We’re going to have a lot to say about Halo Infinite‘s open-world design and the ways it emulates elements of the Far Cry series (and other Ubisoft open-world games), but it has to be said that 343’s decision to borrow the Outpost concept from the Far Cry franchise (and some other open-world titles) feels absolutely brilliant.
It sounds like Infinite‘s FOBs are packed with elite enemy forces that will not give up those locations without a fight. The decision to attack one should not be made lightly. You’re going to have to form a plan of attack to have any chance to survive, and whether or not you’re successful is going to depend on how good (and how well-equipped) you are.
There’s been a lot of talk about the various ways that Halo Infinite pays tribute to the original Halo, but many of the tributes we’ve heard about so far feel skin deep to a degree (such as certain visual callbacks). What I love about the FOB concept is that it carries on the spirit of the “Combat Evolved” element of the first Halo game that we sometimes overlook when we talk about that Xbox classic.
Part of the reason why the original Halo was so brilliant and revolutionary is that it used advanced enemy A.I. to force you to stop and think about how you were going to approach nearly every battle against the Covenant. That was especially true of the game’s “big battle” moments, which typically took place in more open spaces and allowed you a little more freedom in terms of whittling down any opposing forces. As the Halo franchise continued, it just gradually lost that sense of strategic accomplishment you got from the best Halo: CE battles. There were attempts to recreate those moments in later Halo games, but many of them (the ones made by 343 in particular) simply struggled to find ways to upgrade that 2001 concept for more modern eras.
With Infinite‘s FOB locations, it really feels like 343 is trying to revive the spirit of those battles without copying and pasting them. Yes, Outposts in the Far Cry series have suffered from diminishing returns over the years that sometimes make them feel like a chore, but that’s also because the Far Cry series has reached this point of gameplay complacency that makes everything you do in those games feel like an obligation rather than an accomplishment. The idea of having these danger zones on an open-world map that requires you to think strategically and execute a battle plan perfectly is still a great one, especially when it advances one of the fundamental concepts that once made the Halo series the revolutionary FPS franchise it very much is.
We’ll see if Infinite‘s FOB objectives live up to their potential, but after a few recent efforts that could best be described as familiar and listless, there is something exciting about 343 exploring ways to revive the spirit of Halo‘s best ideas without simply trying to copy Bungie’s playbook.
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