In high school, I vividly remember both the day I got Halo 2 and the sheer amount of time on that particular game. Since then I haven’t returned the Microsoft or the world of Halo, but this generation they’ve made a compelling case for the Xbox Series of consoles. With Halo Infinite being one of the most anticipated releases this year, there are many reasons to be excited and the early multiplayer drop is absolutely one of them. With all eyes on Microsoft, is Halo Infinite worth the wait or does it suggest a bumpy ride?
Just getting into my first match was a good reminder of why Halo achieved so much and goes to show 343 Industries’ skill as a developer. Where this is most evident is level design. Levels are carefully crafted with countless advantages, disadvantages, and setups that favor one thing or another. There is no such thing as a perfect spot, with many of them having choke points, limited exit paths, or just too much space to control. Some larger maps benefit from places to hide, over vast landscapes of nothing or complicated set pieces. It’s a good place to visit, one that is only enhanced by objectives.
Typically shooters are hit and miss with objectives. Sometimes people want to do it, with other runs having people just play Team Deathmatch. Halo Infinite has a nice balance of forcing people to care, by either setting up the level in a way that encourages objective play or having the mode dictated by the choices of others. It was honestly a lot of fun playing with or against people who will make a mad dash for oddball or a crazy flag play over sitting in a corner with a ranged weapon seeing how many kills they can get.
It also helps that Halo rewards and pushes a more aggressive playstyle. With limited ammo, weapons are hidden throughout the map, and a quick melee attack coming in handy, it’s far more enjoyable than a lot of other experiences out there.
One thing that surprised me was how newcomer-friendly it was. Ignoring ranked, which remains a mixed experience, the quick play made it extremely easy to just jump into a stage, figure out the layout, key weapon spawns, master usage, and so forth. Some mechanics take some getting used to, with grenades and other things being extremely important, that can be mastered in a fun area. Sure, matches will vary in terms of difficulty, but overall it remained relatively fun.
Perhaps the biggest testament to Halo Infinite’s overall quality is the biggest issue right now is the Battle Pass. Right now progression is based on completing various missions at a variety of different experience points. Things are being changed, ideally for the better, with the big daily one being played any match for 50 experience. However, even reaching level two takes 1000, meaning you’re looking at 20 matches. It not only takes a while, but the content itself is also rather underwhelming.
Having seen a lot of takes on the concept, I think Halo Infinite might be the worst. For example, free players don’t get an award for every level and many of them are pretty underwhelming. Four of the six free rewards are consumables that swap challenges, with one being a background and another visor color. Even towards the end, there are various skull helmets and flaming armor, all behind the premium pass. It makes sense to have most of these things locked behind a paywall but all of them are just an unfortunate choice. Still, later passes can fix this or maybe we will see some changes later in the season. The important thing isn’t how cool you can look or possibly look at 2,000 rounds to finish the pass, it’s that Halo Infinite is simply fun. It encourages players to run around, play smart and plan three steps in advance. It will be exciting to see what the full game offers, along with later updates but for now, we’re optimistic about its future