I sat and waited with some impatience for Xbox to release this game and more so when it is free for me to play. But I have a… history with Halo.
My now-late son-in-law, when the first Halo game came out, implored me to play this game so much that I relented; he lent me his copy of Halo (that’s back when that could be done) and I loaded and started the game and without a single clue how to play it. Well, um, the first time I ran into the bad guys, I never got past them because they kept killing me over and over; not only did I not know how to play the game, it was one of the first first-person games and I had a hell of a time trying to figure out how to move my character and as if, you know, the character was me which, in a way, it was.
My first exposure to the Halo gaming franchise was a disaster. I vowed to never play a first-person game again… and wound up breaking that vow but even when I finally got the hang of playing a first-person game, I still wouldn’t go anywhere near Halo until, many years after that first horrible experience, my son-in-law convinced me – again – to play the game. So I did… and felt kinda stupid because Halo is, indeed, a great game to play… now that I knew how to do the first-person thing.
I’ve played almost all of the Halo games and being the Master Chief has been “annoyingly good fun” because there are aspects of the game that just makes me insane and, specifically, not having dedicated weaponry to play with and having to rely on picking up weapons wherever and whenever I could and, oh, yeah, still getting the shit killed out of me.
And my experiences so far with Halo Infinite aren’t any different. Now, I do know how to run around and kill things and blow them up – and thanks to the Borderlands game I once refused to play. I expect to get killed and this game hasn’t disappointed in this; I’ve run into situations in the game where I’ve gotten killed so much that I don’t even react to it unless I did something stupid which, um, I tend to do playing any Halo game. The storyline picks up where the last game left off and that’s a good thing because I don’t have to figure out why I’m doing what I’m gonna have to do – and this is important.
Started the game and got the campaign part loaded, which had me scratching my head and wondering why it was loaded when Microsoft/Xbox finally made the game available to those of us who have GamePass but, okay, I loaded it and got to playing. A moment to refamiliarize myself with the controller functions – moving, looking around, aiming and shooting – and let’s get into it. I have a lot of missions to do and as I started doing them, I was quickly reminded why Halo and I don’t get along with each other all that much. Don’t get me wrong – I think the game is a very good one but, damn… it’s still Halo and I think I might be suffering from some “PTSD” due to my first failed attempt to play the game.
I’ve had a lot of moments where I’ve gotten so frustrated over some situations that I’ve just put the game on pause, set the controller down, and then spend a few moments talking to myself about how fucked up the situation is and saying shit like, “How am I supposed to get in there (or up there in some cases)?” I’ve figured it out but not before getting the shit killed out of me and most of the time by something I didn’t see or expect. Like, there’s this one spot I ran into after completing a mission that had not one but two bad guys I blundered into… and I didn’t know they were there or that I’d be made to deal with them before getting back to my ship and moving on.
Well, folks, I spent maybe an hour and a half of getting demolished by the bad guys and specifically the “chopper” machine they were riding and just running me over with and, again, I never saw them coming because there were “the usual” bad guys I had to get rid of. Man, was I pissed! I finally figured out that I could hijack their ride and like I could do with other enemy ride and now it was about using their own weapon against them… and it was easier said than done because another thing I “hate” about Halo is how squirrely the vehicle are; going in a straight line is a bitch and driving the “chopper” was even worse; I’m trying to get to the bad guy and he wound up killing me because I had a bitch of a time getting the machine to go in the direction I wanted to go in.
By the time I figured it out and killed both guys – by running them over and using the chopper blades that defines the machine, I was emotionally worn out and my hands were tired and sore from having to work the joysticks in ways I’m not used to – and I’ve driven or flown a lot of machines in the many games I’ve played. Shit. Fucking Halo. The one good thing is that once I kill bad guys, they don’t respawn; it’s a blessing because I’ve spent a lot of time being killed before wiping them out… and just standing there to take a much-needed break and to figure out where the hell I’m supposed to go… and how I’m going to get there.
Like the one time I was on one side of a ravine and my objective was on the other side… and it wasn’t obvious how I was supposed to get over there. I thought I could use my grappler – a familiar Master Chief tool – to get across but, yeah, good old MC still can’t jump worth a damn and my attempt to grapple over resulted in me dying. I wound up going around Robin Hood’s barn to get to the other side and not without getting killed a few times… then proceeded to get killed even more before I finished the mission. I think I “hate” Halo because it makes me feel like I never learned how to play it… or any other similar game.
But I will not be defeated by this game. I am, if nothing else, persistent because I know the game can be beaten but, damn. And this is playing it on the easy setting because I know better to play it right away in the harder settings and I am not going to play it with a bunch of other people because I know I won’t be able to “trust” them since everyone plays Halo differently. I don’t have the patience for this and I don’t particularly like how a lot of games want to “force” players to form teams in order to play; it’s not that I don’t play well with others but they’ve proven not to play well with me.
Fuck them. Here’s another reason why I’m playing a game that has, historically, given me fits: My son-in-law, the guy I’ve played so many games with, is no longer with us and I feel very sad to be playing a game I know he would have been very hyped to play… and hyped to get me to play it with him. So far and giving my progress so far, he would have loved this new Halo game. I could, at times, “hear” him saying, “Dad, watch your back!” or, “Dad – you go left and I’ll take care of the right side!” or even having something to say about how the game is playing or how amazing the graphics are… or being grouchy when I start busting his ass for doing something “dumb” and dying because he just charged right on in there which, yeah, he loved doing in such games.
Or giving me a raft of shit about getting my ass killed a lot. Or agreeing with me about how “impossible” the task before us appears to be but he would have figured it out way before I would have. In a way, I’m playing this game in his memory more than anything else. He got in my case big time about failing to get past the first part of the first Halo game and, yeah, I don’t want to “hear” him busting my ass over not playing and finishing this new game… because I know he would and that made playing games with him a fun thing to do.
If you have an Xbox and GamePass, go play Halo Infinite and have fun with the challenges it presents and, um, don’t get killed a lot.