Halo Infinite Coming Together
Halo Infinite has just had its second technical preview, only this time with more multiplayer focus and PvP matches. The preview has certainly left an impression on both veteran and new prospective fans, only helping further the momentum of the game’s anticipation ahead of its launch this holiday season. We take a deeper look at everything we have seen from Halo Infinite so far, and layout the positives as well as some of the concerns.
This Halo Infinite Multiplayer Preview finally gave us an idea about the game’s PvP combat via the Social Arena game mode, a closer look at Bots Slayer after they had been fixed and tweaked, more weapons at the Weapon Drills, and a Training Mode that should serve well both new players learning the mechanics for the first time and try-hards bettering their skills or warming up ahead of competitive play.
Halo Infinite seems to have figured out a way to bridge the gap between the veteran Halo players since the original Bungie trilogy and the newer players who have joined the Halo journey just as 343 started developing Halo games with Halo 4 and then followed by Halo 5. It seemingly had finally put an end to that exhausting debate of whether sprint belongs in Halo, at least it is no longer the main point of discussion.
Sprint has been toned down and is now only 13% faster than walking, while this isn’t exactly what the Bungie purists wanted but is still a good balance that slows down the game drastically compared to Halo 5 while still maintaining the game’s relevancy in a modern gaming world. With the absence of boost, spartan charge, and ground pound, the gameplay overall is more toned down and movement predictability is much more achievable and players can no longer simply escape punishment when they are on the brink of losing a gunfight.
Pick-ups have been a game-changing approach that has absolutely succeeded in making Halo Infinite feel fresh and exciting. Nothing feels better than using the Grapple Hook to escape an inevitable death especially when it has been earned by purposefully picked up by the player in advance. Players have also been using the grapple hook to make absolutely memorable and promising plays such as stealing power weapons or running the flag in CTF or even just gliding around the map like spider-man. The Repulsor on the other hand has been the surprise guest that stole the show, players have been using it to simply push unsuspected enemies and even vehicles off the map and pushing away enemies when they need the extra time to regain shields.
Gameplay mechanics overall are now more grounded which makes it more attractive to old-school players, all while keeping things fresh in the 20-year-old franchise by keeping sprint but toning it down and bringing in pick-ups which makes any over-the-top gameplay moments feel earned and not overly abused.
The starting loadout is very simple and direct, an Assault Rifle that is not overly powered but still represents a great entry point for new players, and a toned-down magnum known as the Sidekick that is not meant to be a substitute for power weapons but will still offer great and reliable assistance in moments of need. This combination is perfect as it will be adequate for players to stick with them if they choose to do so, but will absolutely still incentivize players to hunt down power weapons for a greater advantage.
Overall the older weapons have been tweaked a little but are still familiar and reliable. The EMP takes a bit longer to charge but the noob combo is still very strong against both players and vehicles, the Needler is now a bit overpowered which finally makes it worth picking up and fighting for, and the Sniper is as trustworthy as ever with one headshot to kill or two body shots.
The jury is still out on the new Halo Infinite power weapons. Not everyone has had the chance to try them all out yet in multiplayer matches, and the Weapon Drills still don’t have all the new weapons available yet. From what we have seen so far we can assert that the new Skewer is very hard to use but very worth it for a one-shot kill against Spartans and is very useful against vehicles. The Heatwave needs players to strategize their shot, isn’t overly OP, and its time to kill is fairly decent. The Shock Rifle looks strong and punishing, however, the bullet velocity is fairly slow and overall I would prefer a trusty sniper in any fight. The Ravager is a treat, weaker than a Rocket Launcher but offers higher speed and a reliable kill after three hits or less. The Commando so far has mixed reviews, it is fairly strong and fast, but again, bloom weapons seem to never be the most fun to use and not the most reliable.
The older power weapons overall feel ready to go, even if some players have concerns regarding the sidekick, there is nothing major that needs fixing in any way. The new power weapons on the other hand may need to be tweaked and adjusted to make sure they are appropriately competitive in the field.
Maps and Gamemodes
We have only seen four maps so far and with limited game modes, but the overall feedback from the community is overwhelmingly welcoming.
Live Fire is the most familiar map for all, it is a simple and straightforward 2D map that is very reliable for both Slayer and Strongholds game modes. The power weapons on the map are very balanced with either the Heatwave or the Bulldog Shotgun being the strongest and placed mid-map within range of both teams equally, a Skewer which is usually placed right above the Heatwave, either Overshield or camo placed in an open area where players can easily pick them up at the risk of being exposed to the enemy team. The map isn’t the most flashy but has so far been the most reliable and with the least complaints.
Recharge is all about verticality. The map is designed for players to make use of its various ledges and the ceiling in order to make the most of the Grapple Hook to fly around as well as the Hammer which is placed equally out of reach for both teams. For long-range fights, players will have either the BR or The Commando, and plenty of EMPs for short-range fights or assisting teammates from afar.
Bazaar on the other hand has been very divisive and overall concerning. The map is very aesthetically pleasing and more importantly “feels like Halo”, it has even won the favorite map poll posted by 343’s Brian Jarrard. The map however has raised some intense criticism from competitive Halo players who are complaining about the map’s nature. The straight lines, lack of routes, and numerous windows have led to countless unfavorable long-range fights from across the map with only sidekicks or worse… EMPs. What is even worse is the weird spawn points that have left players either spawning mid-map with all eyes on them and instantly causing them to die again or the spawn flips which lets enemies respawn behind players and ruining the experience for them.
Finally, Behemoth, the new darling of the Halo community as it seems to be undisputedly the most beloved Halo map since Halo 3. It is very aesthetically pleasing and the perfect representation of forerunner architecture with a highly detailed trench. Besides being very pleasing to the eye, the map’s symmetry seems to be its strongest suit, and the addition of vehicles is very refreshing and adds to the competitive side of it. 343 has also added plenty of counters to those vehicles, players could use the Repulsor to push them off the map, or the Skewer to absolutely obliterate them.
Besides the hilarious bugs and glitches, Halo Infinite has so far proved itself to be the game that should finally bring back the Halo franchise as a leading FPS game. The game is by no means perfect, but 343 has done an amazing job of pleasing both veteran and new fans alike. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and it has been well earned and overall promising of what might the launch of Halo Infinite bring.
Maps were one of Halo 5’s biggest flaws, Halo Infinite is well on track to avoid repeating past mistakes. Mechanics and movement have also been greatly balanced out, making the competitive side of Halo Infinite seem to be more or less a guaranteed win. Weapons and pick-ups breaking the game and ruining the experience was the biggest worry for Halo Infinite, but even with valid criticisms, they are so far a great addition and seem to be adding to the thrill of the experience and not hindering it.
What Comes Next?
Ahead of Halo Infinite’s launch that is now less than 3 months away, we desperately need another look at the campaign. The E3 2021 campaign trailer was great, but it was only a cutscene that hasn’t yet answered the fans’ concerns and the heavy criticism the campaign has received after the E3 2020 gameplay trailer that has eventually led to the game’s delay of over a year.
We also are very excited to have a closer look at Halo Infinite’s highly anticipated Big Team Battle mode that should finally be available for all fans to try out this weekend starting October 1st with the brand new Fractured map. More weapons to try out in the Weapon Drills are also on the wishlist as well as more Battle Pass options, but we’ll keep our expectations to the minimum.
Halo Infinite is releasing with a paid campaign and a free-to-play multiplayer on December 8, 2021, for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox Game Pass.