Halo Infinite co-op is fond, familiar fun – but can’t keep the campaign fresh

Three Halo Infinite Spartans in a battle
(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Master Chief and I faced a door that simply wouldn’t budge. Yet it was the only way forward. Having run through Halo Infinite’s campaign before, it didn’t take long for me to realise it was a glitch. 

My brother, in his heroic green guise, decided to take matters into his own hands. He stepped towards me as he pulled a grenade pin. A few seconds later, two Spartans hit the ground like ragdolls. 

To my surprise, it worked. The next cutscene began playing and all was well in the world of Zeta Halo once more. We respawned into the next segment of the game with our weapons intact. A minor bug was a small price to pay for the chance to take the battle to the Banished alongside a fellow Spartan.

Having played through every previous Halo title alongside my brother, Halo Infinite’s gleam was dimmed by the fact that I was alone. Sure, grappling across its world and tackling mean brutes solo had its own charm. But I missed the comfort of my usual role – guarding my brother’s back with a sniper rifle as he frolicked and decimated the front lines. Driving a vehicle with NPC Marines in the passenger seats? They’re terrible conversationalists. Forget about it.

Trouble doubled

Two Halo Infinite Spartans jump off a ledge at the same time

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Thankfully, several months on, 343 Industries has managed to implement co-op across Infinite’s expansive world, and will soon be returning that stable feature to Halo players. Becoming a backup sharpshooter again has transformed the campaign for me. While Halo Infinite’s initial segments are fairly closed, things got more interesting as the ring opened up to us. I cleared out the first base before my brother could enter it. 

Since Halo is known for its vehicular combat, it’s a shame that Infinite’s landscape doesn’t support all-terrain tires very well

Afterwards, he called in a Mongoose, a nimble vehicle that lets an extra Spartan sit at the back. I strapped in for the ride, assault rifle at the ready. Any flashback to the glorious co-op days of yore was quickly interrupted, however, when a pebble in our path flipped the ‘goose. Since Halo is known for its vehicular combat, it’s a shame that Infinite’s landscape doesn’t support all-terrain tires very well. The Banished’s levitating rides are a treat by comparison.

My brother and I heaved a shared groan as we switched to grappling hooks for the rest of the way. Yet our grins returned as enemy drop pods fell from the sky, packed with the Banished. The fortress proved to be an enjoyable challenge. An easier game meant that we could weave in and out of enemy squads without worrying about instant deaths. Halo’s gunplay remains as exciting as ever, coupled with inventive equipment that folds the environment into your bag of tricks. While I didn’t pull off the kind of stunts you’d see in a Mint Blitz video, grappling an explosive and hurling it towards enemies was invigorating – and thanks to co-op, I had a witness to any cool kills I pulled off.

Beta Halo

Two Halo Infinite Spartans in a Warthog

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Co-op, however, does not protect Halo Infinite from all its flaws. Grappling across a single biome gets tiring real quick, and this fatigue was even more apparent the second time around. The lack of iconic set pieces still frustrates; if the aged Xbox 360 could serve us fights against massive walking Scarab tanks and a last stand against impossible odds, it’s only fair to expect more from the latest crop of consoles and PCs.

Grappling across a single biome gets tiring real quick, and this fatigue was even more apparent the second time around

I’m happy to report that Zeta Halo looks just as stunning in co-op – albeit with a hit to performance. And while there were a couple of desync issues, we didn’t face anything game-breaking in the beta. The bugs that we did face were usually resolved by a grenade, which are even more fun to lob about with company. But Halo Infinite’s lack of significant moments – besides the boss battles, which flip the script with intelligent foes – dampens the appeal of multiple playthroughs.

I hope new campaign expansions are on the horizon. Another biome to explore, packed with additional enemy types, would sweeten the deal. At the moment, I can only see myself returning to co-op to find collectibles or face down the franchise’s notorious Skull modifiers. Getting to face new bosses and unravel other mysteries on Zeta Halo would serve as a far more powerful hook to yank in longtime Halo fans.

Antony Terence

Antony is a freelance contributor at TRG. His writing warps from shooters and strategy games to fiction (to-do lists). Antony's words have found a home across sites like IGN, Rock Paper Shotgun, and Kotaku AU. You'll spot him thriving at both chaotic LAN parties and silent libraries. Or on Twitter.