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Infinite's visuals are AMAZING--with one exception

OP Vincentius rex

Before I nitpick, I just want to say upfront that Halo Infinite's visuals look outstanding, and the work that the team has put in over the last year deserves every bit of recognition. I was neither disappointed nor impressed with the graphical fidelity of the gameplay demo shown off a year ago, so I may have been the easiest to please come any improvement whatsoever. But the graphical improvements shown off in the recent multiplayer footage are vast and unprecedented, and have brought the game's visuals to the point of near perfection.

There's only one, tiny--though I'd argue meaningful--element keeping it from perfection as far as I'm concerned: The "popping" of the energy shield. The moment of a Spartan's personal shields being depleted to the point of ballooning and exploding into oblivion, leaving them vulnerable. Infinite seems to settle merely for having the shields turn solid momentarily before simply ceasing to exist, and I'm just not feeling it.

And before you say anything, yes, this is absolutely the nittiest of nitpicks, and I'm still going to bask in the game's superb visuals, regardless of whether this tiny visual effect is improved or not. But to me this is the last piece of the combat puzzle: The cue informing you that you've pierced your opponent's personal, energized fortress, and that victory is one well-placed headshot away.

Halo Reach did this the best, in my eyes: Beyond the unmistakable "CLANK" sound bit, the visual effect of the shield burst was immensely rewarding, and was readable from impressive lengths of distance. And Infinite's shield depletion effect, to its credit, largely succeeds in the latter. Having the shields turn a solid, bright yellow before disappearing effectively serves the function of providing tactical input, letting you know that your opponent is vulnerable, and that a few final bullets is all that it'll take to finish the job. It's an exhilarating moment, and the solid shields suddenly vanishing successfully functions to set that up.

But that's all the effect is: It's functional. It lacks the satisfaction in Reach of witnessing the energy layer literally breaking apart and away from the body it was protecting just a split second prior. The final pop of the energy shields was meticulously animated to be an integral visual cue, essential to nearly every encounter in the game. I would venture that breaking your enemy's shields in Reach became just as rewarding as landing a headshot. Perhaps more so. Suffice to say, however, that Infinite's shield pop lacks the visual...well, "pop," that Reach had. Which would be less of a distraction to me if the rest of Infinite's surrounding visuals weren't so BLAM!ing gorgeous.

Again, this is nothing more than a meddlesome nitpick. I can't stress that enough. Moreover, it should be known that the pop/break/dissolution effect is the only lingering grievance I have with Infinite's shields in general. The amount of work that went into improving the game's visuals is displayed perhaps nowhere more prominently than in the first-person* shield recharge effect--the difference between last year's distracting, opaque hexagons and the subtle energy layer of the present build is night and day. (*And I specify the first-person view because I thought the recharge effect shown in third-person during last year's demo--when Chief was manning the shade turret--as it was then, was spectacular and grossly underappreciated.) It's just that, with the majesty and beauty that are Infinite's refined visuals, the shield-break animation seems like an odd mark on which to merely settle for "functional."

As with anything shown off, the game is still a work in progress, and things are subject to change, even post-launch. And who knows: I'm certainly not beyond the possibility of warming up to the current, "solidifying before vanishing" visual mechanic. Maybe I'll feel differently once I get my hands on the game. But as it stands at the time of this writing, that shield pop--or lack thereof--is the single, tiny but meaningful thing holding back Halo Infinite from sheer visual perfection. If I squint my eyes, the current build may as well already be there.
Considering this is the biggest complaint I've seen go around I wouldn't even be surprised if they already toned it down before the flights in the build we will all play.
Considering this is the biggest complaint I've seen go around I wouldn't even be surprised if they already toned it down before the flights in the build we will all play.
I wouldn't be surprised, either. I don't spend a whole lot of time here on the forums, so it's reassuring to know the bare-bones simplicity of shield depletion cue is well documented. If 343 has proven anything as of late, it's that they're listening, and if this minor gripe is as ubiquitous as you say it is, I'm confident we'll see improvement in one form or another.
Considering this is the biggest complaint I've seen go around I wouldn't even be surprised if they already toned it down before the flights in the build we will all play.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is altered during flighting either. It isn't a difficult thing to change.
It's possible we will see this being toned down a few notches prior to flighting. It seems like a small thing and I'm sure that 343i would be open to suggestions on it. I really like the Reach effect also.
With all the posts about this, it's most definitely getting toned down. 100%.
It's not a not pick. It's annoying and obnoxious and needs toned down.