Everybody’s talking about how Halo Infinite is a semi-open world game, but not nearly as many people are talking about some of the changes to Infinite’s gameplay systems that come as a result of that shift. One major change? Master Chief has an upgrade skill tree now, powered by Spartan Cores!
The upgrades, accessed in the menu under a tab titled, er, upgrades, are all for pieces of equipment that the Chief gains access to throughout the course of his adventure in Halo Infinite. The gear in question are gadgets used by pressing the left bumper - starting out with your grappling hook, but expanding with further abilities with different utility as you complete main story missions.
Halo Infinite Spartan Core Locations
Every one of Halo Infinite’s gadgets unlocks during the course of the main story, so if you’re after a specific one, your best bet is to keep playing the campaign missions that advance the plot. By the time you hit around the halfway point of the campaign, you’ll have access to and be able to upgrade everything.
Once that’s the case, each skill can be upgraded four times. It’ll cost 9 Spartan Cores to fully upgrade each skill, but you can upgrade incrementally. Spartan Cores are found scattered across the Zeta Halo world, and are marked in the local area on your map with an icon. Taking over major points of interest, such as FOBs or Outposts, seems to reveal Spartan Core icons on the map.
There are plenty of Spartan Cores to find, and you will likely settle on your favourite equipment quickly. This means you probably won't have to actively hunt down Spartan Cores and can just upgrade with the ones you come across on the map.
Halo Infinite Mission Spartan Core Locations
You can also find Spartan Cores during main story missions. They're pretty easy to find if you use Master Chief's Ping ability when you enter a new area.
Underneath the mission name, you can see how many Spartan Cores appear during it. Again, you don't really need to sweat about hunting them all down since you will probably find enough to upgrade your favourite equipment naturally.
Halo Infinite Upgrades List & Best UpgradesGrappleshot
A key piece of your armory in this game, the Grappleshot, which is basically a grappling hook, serves multiple purposes. Initially, it’s primarily a tool for traversal - you can use it to hop large gaps, zip on high, or just to drag yourself out of trouble at great speed. The more you upgrade it, however, the more it becomes a viable combat tool in its own right, where it can be used to stun enemies, making for an effective crowd control technique.
The Grappleshot is a must-have accessory for traversing the map - it’ll let you clamber up otherwise impossible cliff faces and is also a great tool for stripping enemies of their vehicles with a hijacking. We recommend you pick up its upgrades early, and use this skill often.Grappleshot Upgrades
- 1 Spartan Core - Voltaic: Grappleshot stuns grappled enemies
- 2 Spartan Cores - Quickshot: Grappleshot Cooldown reduced by 40%
- 3 Spartan Cores - First Strike: Delivers a powerful shockwave blast when you hold melee while grappling. (To use this, grapple, then while en-route to your target, press and hold melee)
- 3 Spartan Cores - Reachfall: Increases the damage and radius of the shockwave blast. Enemies within the blast get stunned.
When you spell out what this upgrade tree does, it’s all pretty boring - it simply makes the Master Chief a little more survivable by boosting the power of your shields. The default skill, when unlocked during the story, increases your shield capacity to 115% of its base strength. Upgrades bolster it further.
How badly you want this will depend on how you play and also, bluntly, how confident you are in your combat skills - but generally speaking, we recommend this as a major skill to focus on.Shield Core Upgrades
- 1 Spartan Core - Fortress: Adds an extra 15% of shields.
- 2 Spartan Cores - Bastille: Adds a further 15% of shields.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Redoubt: Adds a further 15% of shields.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Citadel: Adds a final 15% of shield strength.
The next upgrade unlocked through the course of the story is the Threat Sensor. This is a small projectile you fire out of Master Chief’s left gauntlet that then ‘pings’ the surrounding area, revealing enemies to you. The area of the story mission immediately after you obtain this is practically designed for its use - full of tight corridors with enemies laying in wait that you can get the drop on with use of the Threat Sensor.
With that said, this was our least favorite of the upgrades and skills purely because it’s the most passive. IIt was the last of the skills we managed to max out - whatever that’s worth. However, it can be extremely useful for a couple of boss fights against enemies with invisibility powers…Threat Sensor Upgrades
- 1 Spartan Core - Seeker: Boosts the detection radius of the sensor by 50%.
- 2 Spartan Cores - Operative: Adds a second charge to the sensor, meaning you can use it twice in quick succession.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Clairvoyant: Reduces the cooldown of the sensor by 40%.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Omniscience: Adds uninterrupted enemy visibility to the Threat Sensor and reveals their health.
While it doesn’t have as much pure cool as the Bubble Shield, the Drop Wall has at least some of the same utility, deploying a one-sided shield that gives you cover from enemy fire. It won’t last forever, though, so you have to enjoy it while it briefly lasts.
This is a deeply situational power-up and skill, and so upgrading it will depend on how you play. If you’re a more measured Halo player, this will be more useful. If you’re the guns-blazing type, you’re probably less likely to stand still long enough to make good use of this - though it’s deceptively useful on harder difficulties where enemies hit faster and harder.Drop Wall Upgrades
- 1 Spartan Core - Swift Shelter: Reduce the cooldown by 20%.
- 2 Spartan Cores - Rampart: Increase the strength of the Drop Wall by 35%.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Blockade: Increase the strength of the Drop Wall by 70%, and increase its size.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Direct Current: Any projectiles fired through the one-way element of the shield from your side gets a shock damage buff, giving it a chance to stun or chain between enemies.
For us on VG247, who play Halo with all the mad charge-head-first vigor of somebody with a deathwish, the Thruster was the next most useful upgrade after the Grappleshot and the Shield Core. This is basically a jet module in Master Chief’s armor that, when activated, let you do quick dodge moves to evade attacks.
It’s great for players who like to get up-close and personal, and can be useful against some late-game encounters with enemies who love to wield the Gravity Hammer and drop it on your skull. The upgrades bolster the Thruster’s effectiveness, and there’s a killer final bonus.Thruster Upgrades
- 1 Spartan Core - Afterburner: Adds a second charge to the Thruster, so you can use it twice before needing to wait out a cooldown.
- 2 Spartan Cores - Thermal Control: Reduce the Thruster’s cooldown by 20%.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Impulse: Boosts the Thruster’s power, meaning it moves you ore quickly, and further.
- 3 Spartan Cores - Escape Velocity: When you thrust, you get a cloaking/invisibility effect for 4 seconds immediately after.
For more on how to make the most out of your time on the Zeta Halo world, here's where to find Skulls in Halo Infinite.