Halo Infinite Campaign Review - What If Master Chief Was Daddy

The complex relationship between Halo protagonist Master Chief and his AI partner Cortana has always been one of the strongest driving forces for the franchise--it's a genuine bond, but one born out of manipulation, as Cortana (an AI based on the mind of the woman who kidnapped Chief as a child) is gifted to Chief as a perfect companion to ensure he maintains peak efficiency as a super-soldier. In this way, Cortana has always been the more dominant voice in the partnership. She tells Chief where to go and what to do, and Chief's single-mindedness coupled with the ability to solely rely on her means he never has to develop emotionally healthy bonds with normal human beings.

Halo Infinite is the first time we've seen that kind of relationship dynamic flipped. Paired with a new AI, simply named "the Weapon," Chief takes on a more fatherly figure in Infinite. Where Cortana was assertive, quick-witted, and mature, the Weapon is awkward, overly trusting, and silly. She sounds and acts like a child-like version of Cortana, pushing Chief into taking on a more domineering role that has far greater control over her. This opens some intriguing new opportunities for a Halo story--in a franchise that has long had an undercurrent theme of familial connection and motherhood, Infinite is the first in the series to focus its narrative around familial responsibility and fatherhood. The strength of that narrative, alongside the open world and new traversal mechanics, delivers a welcoming freshness to the two-decade-old series.

Other than Chief, Halo Infinite doesn't have much in the way of familiar faces. Very early into the campaign, you're confronted with the startling reveal that a lot of the folks you've come to know over Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, and Halo Wars 2 are dead or missing in action. Chief finds himself on a new Halo ring named Zeta Halo, which has been partially destroyed. The Banished, an independent army of multiple alien species that splintered off the Covenant, want the ring for some unknown purpose, and Chief vows to stop them. Without any of his usual allies to turn to, Chief ropes two unwitting companions into his fight--the aforementioned Weapon, who was supposed to delete herself following completion of her purpose, and the Pilot, a man desperately trying to just get home to United Nations Space Command (UNSC) space after being stranded all alone for months.

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