I was fairly surprised that after the big Xbox reveal event that there was such a negativity pointed towards the Ascension demo for Halo Infinite. As while watching I was generally impressed with what was presented.
I’m sure others are certainly feeling similar, or perhaps entirely in the opposite on this one. I would however like to make the case for why this was a fine, or well generally great initial showcase of the game. The first thing I’d like to note is that this is a demo, and it looks very much like what have been shown behind closed doors at E3 2020 had that gone on.
With that, like many things at E3 this represents a work in progress. So many individuals complain about getting just CGI trailers at events nowadays, and the backlash today is a very clear example as to why.
This is still a number of months out with a massive development team working behind it to get this polished. The demo showcased what looked like actual gameplay. It wasn’t touched up to any extent, and very much was representative of plausible gameplay. A type of gameplay that will be polished and shined for the full release.
I’ll also note that it’s best to watch the full 4k 60fps version of the trailer as it looks significantly better than what was streamed out. What I’m generally trying to say is to give this game a chance, and some time. There will likely be another gameplay trailer closer to launch, and some early teases where you’ll get to see what the finished project is like from various outlets.
I’m not teasing anything if you’re wondering, I’d likely not be part of that. If that won’t be enough, I would wait a tad ahead of launch where you’ll likely see reviews and gameplay footage as part of the review process that will present final build quality.
With that, I was actually quite pleased they showed something real. You could tell this wasn’t finished due to some objects loading in and that’s such a delightfully rare sight to see during reveals these days. I mean, you don’t want to see that sort of thing. It’s just that it’s a good indication that this is a genuine representation of the experience.
So many demos and showcases are just straight up fake these days with that final release being totally different. Since that’s covered, it’s good to dive into the visual elements. The game is certainly carrying a visual aesthetic that’s unique, and a throwback to earlier titles. The newer look has been a place of complaints for both four and five with this going back to an older style. That means very clear cut enemies with vibrant colors.
They’re not trying to be gritty like Reach, it’s a futuristic sleek and clean style. Each of the individual Banished enemies look like their traditional versions from the Covenant. There are some bright colors, and it’s varied. I really don’t see why that’s a place to be disappointed as many have desired this older look and while I was fine with the style of the last games I do appreciate this distinction to have it come across as more of a traditional Halo title when it comes to visuals.
I do feel that the brutes could have a bit more hair to them, and that the whole end villain laughing thing was a tad off. Though in general, I liked what I saw within this demo. It was a very straight cut demo of an older time. You could tell it was basically on auto-pilot with the easy set difficulty, precise moments of action and battle scenarios. With those moments of conflict, they felt like classic battle situations within a larger environment so that was nice to see.
Going back to the scripted style, they do this to showcase particular things. They want you to see the grappling hook, the grunt being booted through the air and the enemies being blasted with new guns. The idea is to showcase the experience of playing it, and the quality polish you expect will come after. In general I’m just saying to maybe wait a bit before jumping the gun on what this game will be like.
They’ve made the right moves thus far in terms of the musical theme, teases and the armor for The Master Chief which is top notch. I mean, you could choose not to think of what this will be like and focus on things you don’t like. It’s just generally impressive and bold to showcase the game like this. To have what looks like a semi open world Halo game at 4k, with 60fps and still introduce feature on top of that. That’s all for now, you can read a preview of the Halo 3 PC effort below or check out the general franchise hub for further coverage.
Read our Halo 3 PC Preview
View our Halo Hub