“Can you beat Halo Infinite on Legendary without firing a bullet?” That’s the question posed by Tom, a Halo speedrunner and YouTuber who, like many Halo speedrunners and YouTubers, is on an endless mission to push the first-person shooter to its limits. Turns out, the answer is very much “yes.”
Tom recently completed Halo Infinite on Legendary—the game’s highest difficulty setting—without firing a single bullet, and posted a highlight reel of the run on his YouTube channel, Simply & Slick. No other way to put this, it’s downright bonkers:
The run, which Tom says took four hours of real time to complete, had some ground rules:
First, obviously, he couldn’t shoot any firearms—not just those with bullets, but energy weapons, too. “My original intention was to actually take the pistol all the way to the end,” Tom told Kotaku via email, but that proved nigh impossible, given the difficulty factor of Infinite’s bosses.
Hence a rule about energy swords and gravity hammers being fair game. Hey, smashing a bird-faced alien with a ten-foot mallet isn’t technically firing a weapon!
Glitches are allowed, but only if they’re already known or existing exploits in the game. Mods and such don’t count.
He could also use everyone’s favorite non-weapon weapon: the energy coils (those explosive barrels that litter Halo Infinite’s expansive map).
The result is a flurry of grappleshots, explosions, and exploits. For instance, by grappling onto a fusion coil right as you pick it up, you can launch yourself vast distances. During the first mission, Tom used this trick to close the distance on a chasm in a collapsing frigate. During the second, he used the same one to instantly scale to the top of the atrium, skipping past floors of foes.
But the most mind-boggling moment comes at around 14:15 in the video, in which Tom commandeers a pelican—yes, the same aerial transport that pretty much only shows up as backdrop for Infinite’s cutscenes—and skips from the end of the “Tower” mission all the way to the start of the “House of Reckoning” one, circumventing, oh, half the game.
By parking a pelican outside of the giant laser, near the start of the “Sanctuary” mission, you can quit out of the game and reload your save file to become invincible until you hit a cutscene, thus allowing you to fly right to the final stretch without getting shot out of the sky. On the flip side, you miss a whole bunch of Spartan cores (basically, upgrade points). Tom wasn’t able to nab the thruster ability’s final upgrade, which turns you invisible for a few seconds. “I’ll regret that later,” Tom says in the video.
Bosses proved the toughest challenge. The battle against Chak ‘Lok, an elite who uses a sword and loves to go invisible, was impossible without a melee weapon. So Tom left the Tower, fully recognizing he’d have to punch his way through it again, to source an energy sword from a nearby miniboss. When he returned, Chak ‘Lok went down in seconds. During the fight against Escharum, he uses the grappleshot’s divekick move to “break” through the floor, thus circumventing one of the peskier battles of the game. But nothing proved more difficult than Harbinger, Halo Infinite’s jerk of a final boss.
It’s not that Harbinger, an emissary of an ancient civilization known as the Endless, is such a pain on her own. It’s that she’s accompanied by three progressively challenging waves of enemies, with the third fronted by a formidable brute: fast as hell, wielding an instant-kill gravity hammer, and practically invincible.
“Most of my deaths came at this point in the run,” Tom, who pegged his death count for the run at roughly 100, said. “I would estimate at least 50 of them were on the final wave alone.”
Ultimately, Tom was able to trick the brute into jumping onto and off of an elevated platform, punching it all the while, to which I can only say: lol.
Beyond breaking Halo Infinite in pursuit of this goal, Tom is currently hoping to nail down a speedrun (of the ordinary, guns-allowed variety) that cracks the podium. His current best time in Halo Infinite, completed on console, is 37 minutes and 46 seconds, shown to Kotaku via screenshot of the save file. If you follow Halo speedruns, you’ll note that it blows the current console record (an hour and four minutes of in-game time) out of the water, but Tom hasn’t submitted it to official record-keepers, since he didn’t capture the run.
Tom isn’t stopping there. Next up, he plans on knocking out another punch-only run on Legendary difficulty with all of the skulls—gameplay modifiers that do everything from increasing the frequency of enemy one-liners to doubling the velocity of explosions—turned on. (This specific feat is referred to as “legendary all skulls on,” or “LASO,” in the Halo community.) Also, during that run, he’s planning on completing every mission.
In deciding to Falcon Punch his way through Halo Infinite, Tom wanted to “try and see if I could increase the difficulty substantially to make it harder for myself.” When you hit the limits, the missions change, as Master Chief says. They always do.