A lot of great points, but a lot of wrong ones as well:
CHAPTER 2: Presentation + Graphics, aka. WTF DID THEY DO FOR 6 YEARS?
I haven't played the campaign, I'm not interested in the universe at all, but speaking from a purely MP perspective - I fucking love the visuals, how crisp and clean everything is, the texture detail is second to none really, the overall aesthetics are great and pleasing to the eye, but what's most important - with all that in mind as oppose to the vast majority of the shooters out there the players don't blend in with the environment, you don't have to wonder if this thing right there is a bush? A trashcan? A desk? The actual enemy? Aaaand you're dead....The design philosophy dates back all the way where it all started with UT99/Q3A, the maps aren't bloated with gazillion objects which only make the whole map unreadeable and create camping spots every few steps. Until Infinite I didn't really realized how much I missed such simplicity and clarity in maps design, while like I said - the textures and the lightning make the maps look so much better and more advanced than in titles like Apex, Overwatch, Valorant, Fortnite etc., while runing at the same 4K60. Long story short - they nailed it, at least as far as MP goes.
Chapter 3: Gameplay, aka. it's not as good as people claim it to be
So, you will mostly hear the defenders of this game say "but the gameplay is amazing!" or similar statements, well... not really.
While it is true that Infinite feels more like Halo again than 4 and 5 did, it only does so in some ways and not others.
From someone who doesn't live inside Halo bubble, someone who has never played the series except H5 - it's the exact same game really, exact same overall design and mechanics, same everything, the only one, meaningful difference is that the default AR now has an effective range of 5-6m instead of just 2-3. Which already makes a dramatic difference, hence the game is actually somewhat fun as oppose to H5 which was basically a one gun game (the dull but OP pistol). The difference between 343's Halos is the same as within IW's CoDs and 3Arc's CoDs - there are small differences here and there, but the core design and mechanics of every CoD is the same, and same story with Halo - they backtrack here, try somethign new there, but overall it's the same game.
But the core gameplay, the base running and gunning, it is truly fun, it's indeed great, the movement is well paced, not too slow not too fast, jumping, sliding and climbing feels good, just moving around the map is great, and certainly the whole hip firing and zoom-in instead of forced ADS like CoD and all of its copycats have, but the problem is that the game is mentally stuck in its initial design/philosophy from early 2000, doing absolutely everything to prevent players from having fun from just runnign and gunning, actually punishing them, the whole "sprint killed my family and I'm here to tell the story" agenda going on being the very best example of what's wrong with the game, its die-hard fanbase and 343 themselves.
I spend most of my time in the past few days in Custom Games vs Spartan bots, where I simply just turn almost everythign off - most importantly no weapon/equipment/weapon pads, you're just left with the base AR+Pistol+2xFrag combo, it's as barebones experience as it only can be, and it's fucking fantastic, it's WAY better than what the actual game is, because the core gameplay is awesome, it's all the added bullshit on top of it which is the issue.
I've read some discussion on Reddit that most people who complain are "playing the game the wrong way", and after watching all the clips and comments people are posting there, it became clear to me that Halo is all about the sandbox experience, like pushing people out of the map with repulsor, grappling to people with energy sword, throwing explosive barrels at people, decimating them with vehicles etc. but.... that's exactly what you get in return - a few thousand players on PC and another few on consoles, because in current age barely anyone wants to play this kind of game where every single death feels so pointless, so meaningless, so... bullshit. The game is just frustrating at the end of the day, you just respawn, die, respawn, die, respawn, die, and almost none of it comes from an actually honest duel, and with such fierce competition where people actually do have fun, that's exactly where people will fly away, no wonder the game went from millions to thousands already.
Personally I have the exact same feeling like I have towards Fortnite and its building, I'm constantly asking myself the exact same question - if you're playing a shooter, and shooting is the very last thing you people want to do, then why even bother, go play something else FFS. But liek they say - don;t hate the player, hate the game, and I do blame the game for it. There's just so much BS going on where that core runnign and gunning which feels so good, is pushed in the far background, completely overshadowed, and adding content or changing the progression system won't change much in the great scheme of things, in the lon term. For me personally only 1-2 game on 20-30 are actually fun, where I meet the same kind of people who just want to run and kill eachother with their guns, then it's honestly one of the best online FPS I ever played, it really exceeds in such gameplay, but the whole rest of the games is easily one of the worst online experience, to a point I just start rage quit 10-15 games in a row and get banned. Like I often repeat - the potential is clearly there, the base gameplay is there, but the exacution isn't, because like many defenders say - "but that's Halo!" - yes it is, a 20yo outdated concept because the devs are listening to those few thousands left from the OG community instead of trying to appeal to new, much wider audience, because they still didn't realize this formula doesn't work nowadays.
Now something they thankfully took away, only to introduce it back into Infinite... BLOOM.
Bloom is when a weapon gets less and less accurate the more you spam it. This bloom is not controllable and is completely random.
Yup, that's the reason the default AR sucks dick, and why BR and Pistol dominate the game so much. Even without the desync, while playing custom games locally on your console vs bots and 0ms ping, the bullet spread on the AR during the second half of its ammo clip is so huge that the bullets barely fit within the crosshair, this is the no. 1 reason the gun is so ineffective at anything further than 5m (where people just spam melee that takes away like 80% of your while HP, which is complete nonsense given the high TTK the game aims for) and why it takes so damn long to kill with it, a good part of the bullets just don't hit your target, desync or not. Commando kicks like a wild horse while barely doing any more damage than the pistol, it's used to be such a great gun during beta but they nerfed it to the ground, IMO lesser recoil would make it more effective, and AR certainly needs bullet spread adjustments, because increasing dmg won't change anything when the bullets still don't go where you aim.
The only thing they finally should start copying from other shooters is the FUCKING AIMING ON A CONTROLLER!
343i is stuck in the past with this. they refuse to acknowledge the advancements many high-profile shooter developers made over the years when it comes to aiming on a controller. but to make that easier for me, I will just copy a post here that I made about this very topic in another thread, that should explain what is wrong with it in a somewhat complete fashion:
Fully agree, someone posted Halo's aiming curve here the other day, and it's simply broken. At first glance you might think that, damn, so many options will allow me to customize the controls precisely to my personal preferences, but after hours of tweaking turns out none of those settings really work, the aiming is too fast when you want to make small, precise adjustments, and at the same time way too slow when you do want to quickly change directions. You can only try to aim for some middle ground, but again, with such broken curve it doesn't work anyway.
Chapter 5: The Progression System, aka. this one is so bad I had to split it off of the Game Systems chapter because it can't just be a sidenote on there
What I like/love - it's linear. It's something I always wanted in online shooters, and unlike other games where you jump a couple of levels immediately after your very first match, but later on you need 50-100 games to jump just a single level, Halo get's that one aspect right, each level requites the same 1000xp. What's obviously wrong - you only gain 50xp per match, no matter if you go 20-2 or 2-20, win or lose, or even just stay afk. The weekly challenges are somewhat OK, as long as they provide meaningful rewards like last week, but having like 30 challenges but only being able to perform 4 at the time is a terrible design choice. But still - they're timed events, which I'm all against, the game is just filled with FOMO.
A great chunk of the whole progression/Battle Pass is filled with double xp/challenge swap, so that's another issue, and I personally don't understand why the shoulder pads have seperate left/right unlocks, if we scrap all of that turns out there are only like 50 meaningful unlocks within those 100 levels.
The unlockables are also done terribly, 343/MS decided to release the game as a F2P GaaS, but seems like they don't want to make any money at all on it, as all the paid unlockables are... not buyable. Again, it's all timed events, I still haven't seen Greyskull visor being available while S2 is already right around the corner... If it was a normal game everything within S1 would've been unlocked from the get go, available any time, you want it, you buy it, simple as it is. The color selection for the armors and visors is lucklaster, Mk. VII has 3 blue colors for example which are all basically the same, there are couple of reds, few greens, then there are those awful championship schemes, and then there are those very few interesting ones color variation, which are locked... Not being able to match the guns' colors with the armors is also a huge missed opportunity.
The way I'd change the progression system would be to ramp up the required XP all the way up to 100k at least, but make it so that every kill gives you a 100xp, headshot additional 50, double/tripple/overkill, all those medals would add xp, so the more and the better you play the more rewarded you are, the faster you progress. You, know, just like in most normal games out there. And obviously doing objectives would've been rewarded respectively like a 2/3/5k instant xp, so they would've been worth doing instead of focusing purely on kills. That's how most modern shooters work.
Halo Infinite has all the things you would expect from a modern shooter...
Now this couldn't be any more far from the truth, Halo is not like any other game out there, in the bad meaning, which you even concluded yourself:
FINAL CHAPTER: Conclusion, aka. this game is garbage and in order to save it they have to redo basically ALL OF IT
Now, where to start? And keep in mind it's indeed coming from someone who hasn't played Halo except a brief time with H5, from someone who just jumped in and actually expects what a normal person would've expect from every other, normal modern shooter.
The whole shield system - it broken. It's not what I expect from a modern shooter, what I'd expect that there's a constant, predictable DMG output from all the weapons, with you typical multipliers whenever you shoot the torso and head, so that you don't get random, single shot headshots (after you finally break up the shield, which does nothing but rewards noobs with bad aiming because shooting someone's feet), but you are nevertheless rewarded for aiming for the head instead of the limbs. Makes sense, is fair, but Halo is Halo, the shield has to be there right?
Radar - it's broken, doesn't give any map awarness whatsoever, so that every time you respawn you immediately know where to go, where the action is going on, from where you're being shoot at, but at the same time if you're close enough you're fully exposed to the enemy, even despite elevation differences, for example you want to flank the enemy by going through the underground tunnel on Live Fire? The enem just know your coming. Someone's camping with S7 Sniper/Skewer on Behemot? They know you're coming. And so on and so on, again, - the radar is not there when you need it, but it's works agains you when you haven't even done anything at all but just want to tactically approach the enemy. Supposedly they are addressing SOME of than in Season 2, but at the same time they're doing two-three steps backwards because running will now fully expose you on the map. That's not a "modern shooter" design.
Weapon balance - well there is none, everythign is broken, OP, which is especially evident in Fiesta mode, the base AR suck hard, while BR is just too univeral, all-around gun whether short/mid/long range, similar with the pistol, while Commando is underpowered, Energy Sword and Gravity Hammer are a joke, why something like that is even in a shooter, I thought we're long time past MW2's Commando? Same for Spanker and Cindershot, much skill there for sure. Vehicles - same deal, keep that BS in BTB mode, whoever thought it'll be fun to put vehicles into 4v4 Team Slayer should be fired, if I wanted to play vs vehicles I'd pick Battlefield, that's not why people wanted TDM mode so much. The list goes on and one, the only weapon I'd consider balanced is the shotgun, and I do mean I haven't seen such a well balanced shotty ever, usually it's either OP and one-shots everything, or is totally useless because before you can take the second shot you're already dead, but not in Halo and its TTK, you do have a chance/time to land those 3-4 shots to kill someone, if you land those shots that is.
The Playlists - that's a known issue, every mode should have a seperate playlist, not put everything together in the same bad, I'd like to play Domination, but not CTF where you can barely move with the flag let alone do wnythign else, and certainly not Oddball which is all about basically being AFK, and people wonder/complain that nobody picks it and people are focusing just on the kills... Team Tactical mode should also have seperate playlists for Pistol, Commando, BR, Mangler etc.
And if we're at it - why on earth every time a match ends the game kicks you out from matchmaking and I have to manually start searching the games again? Just keep me in until I decide to leave the lobby. Another "modern shooter" design that's too hard/complicated for Halo.
The cosmetics/progression system - as mentioned earlier already - fix the progressing system so that you'r eactual performance from each match counts, put some meaingful unlocks behind it instead of spaming double xp/challenge swaps, whereas the paind stuff from each season should be available since day one throughout entire season.
Network issues - no comment here, even PS360 games based on P2P protocol weren't halfway as bad as Infinite, desync is single-handedly killing the game before other issues even come into place, 343 needs to fix it in the very first place.
So yeah, the game is far from being a normal, modern shooter, if I'd have to describe Halo in a signel word it would be "random" - there's no consistency in any aspect of the game, everythign is turned upside down just for the sake of being different, unique, "this is Halo" they say, but every newcomer will find the game very odd at best, and leave after a time. Comparing to Halo 5 launch which had much, much larger content at launch, and added Forge after just 2 months on top of that, how much did that help the game? It didn't, it was dying equally fast, the content is not the issue, the maps and modes can't save a game where people get pissed off every single match, and the worst thing is it all can be changed (fixed?) by tweaking the game yourself in custom games, but 343 won't do it because those few dozens of die-hard Halo fans would eat them alive.
What should IMO change in the series is to focus in BTB, keep that sandbox, chaotic experience there for those oldtime fans and anyone who do finds this kind of gameplay fun, but for the competitive/arena aspect they should focus on recreating something like the initial H5 trailer:
Red vs Blue, small, tight maps, keep the spartans, they're badass and have huge potential for customization, extend that further to forearms, legs, boots customization and whatever else possible, get rid of the fucking shield and use just normal HP like every other game with limbs/torso/head multiplier. Rework the radar so that it only shows you whenever your'e shooting, but shows you no matter the distance when doing so, fair and simple. No vehicles. No alien weapons, just the human-made ones like BR, Commando, shotty, bring back the SMG, and so on, but that would obviously require the loadouts to come back (<---- die-hard Halo fans rage starts here), just add more of those kind of guns and we're set. Basically what I'd personally want to see the direction of Halo goin into is something like this:
This gameplay was obviously fake and the game was nowhere near anything like that for the most part, because of all the BS that makes Halo, Halo, but I' more than confident that a ton of people would love to play such twitch shooter that isn't COD where you die in split of a second and has forced ADS. Like I say - I can easily make that kind of game in custom games, but I can play agains bots only for so long. Now I know this kind of Halo game is only my wet dream, and no matter the effort 343 puts into the game won;t change it's core, outdated mechanics, so at this point I'm just waiting for the Acti-Blizz deal to go through so that XB/GP actually can have a good shooter.