foe, has shields capable of withstanding a sword lunge or plasma grenade stick, a threat sensor that displays enemy health on the HUD, a droppable wall that can electrify outgoing projectiles for extra damage, and a thruster that temporarily cloaks Master Chief.

  • The thruster is considered one of the most situational (i.e. least versatile) of the suit abilities, and for the most part, I kept to the Grapple Shot, although the Drop Wall did end up coming handy on more than one occasion. However, I did find that the thruster was most useful in situations with Hunters: one can use the thrusters to immediately side-step Hunters and cloak, buying precious time for knocking away their armour plates and shooting at the exposed weak points.

  • Three-quarters of the way into Halo Infinite, I find that the Grunts actually have the best lines of any foe in the game, and in particular, the propaganda Grunt has the best lines of any Grunt. This is the WiFi scene I had referred to in my previous post, and it turns out that the dialogue from propaganda towers will vary, so it is possible to hear some things again. Once I beat the campaign, I will likely go back through and clear out the propaganda towers, and when I go about this task, I am looking forwards to seeing for myself the lines that occur once I’ve dismantled the Banished more thoroughly.

  • Save exploration, there will be very little to do after Halo Infinite‘s campaign is beaten: at the time of writing, 343 Industries has not spoken about when replayable campaign missions will be implemented. While I understand the community disappointment and note that open world games like The Division have set the precedence for how mission replay could be implemented, I also am aware that 343 Industries’ modus operandi is not to release something until it is fully ready. I’m in no particular rush for replayable campaign missions or co-op just yet: for one, my best friend isn’t confident his desktop can handle Halo Infinite. While blasting the Banished in style and with a flair that would not be possible for a single player, neither of us are in any rush to do so just yet.

  • Previously with The Master Chief Collection, the both of us had a great time of smashing through the Covenant and Forerunners alike. Halo Infinite‘s open world would allow for some highly emergent and memorable moments. With this being said, I’m not too sure how well we’d be able to coordinate time for co-op – previously, my transition to working from home was the only reason we could co-op owing to general incompatibilities in our availability (I work nine-to-five hours on weekdays and have weekends to myself, and said friend has a stochastic schedule). In the near future, things will become more tricky, as I spend an increasing amount of time on other pursuits: the upcoming move and transition is, first and foremost, my main priority.

  • In fact, the move, coupled with uncertainties surrounding the global health crisis, is why this year, I’ve decided to stand down from volunteering at Otafest, the local anime convention. I’d actually been hoping to volunteer – besides it being a fantastic opportunity to see the scope of anime in the city, there’d also been a lovely young lady with a dazzling smile among the volunteers I’d been hoping to run into again. However, life is a game of prioritisation, and ensuring my move goes well is my main priority right now. – there will be time for matters of the heart once I’ve attended to everything else, and I will be much more confident in volunteering once the pandemic begins reaching an epidemiological stage.

  • As such, it is with a heavy heart to say that, at least for this year, I will not be volunteering at Otafest. On the flipside, I have accepted an invitation to judge a science fair virtually for a local private academy, and depending on how things unfold, I am open to volunteering at the city-wide science fair come April, as well. This is where things stand as the first month of 2022 draws to a close, and at least on my end, this year’s been off to a fair start so far, so I will return things back to Halo Infinite, where I encountered a pair of Hunters guarding the entrance to the Nexus.

  • Thus, before we return to the narrow corridors of Zeta Halo’s interior, I’ll leave readers with one final screenshot of the surface: I did end up clearing things out without too much difficulty at this point, and was treated to a stunning moment of sunlight glinting off the Nexus Spire’s metallic surface. Once Master Chief heads inside, it’s all dark hallways for a good while, and the sniper rifle I’ve brought with me will need to be replaced with a suitable close quarters weapon.

  • The Flood do not appear in Halo Infinite‘s campaign, and in the absence of combat forms, I find it quite unnecessary to carry a shotgun with me for the most part. The Bulldog lacks the same stopping power as its predecessor, but makes up for it with a much faster firing rate. I’ve never actually found much use for it, since in close quarters, using the grapple strike ability, I am able to hook onto a foe and follow up with a devastating melee attack that outright destroys weaker foes, and seriously weakens stronger ones. With the grapple shot fully upgraded, the shockwave will electrocute nearby foes and stun them.

  • On the surface of Zeta Halo, the Bulldog is only really effective against unshielded Brutes and Grunts, so where possible, I will prefer to use a precision weapon like the Commando or Battle Rifle and simply headshot foes instead. However, because Brutes have no qualms with the more primitive weapons, Bulldog ammunition is actually quite common, and when paired with the Pulse Carbine in closed-in levels, I’m actually left with a pretty viable setup where I can use the Pulse Carbine to deal with shielded and distant foes, then switch over to the Bulldog for instantly taking down a foe.

  • The cavernous interiors and bright lighting bring back memories of old LAN parties: while we’d spent almost all of our time on maps like Lockout and Midship, I did wonder if my friends enjoyed the campaign and story-driven aspects of Halo as much as they did the multiplayer piece. Halo 2 in particular is renowned for having some of the most balanced multiplayer, with a high skill ceiling, that made it infinitely replayable: even during university, whenever everyone got back together, Halo 2 was always the game we played the most during LAN parties.

  • Of the maps we played in Halo 2, Lockout and Midship wound up being timeless classics, and we ended up playing enough MLG Slayer and FFA Slayer on Lockout so that I memorised the map’s layout to the point where even now, I could draw out the map from memory. There’s only one other map from a video game I can do this for: the shipping container area of Battlefield 3 Noshahr Canals. It is not lost on me that nowadays, multiplayer games don’t have quite the same staying power as they used to, and this is why of late, I’ve stopped with multiplayer experiences.

  • While lacking human foes, campaigns are challenging in their own way, especially when games find ways of mixing things up by throwing different foes at players in different environments. Hunters and close-quarters engagements are always a bit of a challenge: there’s no room to manoeuvre, and being stuck beside some crates can become a death sentence. Outside, I capitalise on open spaces to get behind the Hunters, and I’ve found that using the thrusters in conjunction with the assault rifle actually works quite well. Inside, however, I ended up attempting to use the Skewer to blow the Hunters’ rear armour off before hitting them with the battle rifle after other approaches failed.

  • Lengthy gondola rides were a part of Halo 2, and Halo Infinite brings these elements back in full. More spatial awareness is required now than before: as tempting as it might be to use the grapple shot on a Sentinel, the fact that one is over a chasm means that if the Sentinel happens to be somewhere out over the platform, one would simply fall to their death after destroying said Sentinel. Instead, playing a little more conservatively with the Sentinel Beam and drop wall is more conducive towards survival. At this stage in Halo Infinite, Sentinels are capable of wielding both Sentinel Beams and Shock Rifles.

  • As such, players will always have access to a solid weapon against the Sentinels, and the Shock Rifle is a reasonable alternative for longer-range combat. I encountered some difficulty with the Shock Rifle’s mechanics during Halo Infinite‘s open flighting; while the weapon handles like a sniper rifle, every pull of the trigger fires off five-round bursts, all of which need to connect in order to maximise the weapon’s efficacy. The Shock Rifle also has one valuable property: it can stop vehicles cold in their tracks, giving one a chance to board or destroy them.

  • Because the Sentinel Beam can be found in such abundance, it would be a waste not to make full use of it: I previously used the Sentinel Beams primarily in campaign missions during Halo 2, but because my friends preferred MLG Slayer, they were totally absent from out matches during LAN parties. As such, I never made extensive use of the weapon, and found it surprisingly effective during Halo 2 Anniversary‘s multiplayer. As it turns out, the Sentinel Beam has always been effective, especially when wielded in the right situations.

  • One aspect about Halo Infinite‘s campaign that particularly stood out was Master Chief’s thoughts of Cortana even after she went rogue and took control of the Forerunner Guardians to subjugate the galaxy. Although I am fully aware that Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship was that of two professionals and friends, the way things are presented gave the lingering feeling of losing a first love, as well. This conclusion is likely unique to me because of my experiences, and so, it became meaningful to see how Master Chief responded after the events of Halo 4 to Cortana’s fate.

  • I do wish to expand on this part of Halo Infinite further once I’ve beaten the game, so for now, I return to my continued progress through the Spire: here, I prepare to board a gravity lift located in a room that brought back memories of Halo: Combat Evolved‘s Library mission. 343 Industries has learnt from the design choices that were considered a drawback about Halo: Combat Evolved‘s levels, and there’s enough variety in 343 Industries’ designs so interiors don’t ever feel too monotonous.

  • Having now reached the three-quarters mark of Halo Infinite, my thoughts do turn towards what happens next: typically, when I finish a game, one of two things happens. I am either inclined to set it aside and revisit it at a later date, or there’s an incentive to go back through and replay things anew so I can collect everything. Usually, the deciding factor is time. If I have a lot of time, I will go back and begin collecting things. I did this with Ace Combat 7, which allowed me to unlock the Strike Wyvern, and The Division 2, which let me amass a sizeable exotic collection despite my initial beliefs that such a collection would never come to fruition.

  • I’m always fond of seeing how far I can push the single player experience, even in a multiplayer game, so being able to end up with a decently fun build for speed-running missions was awesome, and looking back, this was one of the more fun aspects of The Division. Such an option is unavailable in Halo Infinite, but one way to incentivise players to revisit the campaign would be to create weekly or monthly challenges associated with completing different levels again. To this end, 343 Industries could do something similar to The Division 2‘s Invaded missions, where Black Tusk forces occupy previously cleared sites.

  • Halo Infinite could allow for Banished remnants to return to cleared sites, and completing associated challenge sets over a time period could unlock random cosmetics (to prevent their microtransaction system from failing outright, campaign cosmetics could simply be lower-rarity items). With the care that 343 Industries has directed towards their game, such a route is not off the table, and would greatly encourage replay of campaign missions. Of course, this would only be available to players who’ve actually completed the game at least once, and here, as I move further into the Nexus spire and its stunningly-rendered structures, I gaze upon a construct that fills the area with a warm glow reminiscent of sunlight.

  • Until such a time comes, when 343 Industries gets around to implementing and deploying the option of replaying campaign missions, I am going to spend a bit more time in Battlefield 2042: while the game has been widely regarded as a failure owing to performance issues, deviation from the tried-and-true class system, the absence of numerous essential features and poor map design, I’ve actually found the single-player options to be moderately entertaining, and at the time of writing, I’ve spent around 38 hours in-game, and have finally unlocked the AC-42, a burst-fire rifle.

  • Since I don’t play Battlefield 2042 for the PvP aspects, my aim in the game is simply to unlock all of the available weapons, vehicles and gadgets, as well as attachments, so that I have everything available to me in the sandbox environment that is Battlefield Portal. While I am aware of the game’s numerous shortcomings (performance in 128-players servers is so poor that on my 9-year-old desktop, it’s unplayable owing to lag and invisible characters), I picked the game up purely for the Portal experience. Here, I pass through what appears to be a manufacturing area separated by Forerunner force fields of some sort as I get closer to the top of the Nexus Spire.

  • Pushing through the Nexus Spire gives one an appreciation of just how vast Forerunner structures are. It is worth noting that since entering the spire, I’ve not actually left the structure or gone underground in any way. Halo has always excelled in conveying the scale of Forerunner constructs, from the vastness of an individual Halo ring in Halo: Combat Evolved, to exploring the interiors of gargantuan Forerunner towers in Halo 4. Beyond Banished-infested areas, there are moments where one can stop to admire the sights, as well. Of course, when things get too quiet, any veteran gamer will immediately spot the fact that something big is coming.

  • That “something big” turns out to be a rematch with Adjutant Resolution, who’s rocking an upgraded Sentinel mech. While his weapons are said to be more powerful in every way, in practise, Adjutant Resolution’s strategy actually remains unchanged, and this time around, I’ve got a fully upgraded drop wall along with a priori knowledge of how to beat him (aim for the arms, and then when he’s immobilised after an arm is destroyed, aim for his centre eye), this fight proved to be very cut-and-dried. I did enjoy the quips that Adjutant Resolution brings to the fight.

  • Having taken a look around, it turns out Kotaku’s article was about the second encounter with Adjutant Resolution, which makes the conclusion even more ludicrous: by this point in time, one is already supposed to have an idea of how Adjutant Resolution handles and therefore should have some strategy in mind. Although I’m getting up there in the years to have lightning-fast reflexes and unlimited time for gaming, even someone as time-strapped as myself can overcome Adjutant Resolution with a little bit of patience and strategy.

  • I’m no longer the Halo 2 Vista legend I was a decade earlier, where my skill with the battle rifle led the [SMG] Clan to create servers named after me, but I remain minimally competent in shooters such that I can have a good time. While Halo Infinite‘s biggest names, Jega ‘Rdomnai, Escharum and the Harbinger, still lie ahead, I am confident that I have what it takes. After surviving the assault from the Phantoms here and shutting the spires down, Jega ‘Rdomnai captures Esparza, prompting Master Chief to rescue him. This looks like it’s going to put Master Chief on a collision course with both Jega ‘Rdomnai and Escharum, so I’m excited to finally square off against these legendary foes after hearing about them all game.

Three quarters of the way into Halo Infinite, I have nothing but good experiences so far. In fact, even my aging desktop has managed to run the game in a satisfactory manner; I’ve encountered at most two crashes during my run up until this point, and even then, these crashes have only seen the game client crash to the desktop, rather than completely blue-screening my machine. Having now done most of the open-world activities to a satisfactory extent, my attention now turns fully towards the story: the main risk in a purely open-world game is that the story might be forgotten as one focuses purely on exploration, and Halo Infinite mitigates this by allowing players to complete objectives at their own pace, before locking them back into the story once a certain point in the story is reached. Having now begun the mission into the Nexus, I’ve learnt a great deal more about what ended up happening: after Cortana had overwhelmed the galaxy in the events of Halo 5 with the Forerunner Guardians, humanity and Covenant remnants scattered. Eventually, a group called the Banished formed, but in revenge, Cortana destroyed the Brutes’ home world. It is commendable that 343 Industries were able to write themselves out of the hole that Halo 5 had left, and through the combination of cutscenes, in-game dialogue and audio logs, much of the gaps have been filled. This leaves me clear to worry about Cortana’s fate, and what the Harbinger’s Endless are about in Halo Infinite‘s final quarter, which is looking very exciting from the build-up we’ve seen thus far: I am greatly looking forwards to proving my legend to the likes of Escharum, and here, I will note that it has been quite some time since I’ve respected a foe to this extent.

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