Halo is Xbox’s flagship franchise, putting a lot of pressure on each new release. While we have already given our impressions of Halo Infinite’s campaign, but the series’ multiplayer mods have always been just as important. Thankfully, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is an absolute triumph.
Ever since developer 343 Industries inherited the series from its creators at Bungie the fanbase has been split on many of the changes made. The new enemy faction in the studio’s campaigns was divisive while Halo 4 and Halo 5’s multiplayer offerings new mechanical elements such as sprinting, loadouts, and dashes made many worry that the series was losing its identity.
Regardless, 343 Industries has managed to combine their innovations over the last two releases with what made fans fall in love with Halo originally to create an experience that feels unique while still being Halo.
Matches in Halo Infinite can be played in matches of either four or twelve-player teams across a number of maps. In typical Halo fashion, matches require players to control power weapon spawns alongside balancing of the holy trinity: gunfire, melee, and grenades. There is a rhythm to the pace of multiplayer that gives players a groove to sink into and just enjoy. Getting into the flow of a match feels euphoric when matches go well, and it recaptures the magic of the originals while improving it with modern polish.
However, the experience is much more than an older Halo title with a fresh coat of paint. There is a load of new weapons like the bulldog, skewer, and cindershot alongside new pieces of equipment. All of the new tools that players have at their disposal can take a decent amount of time to get the hang of, but all play a key role on the battlefield to consider.
Learning all of the new elements of the match is extremely enjoyable, and they combine to expand the possibilities and options that players have to pick from. Using a grapple shot to rush an enemy with a gravity sword or redirecting a grenade towards an enemy vehicle with a repulsor always feels satisfying. The new gear all feels right at home on the battlefield and enjoy impressively good balance to boot.
The balance of the weapons is matched in quality by the audio and visual design of the mode as well. Some modern online shooters have run into the issue of allowing players to always use a number of skins in that it can be difficult to quickly identify who is an enemy in the heat of a battle. Halo Infinite avoids this pitfall by outlining enemies and teammates with sleek blue and red that blends into the high-tech art style extremely well. These are accompanied by a HUD that delivers players the information that they need without feeling too cluttered or overbearing.
Audio also plays a large role in relaying information to players. While every gun has an impactful and distinct sound to let players hear what threats are near them, but the sound design also communicates information in a way that cuts through the atmospheric noises without being distracting. The chimes of a player’s shield recharging are more cartoonish than they have been previously in the series, but it is handled in a way that is natural and immediately recognizable, allowing players to react accordingly without even having to flick their eyes to the top of the screen.
Obviously, there is a lot to get excited about in regards to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, but there are some unfortunate drawbacks. The most glaring of these comes from its customization system. Halo Infinite’s battle pass challenges have been tweaked numerous times since the mode’s open beta began, but there are still issues with its core structure that would be very costly and difficult for the developers to change.
As players level up their battle pass they unlock a number of the expected customization items. However, the pieces of armor that can be unlocked are restricted to a particular armor core. This leads to players unlocking pieces that they won’t even consider using if they don’t like the core as well as sometimes even unlocking the same or extremely similar customization pieces for multiple cores. It makes the customization process feel very restrictive and exploitative.
The game’s monetization system has also seen some much-earned criticism. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is entirely free-to-play, which is a great move to help the franchise grow and help guarantee a long lifespan for the game. However, this means that the mode is funded through the now-popular seasonal battle passes as well as a microtransaction store.
The battle passes themselves seem as though they won’t be a problem. The first season available now is rather lackluster since most of the unlocks feel derivative and uninspired. However, the pass is only $10, will be available to buy forever, and can be worked on completing for as long as it takes. This is a great way to eliminate the manipulative FOMO that seems to be weaponized in various other games with a similar feature.
The microtransaction store, on the other hand, is less successful. The store rotates weekly with a few smaller items swapping out daily, but the prices can be staggeringly high for how unexciting the content on offer thus far has been. Paying $20 for an armor set that is just solid white and looks almost identical to the pieces in the battle pass is much too expensive.
Even with these negatives in mind, Halo Infinite is in an incredible place. The foundations of the mode are stellar and will keep fans coming back for more. Most of the issues that the mode currently has are ones that can be ironed out in the future and the developers have already done an amazing job at being reactive to community feedback. It’s great to see Halo coming back in a big way.
Halo Infinite is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Halo Infinite Multiplayer
Even with these negatives in mind, Halo Infinite is in an incredible place. The foundations of the mode are stellar and will keep fans coming back for more.