As someone who has been playing Halo online since Halo 2 in 2004, it’s no surprise that I wanted to try the new Halo Infinite Multiplayer that was released on Steam, Windows Microsoft Store, and Xbox.
To start, the plus sides: The gameplay is very solid. Although the movement for me felt somewhat different, it’s not too hard to adjust. Controls changed and have different setups, like how melee is no longer B button on the controller, it’s now right analog stick. Crouching is now the B button instead of the left analog stick. However, you can change the settings to suit your tastes both on keyboard and mouse or on whatever controller you use, depending on how you choose to play the game. That said, it’s not too jarring to adjust to the default controls.
You can expect also the matches to be very fast-paced, and very quick to change in what you must do to keep up. Especially when enemy teams sprint towards you with power weapons and equipment items.
Equipment and How it Works
One thing that I like in the equipment options is stealth camo and over shield, which used to be touch-once-and-use items, but now are single-use equipment items you can carry and use when ready!
If you wish to wait to use something like stealth camo until you need it, you can now grab it and use it anytime. Other equipment items like the Thrusters are still optional, as are the the new equipment items like the new Drop Wall, (a portable energy shield to protect you from one side,) Weapons also got a big change in some ways.
Bloom and How it Affects the Weapons
Bloom is balanced out nicely without it being too easy to spam shots, though it’s still easy to fire some shots in bursts to keep opponents on their toes.
The pistol is a very good example of this, carrying 12 shots in a magazine while executing amazing headshots with ease if you take steady paced shots. And this goes for all of the weapons, besides the rocket launcher and weapons like it.
Vehicles and the New Subtle Touches
Vehicles are familiar but still tweaked a bit for the new game. For instance, the Razorback (a Warthog without a turret) now allows you to place a rifle or weapon in a weapon slot for the trunk.
So if you want to bring a side weapon on a drive to an enemy base, you can now do so while carrying two weapons on yourself, loading the third weapon in the back of the Warthog. A nice subtle change that just makes me smile to say the least. To take it a step further, you can now carry explosive crates (once only items you could push) on the Razorback, or just carry them in your Spartan’s hands to throw or use as traps on enemy players! A nice new change that can add a variety of tactics and options just to get good kills and set up nice traps for enemy teams.
The Tiers and Ranking System
The ranking system also has a bit of old and new touches. For one there is the basic EXP level-up system that grows as you win, lose, kill, and score in matches. That will always level up no matter what you do as long as you score points in some way. That is the system that also gives you your cosmetics and new gear to use on your Spartan (more on that later). Then, there is the Ranked Tier levels. Those are divided up in 6 total ranks, the ones listed below will starting from lowest to highest.
These are the ranks that can come and go, ’cause you must score good, win games, and be far from the worst player on the teams to keep your rank from EVER going down. If you score poorly or lose (or both), you will lose A LOT of experience in your rank and drop tiers so fast, gravity is taking notes just to follow your example! It makes doing matchmaking very tense but also rewarding, because each match can result in you getting tiered higher or losing your rank much easier. You want a full 4 player team if you wish to keep a high stable rank for the tier levels due to this. If you want to get your team looking the same with some cosmetics, but even though the name implies “Infinite Possible Options”, sadly the Halo customizations are limited heavily at the start.
Customizations and How Halo Utilizes Them
The game doesn’t allow much room for customization unless you pay out for their Battle Pass system, or unless you grind heavily in online matches to level up. You can pick an A.I. partner, and colors for your Spartan, but armor and designs — even emblems (which used to be a standard free option at the start) — are very limited. It still provides you options to customize a little bit of your weapons, vehicles, and gear, but even in Halo 3 you had a much easier time unlocking and gaining new armor and attachments. The game focuses on enticing the player to get that one piece of armor that they want through a paywall.
Keep in mind, the paywall is only for the cosmetics. It doesn’t break the game per se, but it does walk it back further than it needed to be. And the grind can be tiresome if you see a helmet, armor piece, or even an optional accessory you want to use on your Spartan.
Beyond that, the game has a few nice touches with the A.I. I mentioned. You’re new virtual partner will alert you to new respawned gear and items for you to rush for to keep you on your toes. You can even change how their personality is and how they look in small ways.
The maps are nice. Most give a nice balance of cover and low to high places, not to mention good locales to see and take in for lovely designs and looks.
Maps like Bazaar, a small market you can run through, are particularly beautiful. It’s best for games like Capture the Flag and Team Slayer. Each side has spots for your spawn and a place for the team flags. There is a market with an Over Shield or Stealth Camo depending on the game type, not to mention the Rocket Launcher. Then big maps like Highpower are great for Big Team Battle matches. Full of hills, cliff sides, and two buildings to spawn at for both teams.
You can find snipers, Stealth Camo, and other powerful weapons on the map as you run through it. A Pelican swoops by to drop off vehicles in the middle of the map, making it a race for one of the strongest vehicles to tip the scales on either side. It can be fun in more ways than one the moment you begin working nicely with people you know to get your team to that winning match!
It is likely that the game will go through some extra changes as time goes on, but these are my first impressions for now. I will give a detailed review of the campaign portion of Halo Infinite soon, but this concludes my review of the multiplayer portion.