By adding some fun new tools and reconfiguring how the story setting is structured, this offering not only revitalizes the long-running sci-fi shooter series but also makes for one of the year's best games. In Halo Infinite's story mode, the Master Chief finds himself on another Halo ring, one infested with aliens hoping to use it to wipe humans out of existence. That's why he's spending his time killing aliens, clearing out enemy bases, and generally undermining the alien occupation. But while you have your usual complement of futuristic guns (and some cool new ones), you also get new and helpful tools such as the Grappleshot, a grappling hook that helps you get to higher ground, and the Threat Sensor, which highlights enemies who would otherwise be invisible. It also takes place in an open world not unlike those in the Far Cry games, but with more hills and tall structures, which, combined with the new tools, make for the most unique and effortlessly fun campaign this series has had since Halo 3.
And that's only half the game. There's also the online competitive multiplayer modes, which, for the first time, are available separately and for free. While they largely feel like what this series has always offered -- fast action coupled with usable vehicles, massive maps, and a shield that saves you the frustration of getting killed right away -- they're made even better with the aforementioned new toys from the story mode. Of these, the Grappleshot is the most helpful, since the new arenas are rather large and multilayered. The game even brings back Stockpile, a fun mode from 2010's Halo: Reach, in which two teams of 12 compete to find and collect power seeds. Individually, both parts of Halo Infinite are standouts, but together they make this one of the series' finest installments and one of 2021's best games.