Review of Halo Infinite multiplayer: When it comes to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, the series finally emerges from its decade-long existential crisis as something completely new.
Does Halo Infinite offer a better online multiplayer experience right now?
The multiplayer review of Halo Infinite.
343 Industries is the company behind this game.
Developed by Xbox Game Studios, and played on an Xbox Series X console
The game is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC, and is completely free to play.
No. At least, not in terms of gunplay – of gun feel, of the constant cycling between empowerment and disempowerment, and the much more difficult than it appears balance that so many shooters yearn for, between that immediate and crunchy, punch-feedback satisfaction and Halo’s famously slow, big-brain strategy. The answer is no. I’ve spent hours poking, prodding, and peeling away at this game in an effort to find a problem, but I can’t. It’s flawless in terms of multiplayer shooter gameplay. This really is the best there is.
Meta-game or UX or whatever that menu-based wrapping of a game is called these days is the only issue. While Halo Infinite’s “golden triangle” is largely clean, there are a few oddities and odd choices that threaten to muddy the waters. The good news is that in the vast majority of circumstances, you may safely ignore them.
Playing Halo Infinite’s multiplayer and campaign modes is a separate experience. One of Eurogamer’s favorite things about Halo Infinite is its paid-for campaign, which stands on its own (although there are a few collectibles that unlock cosmetics in the multiplayer, presumably to help encourage players to try both). The multiplayer is completely different and free. Since Call of Duty Warzone splintered out from the yearly CoD and several after Fortnite overtook Fortnite, that’s nothing new. This is a first for Halo, a series known for its conservatism throughout much of its later period. Halo Infinite features a constant stream of small firsts, mini-revolutions, and barely noticeable adjustments and improvements. Each one of them has the un-Haloness that makes them seem like they’ve been there all along, even though the Chief wouldn’t have been caught dead with any of the five or ten years ago.
Even Master Chief’s trusted default assault rifle, which used to barely touch foes with its rounds of fluttering eyelashes, now positively bellows down at them, each bullet feeling like an act of divine punishment, is a good illustration of this trend. When it comes to sound design, 343 Industries has always been on top of its game. But the consequence, whether deliberate or not, has been an intense sensation of viability. Throughout Halo games, the AR has been the go-to swap-out weapon, but the crunching sensation in Infinite makes me hesitant to use it. Although the real damage is the same as it has always been, the addition of the controversial left-trigger “smart scope” in Halo 5 and the new, delectable little red cross to confirm a kill, as well as the new, CoD-like ft-ft-ft as you’re landing a hit, gives the game a magical placebo boost. I’ve suddenly become adept at utilizing a weapon that hasn’t altered in any way, and it’s perplexing.
As an example of what Halo Infinite actually is, it’s clear that Modern Warfare, which came out just 40 days after Halo 3’s apex, was the inspiration for these modifications – or at least kicked off the decade-plus of shooter trends that have subsequently inspired them in Halo Infinite. It’s hard to blame 343 for their stubborn insistence on sticking with what “real Halo” should be since they took over from Bungie, but it’s hard to blame them for the catch-22 they’ve been in since they took over: stick with old Halo and get left behind, or change too much and be accused of not getting it? Halo shivered at the prospect of a perpetually pressing the sprint button; Titanfall double-jumps off barriers. Titanfall: The ADS-that-still-isn’t-ADS from Halo’s clickable Right Stick and onto LT was shaking the cages of every shooter by the time Halo got that ADS off the clickable Right Stick and onto LT.
That time away from the limelight, the public’s perception of first-person shooter games and the entire discourse about what they are has allowed Halo to execute a dramatic re-emergence, Infinite emerging like some third-act romance shine up. For years, Halo’s “essence” and “purpose” have been the subject of endless debate, with each new Halo game causing gamers to question whether or not the franchise can operate in the modern era. With just a few weapon swaps, the series was transformed into a playable version of the Ship of Theseus.
Infinite, Halo’s tenacity seems to have finally paid off, because now those small adjustments feel so enormous, so new, and the many big things that don’t shift from the formula suddenly feel like bold affirmations, rather than timid opposition… Due to a fear that Halo may be regarded as “copying” the dominant Call of Duty, or that its new company might be seen as excessively wedded to the Bungie formula, Halo does not have a hip-fire gameplay style. As a Spartan, you’re not going to bring your weapon up to look down the sights, because that’s the weak little Jackal’s approach, and you’re a Spartan, thus hip-fire is the best method. Because Halo has realized that it can do whatever the hell it wants, it is finally able to stand up and make its statement.
This is a game that has found its purpose again, and its mission, presumably, is to make everything feel utterly amazing. After that, the remainder of Halo Infinite seems like a celebration. It’s as if the fog has been lifted and the line between the brain and the game has been narrowed in every interaction. When it comes to remastering Halo, Halo Infinite is an excellent choice.
If you get a corner wrong, ghosts feel faster, more nimble, less prone to drifting, and more likely to flop onto their domed, cranky little backs. Highlights – the real deal. I’ve become addicted to clipping, to share with anyone who’ll watch – seem to happen once a minute. Toys abound, with a particularly liberal supply of powerful weaponry, as well as those delightful bright blue containers that just demand to be hurled at a group of adversaries, ideally while you’re thrown off a launch pad into the air. Everything is so real, so energetic, and so tangible. Everyone and everything is interconnected. Afterward, attach a grappling hook to this object and drive it away. Toss this, skewer that enemy, and then land on top of the other one with a swat. When you’ve finally gotten your hands on a flying machine, half the fun is pausing to see the uniquely scientific mayhem below, where rockets, Mongeese, and cadavers whirl about an objective like the planets on an orrery. The other half of the team is getting on board as well.
It really is magic – the wonder of playing physics in motion – and thus it’s a terrible shame when the tiny annoyances of that overlayer creep in. However, the most obvious flaw is the absence of a Slayer playlist, which has the potential to negatively impact gameplay. Small-sided 4v4 and Big Team Battle (or ranked) are the only options currently, although within those two playlists, a random chance determines which mode you get. Players are plainly and understandably playing to rack up kills in modes that involve appropriate cohesive work toward an objective, as well as a lot of “go play Slayer” remarks dropped in the in-game chat, as a result of this change. While Halo Infinite is likely to have had a number of technical issues to blame for its year-long delay, there must be a simple, viable answer here – not least because it’s a front-end choice that affects the playing experience and one the series has had for so long before now.
What Halo Infinite values are heavenly satisfaction that makes this series’ old, arcade-like soul feel new.
There’s also slenderness about it, which isn’t a bad thing. At launch, there are only a few maps – all of which are excellent – and a dearth of game styles inside the two playlists. Grifball, shotty snipers, and the curiously creepy Infection are all things I miss about the game. The PvE Firefight will be missed by many. I’ve never said this before, but I really do miss the Forge World levels, if only for the variety and creepy atmosphere they added to the game. I miss the SWAT team.
According to a tweet from a 343 developer, some of these will be available after the game’s release, but not until the end of the year. Infinite’s campaign, as well as its single-player mode, has a tone of longing for what’s still to come, which is a shame after such a long wait. The option to play in an objective or non-objective mode should be available at the start of the game.
Finally, a combat pass is available. While the game itself is free to play and the pass has no effect on how the game plays, it’s a necessary evil for the development of Halo Infinite. Progress is slow and monotonous, even after the beta modifications, but the problem with combat passes isn’t so much the speed at which you can complete them as the fact they create a necessity to complete them all at once.. Halo Infinite isn’t the worst example of engagement bait, but it’s still a terrible habit that’s prevalent. Adding objectives that make you feel obligated to play more takes the fun out of gaming by treating it as a means to an end rather than a goal in and of itself. It’s a bummer.
You can also choose to ignore it. Playing this game is something I’ve done, and something I expect to continue doing because it’s such a wonderful experience (and because I just want to paint my Spartan a kind of burnt orange, which is already possible without the pass). This is Halo’s rediscovered objective, and it’s what Halo Infinite is all about, too. You are free to simply ignore external influences, to not care about the impression of “giving in” that might have once come when Halo adds a sprint, when gameplay feels faster (regardless of whether it demonstrably is), when there is a newly heightened urge to pelt back into the action after death, and when vehicles and power weapons drop from the sky like the killstreaks of COD or loot crates of a battle royale. Choosing to be concerned about what you value is what matters. Halo Infinite places a premium on a sense of heavenly fulfillment that makes the series’ classic, arcadey soul feel fresh again.. That’s what I’m valuing, too.