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Halo Infinite Campaign - The Digital Foundry Tech Review

Before you play Halo Infinite, what is your favorite Halo campaign so far?

  • Halo: Combat Evolved

    Votes: 71 33.0%
  • Halo 2

    Votes: 26 12.1%
  • Halo 3

    Votes: 46 21.4%
  • Halo 3: ODST

    Votes: 17 7.9%
  • Halo Reach

    Votes: 45 20.9%
  • Halo 4

    Votes: 5 2.3%
  • Halo 5: Guardians

    Votes: 5 2.3%

  • Total voters
    215


From Digital Foundry:

Halo Infinite's campaign can finally be fully revealed and the news is good. 343's take on the open world is great, combat is the best it's been in years and audio is sublime. Problems in the tech department take off some of the sheen, but 343 tell us that key issues are already being fixed for a post-launch patch. And ultimately, even as it stands, the developers have delivered one of the best first-person shooters of the last decade.

Two modes are offered on Microsoft's top-end console. Quality mode at 60fps is the best way to play. It leans into dynamic resolution to maintain performance, much like Halo 5, but the game always looks crisp and doesn't seem to drop beneath 80 percent resolution scaling on both axes. Performance mode aims for 120fps with a max resolution of 1440p but minimums can drop beneath 1080p when things get heated. With the exception of occasional frame-drops, the quality mode is fine running at 60fps, but performance is far more variable in performance mode. Normally, the system's variable refresh rate support would handle any resulting stutter but in my experience, it doesn't work with Halo Infinite - something that needs addressing.

Curiously, Halo Infinite game leans heavily on variable rate shading or VRS - this technique, to put it in very simple terms, effectively varies the amount of GPU power spent on different parts of the screen based on complexity. The effectiveness of the VRS implementation varies based on a number of factors and in the case of Halo, it exhibits noticeable artefacts, especially when combined with temporal anti-aliasing. As a result, it can look a little fuzzy in motion. To offset this, I would suggest reducing the sharpness in the video menu to no more than 25 percent - I feel this helps produce a cleaner looking image while in motion. There are other interesting settings here as well including the option to disable speed lines while sprinting. Overall, image quality is acceptable in most situations.

Performance is mostly sound, then. However, perceptual performance in cutscenes and with in-game animations was an issue in the preview build and has not been corrected for the final game. Also bizarre is that while the game runs at 60fps or 120fps on Series X, facial animations seem to run at half-rate, creating a serious visual continuity. Let's be clear, the composition and detail in the cutscenes is excellent, but their choppiness in motion is seriously off-putting. Put simply, camera and character movement doesn't appear fluid, while facial animations look off. The renderer is updating as it should, but there's something seriously wrong in the update of the content itself. Thankfully, 343 has contacted us via Microsoft PR to tell us that this is being addressed in an upcoming, post-launch patch but it is surprising to see it at all, especially as reviewing Halo Infinite marketing materials from the controversial 2020 gameplay trailer and even earlier cutscene showcases reveals none of these issues.

 
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Desless1

Member
Man I look forward to the release. Just played through all HALO main games, and this will be icing on the cake after that glorious experience. For me at the vote, Reach was amazing, hard to choose between that one and Halo 3.

I liked Halo 5 campaign pretty well, for me it was not such a disaster as some people tells about. Personal opinions and all.
 
I agree about the character lighting as it just doesn't look right and the NPCs don't fit in the environment at all at times. Also disappointing that there are those odd cutscene issues.

Still the game looks a blast to play and I'm preloaded and ready to go.
 

Riky

My little VRR pleasure pearl goes vrrrooommm.
Really good in depth video, brilliant that they seem to have a line of communication with 343.

"
Halo Infinite is a brilliant game. Honestly, against the odds, I feel that 343 has delivered one of the best first-person shooters of the last decade."

Sums it up perfectly, still some things to work on like enabling VRR for the 120hz mode and lighting/shadow issues but I presume the eventual next gen Ray Tracing patch will take care of those.

343 nailed the atmosphere and gameplay loop like the original game and that's all that I wanted.

Superb.
 
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OmegaSupreme

advanced basic bitch
Really good in depth video, brilliant that they seem to have a line of communication with 343.

"
Halo Infinite is a brilliant game. Honestly, against the odds, I feel that 343 has delivered one of the best first-person shooters of the last decade."

Sums it up perfectly, still some things to work on like enabling VRR for the 120hz mode and lighting/shadow issues but I presume the eventual next gen Ray Tracing patch will take care of those.

343 nailed the atmosphere and gameplay loop like the original game and that's all that I wanted.

Superb.
You've played the campaign already? Impressive.
 

Mowcno

Member
Biggest problem - "I wonder if there are some memory management problems 343 need to address. Several time during my gameplay experience, Halo Infinite would freeze for a short while for seemingly no reason. It looks and feels like a crash, only the game comes back and works just fine several second later."

But other than some technical issues and not being the greatest looking game, it looks like Halo Infinite is a definite step-up over 343's previous tries and a great game.
 
That's kind of huge, calling it one of the best 1st person shooters in the last decade. I guess the detractors and skeptics will be eating thier 343 hate words.
Yeah, as far as gameplay is concerned it's sublime, what's hurting it is lack of content unfortunately and lacking certain features. Still a great achievement from 343 after some terrible choices on the management side. Thank god Joe Staten arrived when he did.
 

Dr.D00p

Member
One too many visual issues highlighted by the video that need fixing for me to jump in and start playing on launch day, I'd rather wait a month or two for patches, to hopefully resoleve at least some of them, TBH.

Plenty of other stuff to be playing in the mean time.
 

Dr.D00p

Member
Graphically.. its really not good looking.

Hope its fun.

Graphically speaking I'd agree its no more than...a solid 7/10.

..but that was always going to be the case given its extended development time and cross gen release.
 

Skifi28

Member
I can't unsee the hands wobbling. I noticed it before John mentioned it and thought it was my monitor dying. I wonder if it also happens on the PC version.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Graphically.. its really not good looking.

Hope its fun.
It's okay looking.

What I think some people miss is that when you just heap on tons and tons of visual details and complex textures, it looks super good, but often impedes gameplay. Part of why I think people think Halo Infinite "feels good" to play, and even nostalgic, is that it's easy to play and easy to see what is happening. I talked about similar phenomenon in Metroid Dread, where the graphics are not mind-blowing, but they look very good - and more importantly, everything looks clear and easy to see. It makes the gameplay feel inviting, and makes it more easy to improvise and try crazier moves.

This seems like a very underappreciated aspect of games lately. A lot of FPS games from what I've seen look like a visual clusterfuck. Halo isn't graphically mind-blowing, but it looks very clear when I jumped into the multiplayer. If a game is emphasizing gameplay first, I'm kind of appreciating this style more lately. It's a fine line though.
 
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Dr Bass

Gold Member
True but not every game costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Developers have done more with less. Crossgen is a killer.
I don't think it has anything to do with cross gen personally.

I don't see a lot of people talking about the pretty in depth Arstechnica review around here though. They had a very different take on the technical aspects of the game.
 

OmegaSupreme

advanced basic bitch
I don't think it has anything to do with cross gen personally.

I don't see a lot of people talking about the pretty in depth Arstechnica review around here though. They had a very different take on the technical aspects of the game.
I was literally just skimming over that. Yeesh. Not good. I'm not in a hurry to jump in.
 

Sakura

Member
I think the game would look so much better with improved lighting and shadows. All the shots of the open world with trees etc just casting no shadows...
 

Riky

My little VRR pleasure pearl goes vrrrooommm.
Mehh didn't look amazing so hope its fun.

VRR not working kind of kills 120 fps for me as those dips will be felt

Those 5 second mini lockups are super weird.

Its on Game Pass so will try it but hopes are down just a notch honestly.

Other reviews are saying VRR is working, find out soon enough.
 

Sosokrates

Founder of western console warring.
True but not every game costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Developers have done more with less. Crossgen is a killer.

Yeah they are not as good as R* and other devs at open world visuals. But it still looks good, especially at 60fps
 
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