NEWS

Combat evolved, indeed: Halo Infinite multiplayer impressions

As Xbox turns 20, 343 Industries has given Halo fans the best birthday gift imaginable with the surprise launch of Halo Infinite multiplayer

By THE OMEN NEWSROOM TEAM | April 19, 2022

On November 15, Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary and as a thank you to the fans, Microsoft straight up shadow-dropped the multiplayer competent of Halo Infinite for free on Steam and the Windows Store. Developer 343 Industries may call this a “beta”, but this is the full multiplayer experience for Infinite and ships with all the maps and modes that will be available at launch as well.

Even though this is technically a beta, all your progress will carry over when Infinite launches in December. And more importantly, this feels like a polished experience. If you’ve been playing Halo for a while now, this one largely plays the same, with gameplay more reminiscent of Halo 5 than the older games. That’s because development of the Halo franchise post-Halo Reach passed on over to 343 Industries, while Bungie moved on to make Destiny.

With Infinite, you’ll have a solid amount of content to play through from the get-go. You have seven modes, including favourites like Slayer, Capture the Flag, Oddball and lots more, spread out over seven maps. Infinite offers players two diverse experiences to choose from – one being the more close-quarters small-scale 4vs4 battles, while the other is Big Team Battle that offers 24 players the chance to duke it out across big maps in two teams of 12. Running and gunning in Infinite feels smooth and responsive, but now players have an expanded arsenal thanks to the grapple hook. Using this piece of equipment (that you’ll find scattered around the map), you can scale buildings and reach tough spots in seconds. You can also use the hook during combat to pull and throw explosive barrels at enemies or reel in a rocket launcher just as you find yourself outnumbered in battle. It’s versatile and using it in clutch situations feels extremely rewarding.

Infinite’s arsenal will seem familiar to Halo fans, and if you’re a newcomer, please don’t be surprised at the lack of ADS options. This is after all an arena shooter, so you’ll be hip-firing most of the time. Given that we haven’t played Halo in a long time, the TTK (time to kill) in Infinite definitely takes some getting used to, since you first have to strip an enemy’s armour down and only then will they start taking real damage. If you see a plasma weapon, you should first use that to melt off shields and then switch to your pistol/AR to finish the enemy off.

There are some design choices in infinite we aren’t fans off though; like how melee hits don’t kill in one shot anymore, and how slowly the flag or object carrier moves. But nothing is as perplexing as the lack of progression in this game. In Infinite, the only way you earn rewards is through the Battlepass system and the way the current Battlepass is structured, you only get XP for fulfilling conditions like ‘killing 5 enemies with a pistol’. Winning matches or playing the objectives doesn’t reward you with anything, so a lot of players are camping in spots trying to get kills with a tough to kill weapon. And even then, challenges like these net you a paltry 100 XP. This will take normal players forever to unlock cosmetic items from the Battlepass.

Thankfully, these are not game-breaking issues and Infinite has launched in a very playable state. It’s designed to appeal to hardcore fans of the franchise as well as newcomers, and more importantly, it’s absolutely free so you have no excuse to not try it out.

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